Tjawangwa Dema


Born August 14, 1981 in Gaborone, Botswana Tjawangwa Dema is a performance poet, creative writer, columnist and voice over artist. Her talents extend to radio presenting, emceeing, modeling and runway choreography; skills she says appear unrelated but are amazingly useful for a performer. She is on the executive committee of the national arts bodies Lentswe La Basadi ba Botswana (LLBB). She is also a member of The Writers Association of Botswana (WABO) for which she was Publicity Secretary (2005/07), The Livepoets and a founding member (alumni) of the acclaimed Exoduslivepoetry! collective (ELP), who have coordinated Botswana's only annual poetry festival for five consecutive years. She was part of a collaborative effort with a youth radio station in hosting a weekly poetry platform on radio; a first initiative of its kind in Botswana.

She has participated in, facilitated and performed at workshops, festivals, art exhibitions and corporate events including the 2005 SADC Gender conference, Bua! on Constitution Hill, Debswana Paste'08 week in Kasane, Oprah Magazine Tea Party, Miss Botswana 2005 and 2007, United Nations Development Program, the monthly ELP shows, a number of British Council and American Embassy occasions and Live Poets open mic sessions. TJ is a 2005/06 participant in the British Council's Crossing Borders project as well as having the honour of being the 2007/08 Power in the Voice national champions mentor.

Throughout her journey she has been blessed with spaces that have allowed her to share the stage with wordsmiths such as Lemn Sissay, Roger Robinson, Zena Edwards, Jacob Sam La Rose, Lebo Mashile, Kgafela oa Magogodi and Adisa. TJ has been nominated and short listed for numerous poetry awards including Poet of the Year 2008, she is a 2002 International Poet of Merit award holder, 2007 International Society of PoetsPoetry Ambassador and 2007 Bessie Head Literature award first runner up.

TJ's work is available on the 2005 Infinite Word Festival dvd, the Lounge Cafe I cd, Mahube Writer's Journal 2006, Mahube Launch DVD, Salt Publishing's Wild Berries Inside and Behind the yard. Her debut collection of poetry is due out early 2009.