Call and Response by Gothataone Moeng

Call and Response offers a collection of short stories delving into the intricacies of contemporary life in Botswana.

Call and Response by Gothataone Moeng

Explore the nuanced lives of everyday families in present-day Botswana through compelling narratives. The stories delve into the complexities of relationships, tradition, and caregiving within a rapidly evolving society. A young widow grapples with the expectations of mourning attire for nearly a year, questioning the significance of traditions and her readiness to face the world without their protective veil. An older sister returns from a perplexing stint in America, constantly justifying her departure from the land of opportunity. A younger sister conceals her romantic encounters from her family, while her older brother openly confronts the challenges of infidelity. Rooted in the locales of Serowe and Gaborone, the stories in Call and Response authentically depict the emotional journeys of women striving for love and opportunities beyond the confines of custom and circumstance.

Moeng's writing is vivid and highly engaging. Each story begins with a touch of mystery that irresistibly draws readers in, creating a desire to unravel the narrative and become an integral part of it. Her writing is characterised by its inherent beauty, showcased through impeccable sentence construction and a mastery of language that serves as a source of inspiration. Readers find themselves utterly transported to the story's setting, immersed in the sensory details of the locales of Serowe and Gaborone. These are the kind of narratives that linger in the reader's mind for days, resonating and evolving gradually to reveal their full depth. Moeng's storytelling echoes, creating a lasting impact. 

Moeng's skill in writing is evident, but it truly shines in her skillful character studies. From an earnest young man steering away from sin to a lonely married woman concealing truths about her life in Gaborone, Moeng's characters are richly complex and full of life. One standout story revolves around a young widow grappling with the necessity to part with her deceased husband's clothes and shed her traditional mourning attire. The narrative explores her avoidance of family, highlighting the discomfort surrounding the cultural expectations imposed on her. The rituals meant to guide her through grief prove insufficient, adding to her emotional pain, rather than reducing it. It was particularly interesting to see here, as it is in all of Moeng’s short stories, the aspects of culture, tradition and folklore at play in the urban landscape of Gaborone. This intersection of urban and rural experiences adds a layer of richness to Moeng’s storytelling.

Culturally enlightening and emotionally resonant, Call and Response stands out as a remarkable debut from an emerging new talent. 


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