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Banda wa Mokone

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Gorri Aldoras Golivar
AUTHOR: Gorri Aldoras Golivar

BOOK REVIEW

Upon reading local author Gorri Aldoras Golivar’s (a pseudonym derived from combining a host of Latin American Revolutionaries’ names) sophomore offering titled Banda wa Mokone; Book 2 of 1 for the first time, one may deduce it to be a tale of myths and folklore.

To a certain extent it is, but when one looks deeper within the text a parallel between Zimbabweans migration to Botswana begins to emerge.

The story is set in a fictional land titled The Great Springbok Horizons, somewhere close to the Limpopo River in the north of Botswana. It chronicles the tales that transpire from the sudden arrival of a man with foreign features named Banda and his dog, Hearts.

The tale is told primarily through the use of narrative as the author chooses to be economical with his dialogue. This is perhaps ideal, for the imagery he creates with the narrative is as lucid as any cinematic production.

Descriptions like the following display his narrative prowess when one day the giant Banda comes to visit the narrator, Kago;

“Like a pregnant cloud making love to an early spring morning, the shadow blanketed me and covered half of the hut.”

In addition by keeping the dialogue to a minimum, when the author does choose to employ it, it emphasizes the broken English of the protagonist Banda further underlying that Banda is from a foreign land.

The entire story in essence, is a deliberate oxymoron of conflicting literary techniques.

The author purposefully chooses to invert the release of his books by publishing Book 2 before Book 1 consequently foreshadowing past events. He purposefully does this to garner interest in Book 1 by galvanizing the reader to find out how Banda and Hearts came to travel to The Great Spring Horizons.

He alludes to Banda and Heart’s past, yet never offers flashbacks, leaving the reader with nothing but speculation about the history of the protagonist.

The reader is merely offered teasers of their history, insinuating a troubled past that they are attempting to flee from.

Such a technique is risky for at times the reader’s intrigue may turn into discouragement as unfulfilled curiosity often turns into indifference.

For example, when Banda consoles Kago after he finds out his girlfriend is with another man, Banda says;

“Love can make a man, and it can kill him too…If me tell you, you Kago will not believe what me lived through”

Banda then narrates a story to Kago that the reader is not privy to but can deduce that it was appalling from Kago’s reaction – who says;

“He gave me a taste of his love life story…It was something of naked inhumanness, a love lullaby of death and terror…The tale was thick enough with darkness and evil to make the devil himself denounce his kingdom…”

The author alludes to Banda’s past several times within the book and whereas before my interest was galvanized, by the time the aforementioned teaser is offered towards the latter ends of the book, my curiosity had seemingly turned into apathy.

However, the author negates this by employing frame narrative.

He tells a story within a story through his narrator, Kago, lending an implausible tale an air of believability.

Kago narrates the story only in the third person and speaks to only the aspects of Banda and Hearts that he was privy to hence surrounding him in an air of reliability.

Subsequently, as Kago regales us with anecdotes of Banda and his dog, the reader leans towards believing whereas had Kago been omniscient, it would have proved harder for the reader to suspend their belief.

If one can overlook the author’s propensity of teasing the audience, one will find Book 2 of Banda wa Mokone an exceptionally good read.

Littered with imagery that would paint the blandest of canvases, he utilizes old Setswana folklore and myths to tell a tale of emigration and xenophobia.

He is undoubtedly a word wizard and he wields his pen as his wand.

Author Profile

Gorri Aldoras Golivar grew up in Mochudi and quickly discovered he had a propensity for storytelling. He initially portrayed his tales through the employment of fine arts but it quickly turned into the written word.

It was in Standard three when he wrote his first short story in an exercise book and cherished it so much that he was hardly seen without it. A hint of sadness can be seen in his eyes every time he talks about losing the exercise book.

He is of the belief that the literary arts are unique as they are one of the rare disciplines that allow for absolute creativity without the hindrances that other sciences are anchored by. He attended Molefhe Secondary School where his love for writing increased exponentially, so much so that he began to attempt his fortune at writing competitions (both local and international).

In 2004 he won The International Library Day Achievement Award in Poetry and Song and followed that up in 2006 with a victory in the Commonwealth Essay Competition where he received a Class A accreditation.

After completing secondary school, he enrolled at The University of Botswana and undertook a Media Studies degree. While a student there, he wrote for the campus paper UB Horizon.

Upon graduation he went on to become a journalist for the Sunday Standard, The Telegraph and The Daily News. In addition, he has also been a news reader for Radio Botswana 1.
He currently juggles writing with his other passion, farming.