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Writing has always been a part of who I am from a very young age and I managed to win a few poetry and essay competitions in my country, Botswana. In 2006, I entered an 'Aspiring Writer’s Competition' which was hosted by the British Council, and my fiction manuscript was selected in the top ten allowing me an opportunity to attend the one-week workshop facilitated by established writers from the United Kingdom. After the workshop, I focused on life as a mother, wife, student, and eventually a Senior Manager in the Retail Industry after graduating with my Bachelor of Commerce (HR).
When the world came to a standstill in 2020 because of Covid-19, everything falling apart, and uncertainty wreaking havoc among the entire world population, I automatically gravitated towards the one thing that brought me sanity, writing. And so, I dusted off my very old desktop, and for the first time in more than ten years began writing again, and so the birth of my Facebook page 'Words by Thero Molefe'. I am currently working on getting my poetry manuscript published, as well as editing my Fictional Autobiography 'Chaotic Memories'.
In 2020, Orapa Public Library awarded my poem on Gender-Based Violence titled 'The End' third position in a poetry competition of the same theme. Women-to-Women magazine featured my poem titled 'Woman' on their Facebook page, my poem titled 'Broken' was published in Inspirit & Spur, an Anthology. And recently, my poem titled 'The She Devil' was published by an online Journal, Rigorous. A short story titled 'Behind The Thatched Hut' that I had submitted to an African short story competition (Afritondo Short Story Prize) made it into the top 35 from a total of 368 submissions from 20 African countries. I am currently a columnist in a new local online magazine Oulde Chobe Messenger.
So… one day I turned forty, and even though I had heard it said many times that life begins at forty, I never thought it meant literally. But then I turned forty and realized that I have yet to live my full potential. The thing is, I am reclusive in my introverted-ness, though some might argue, anti-social. Social gatherings give me anxiety because I am not good at breaking the ice. My non-alcoholic consumption also seems to work against me, people perceive it as being stuck-up. But I refuse to be common, to be just like everyone else. However, I am the first to admit that I am indeed socially awkward. It's not that I can't talk, or I don't have an opinion, in fact, once you get to know me and I become comfortable around you, I can be irritating. My expectations of the world are too optimistic… or maybe ‘unrealistic' is the right word to use. I hate stepping out, having idle conversations, being pretentious, and popularity was never my cup of tea. So I stick to myself. But after turning forty, something shifted in me and suddenly I was adorned with confidence unexplainable. I wanted to face the world head-on and speak out on issues of societal ills, to motivate, to advise, but the room was empty. The only available audience were my dogs, the trees, and the plants in my yard. Then, an epiphany—I am a writer. In my self-imposed isolation, pen and paper were my best friends. They have kept me sane and kept all my secrets safe, so instead of just writing and shelving, allowing the dust to settle, why not share my thoughts? Share my creativity, my poetry, and my writings with the world. But, the world had changed. And as said, ‘time waits for no man, in my case, it truly did not wait. Whilst I kept myself locked up in the house, the world moved on. It moved on to a time where people only communicate through social media, a tool that I had purposefully shunned. I never understood the concept of it, of sharing every single bit of your life with strangers, so I unwaveringly refused to be associated with this new technology. Well, except for WhatsApp. My children insisted it was the cheapest form of communication so I allowed them to create an account for me. Now, saying that that day was celebrated by many in my family, would be an understatement. They had grown tired of sending me private messages repeating the same things they had sent on a group chat. The thing is, I have lived for more than forty years finding joy and comfort in solitude. Spent many days and nights laughing alone, crying alone, dining alone, and even went window shopping alone. Don't get me wrong, I am not a complete hermit… once in a while I do step out to go to weddings, birthday parties, baby's, and bridal showers, but my life has been the happiest in those moments when I am in my own company. The only other company I enjoy is that of my children because they get me; they understand my crazy. Truth is, I have been okay without friends for many years. I purposely designed my life that way. Somewhere in my subconscious is a trauma instilling fear of disappointment. I don't like the feeling you get when someone you trusted with all your heart betrays you. At least I know I can't betray myself, although now that I think about it, that's also debatable. Solitude saves me from a lot of things including having to explain myself or unintentionally offending someone with my quirky views on life, or my sarcasm when I thought I was being humorous. I am content laughing alone at my ‘unfunny' jokes. My problem now is, I want more. I want to be an agent of change, an activist against Gender-Based Violence, an activist for Human Rights, Equality, and so forth. As a feminist, I want the world to hear my point of view and truly understand what feminism is about. But now, here I am, me, the one who knows no one and who no one knows. I have a message to share with the world, but, I have a dilemma. It's the conundrum of learning to navigate this new world of today, a world that is all about social media. Indirectly forced, in 2020, I created my Facebook account, and subsequently a Facebook page where I post my poetry. I then moved on to Instagram and just recently Twitter where I still don't have followers. I am struggling… but trying my best to find comfort in my un-comfortableness. I find myself very often starring at my phone or computer, not sure what I should do with this newfound technology; what to post, and which buttons to press. Once too often I get the urge to just go back into my hole and stay there. However, the words that I have been writing alone in the darkness need to come out into the light. The audience is on social media, so I don't have a choice.