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Jonase uses literature to fight child marriage

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Jonase uses literature to fight child marriage

Neo Matheka

Bokhopo Ba Batsoali is a heartwarming book written by Keketso Oriel Jonase – a Mosotho man born and bred in Moyeni, Quthing.

His passion for writing was ignited long ago when he was still a small boy. His grandmother telling him bedtime stories was not just a unique way for them to bond but also inspired him to be a writer.

Jonase’s new book, Bokhopo Ba Batsoali, addresses challenges facing young girls who are forced into marriage.

He told Newsday last week that the book was inspired by Her Majesty Queen Masenate Mohato Bereng Seeiso’s speech delivered in Berea on June 16, 2015, in commemoration of The Day of the African Child.

The Day of the African Child has been celebrated on June 16 every year since 1991, when it was first initiated by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), now called the African Union (AU).

The day honours those who participated in the Soweto Uprising in South Africa in 1976. It also raises awareness of the continuing need for the improvement of the education provided to African children.

Jonase said after listening to the queen’s speech, he was motivated to conduct further research on child marriage issues and this culminated in him writing a book which he started writing this book from 2017.

He further indicated that when he informed the royal family about his plan to write the book, they endorsed the plan.

“I asked the Queen to do me the honour of launching this book as the inspiration was from her speech and I am still awaiting her response”, Jonase added.

This book also contains a board game called G-SOLUTIONS, (GENDER SOLUTIONS) which makes learning about child marriage a fun activity.

The protagonist is a young girl who is barely 16 years old and is a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of her father. When the family realizes that the community is aware of the abuse taking place, it decides to marry the child off to an old man aged 53.

The man married the child but upon learning of the abuse she endured, he decided to provide her with a better life by taking her to school.

Unfortunately, the man died and his family asked the girl’s parents to come and get their daughter as they do not recognize her as the deceased’s wife.

Her life gets worse when she returns home. but eventually lives her happily ever after story.

“I hope this book will teach young women and girls about their rights and know that child marriage is an offence that they should report to the authorities,” Jonase said.

He is also passionate about youth development.

He has been active in youth development activities for 15 years now, volunteering in government, non-government and international activities.

He has been president of the Lesotho National Commission for UNESCO youth desk and served as a youth volunteer at the Lesotho Red Cross Association, Transformation Resource Centre (TRC), Lesotho Youth Federation and others.

He is a published author. His first book was titled; Bophelo Ke Eng.

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