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Molosi wins African Author Award in Johannesburg

Publishing Date : 12 August, 2019

Author :

Donald Molosi’s new book called Dear Upright African scooped the Best Narrative Award at the African Authors Awards 2019 held in Johannesburg, South Africa on July 31, 2019.

Molosi is a Botswana-born actor and writer and in Dear Upright African he shares personal stories of his experiences as a student in both government school and private school in Botswana. Molosi further uses these anecdotes to advocate for the decolonization of the curriculum in schools across Africa. The book bears a foreword by Tsitsi Dangarembga. Last month Molosi was invited to address ambassadors and diplomats at the African, Caribbean and Pacific Secretariat in Brussels, Belgium and the contents of Dear Upright African formed the basis of his address.

Speaking from Johannesburg where he is currently on tour with the book following the win, Molosi said: “To receive this African Authors Award is an honor I will always deeply cherish. I dedicate this award to the life and legacy of Dr. K. T. Motsete, a Motswana educationist and pan-African who advocated against colonial education in Africa in as early as the 1930’s. In his time, Dr. Motsete built afrocentric schools in Ghana, Botswana, Malawi and other African countries. He did so in order to offer Africans an alternative to colonial mission schools and to preserve our indigenous African languages. They were school where, for example, Ikalanga was taught. Presently, the Botswana government has effectively banned Ikalanga from the Botswana classroom. The education revolution that Dr. Motsete and his generation began is the same one that my generation of upright Africans aims to complete.”

The African Authors Awards are held annually in Johannesburg, South Africa and this was the second installation of the ceremony. At the event, held in the Sandton suburb of South Africa, Molosi’s Dear Upright African faced competition from numerous books by African writers living in Africa and in the diaspora. Dear Upright African initially clinched the nomination in April 2019, less than a month after its worldwide release. According to Molosi, the book also tells stories of his activism in Botswana, “When Rainbow School of Gaborone decided to ban Afros in 2017, I engaged the Principal to ensure that learners there are allowed to keep their afros. I never spoke about that experience publicly. When I gave a TED talk at Maru a Pula School in 2017 also advocating for the inclusion of African history in the African classroom, it caused online outrage from a White teacher at Maru a Pula who found my proposition ‘ungrateful’ and called me abusive words I cannot repeat in this interview. Many petitioned for her expulsion as they believed her to be a particularly dangerous racist.

I never spoke about that experience publicly until now in this book. All these stories and what went on behind the scenes are included in the book and I use them to illustrate the need to decolonize



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