New book uses poetry to tackle the elephant in the room

Author of “From their Lips to Mine” dared to address issues that are often swept under the carpet. Each piece stands out because all the themes are important conversation starters in addressing the problem.


Book enthusiasts are in for a treat in a recently released book titled “From their Lips to Mine” that addresses the societal ills and elephants in the room. Authored by Gaone Skelemani, the book is a collection of stories collected from the many men and women with whom the author has crossed paths. With the current surge in mental health issues in the country and around the world, the writer believes that there is a melee of issues that lead the current generation to grapple with issues.

“As I have attended workshop after workshop on the issue, I came to the conclusion that perhaps we are dealing with the results of something more sinister that we need to address,” she said in an interview.

“These issues cause a lot of childhood trauma which eventually affects us into adulthood, leading to a host of other societal ills such as gender-based violence, child molestation, rape and apathy towards each other.”

Officially released at the end of last month, the poetry book relays the underlying pain that most women experience at any point in their lives. In some instances, it touches on men who may find themselves in the same hurtful places with violence being perpetuated against them. The book explores various themes of molestation, divorce, depression and
friendship breakdowns that are taboo and are therefore never openly discussed.

The author decided to add a few pieces on love to break the monotony of the darkness mostly covered because these themes usually make people cringe.

She said it was important to explore the themes because they are raising a generation of children with much discord, indifference and disregard for others. “I do not believe children are just born that way,” Skelemani said. “They assimilate into the culture that they are raised in and usually grow up with the same convictions they are raised with.

“I decide to address these issues through poetry because the old ways just aren’t achieving much. If there is a different avenue of raising awareness, then we must by all means explore that. Poetry was that avenue for me. I am of the view that we can no longer stand on the sidelines and hope that a solution will miraculously appear.

The louder our silence becomes, the more power we give to perpetrators and the more we fail the victims.”

In this collection, the author has dared to address issues that are as the elephant in the room. Each piece stands out because all the themes are important conversation starters in addressing the problem.

“Of course, we can only get a solution by acknowledging there is a problem,” she added.

The book being relatively new, Skelemani is in discussions with bookshops to add it to their stock. In the meantime, they distribute from Gaborone, Jwaneng and by courier nationwide and abroad. It retails for P180. “The book has been well received and we are working on launching it locally and in Namibia,” the author said.