Botswana Guardian

Book and Cof­fee

Gabs’ book café cum street li­brary

- KELETSO THOBEGA BG RE­PORTER

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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