Botswana Guardian

Book and Coffee

Gabs’ book café cum street library


A creative, innovative and ingenious young Motswana, Heaven Motswiri, has created a bookworms’ mini paradise in the Main Mall, Gaborone’s Diamond Square.

The introducti­on of the city’s first ever mobile street library, Book and Coffee, is a breath of fresh air and Motswiri’s gregarious nature makes the stop all the more pleasant as he engages his clients on everything book related. Apart from offering his clients books to read, borrow or buy, he also offers those who pass by, a chance to buy coffee and enjoy it with a hot dog or hamburger while they unwind and browse the books on offer. He also offers copy, printing and photograph­y services.

And if you find a book that appeals to you so much that you want to take it home, there is a monthly subscripti­on to borrow books from the library. A keen reader himself, Motswiri also offers book reviews to local authors, and often posts some of the reviews on his social media page, Books and Coffee. The 26- yearold said he fell in love with books a few years while working for Exclusive Books in Gaborone. He explains that one of his duties was to review books in order to submit reports, and he was forced to read them and thereby developed a passion for reading and books. Motswiri was born in Gaborone, but spent a great part of his formative years in South Africa before moving back to Botswana where he completed his education at Naledi Senior Secondary School. He then went to Tlokweng Rural Developmen­t college to complete a course in computing and entered the job market. He did other short courses through different jobs, which exposed him to different interests and specialiti­es. But it seems his heart is now stuck on books.

Motswiri would like to one day own his own publishing firm. Is there a market for books in Botswana? Yes, there is, he said, adding that there is also an abundance of literary talent in Botswana.

Motswiri however pointed out that local readers appreciate material that is authentic, and resonates with Botswana, and hence challenged local writers to always strive to produce original work. He also noted that there is a recurring challenge where local authors possess the writing talent, but have limited knowledge on the business side of selling books, and so he intends to bridge that gap by helping them create commercial­ly viable content. They would also have to work with other stakeholde­rs to help them set fair pricing despite the high cost of publishing in Botswana.

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