A collection of 10 true-life LGBTI stories from across Botswana has been launched by the country’s LGBTI rights group.
The English language book, titled Dipolelo Tsa Rona (Our Stories), published by Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals of Botswana (LeGaBiBo), explores the lives of LGBTI people and recounts experiences of love, hate, coming out and hope.
The launch last month was attended by members of the LGBTI community and friends and partners, including US Ambassador Earl R. Miller and Britain’s Deputy High Commissioner Oliver Richards.
Richards commended LeGaBiBo’s work and said that “to advance human rights is to seek to build a society where no one is left behind and to make space in that for difference. We are, after all, all different”.
In the foreword, the Rev. Dumi Mmualefe wrote: “Reading these stories is like looking in the mirror, expecting to see ‘them’, but instead, we see ourselves… The LGBTIQ stories are our stories, stories about us!”
The book is expected to be the first volume in a series of other collected LGBTI stories.
The launch of Dipolelo Tsa Rona (Pic: US Embassy Gaborone)
While homosexuality is not specifically outlawed in Botswana, gay people could be prosecuted under Section 164 of the Penal Code that bars “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature,” with penalties including seven years in prison.
In March, Legabibo won a groundbreaking court case that saw the government being ordered to officially acknowledge and register the organisation.
Last month saw another major victory for the country’s LGBTI community when American gay-hate pastor Steven Anderson was deported from the country after he called for the execution of gay people on radio.
Copies of Dipolelo Tsa Rona can be obtained at the LeGaBiBo offices in Gaborone or can be downloaded here.