This past July, Botswana’s Department of Non-Formal Education ask me to train ten San wood carvers from Kacgae village, in the western Kalahari, and five beginners from Charles Hill and Ghanzi town. The learners arrived as a group at the Botswana’s Out of School Education Training campus in Maun, site of a gleaming glass and metal building surrounded by, as luck would have it, mopane woodland.
In September 2018 Botswana’s Ministry of Education, the Department of Non Formal Education invited me to New Xade in the Central Kalahari to run a workshop for San carvers. I met with the participants - 17 men and women - at the local school.
Creating sculpture is my first love, but since coming to Botswana, I’ve developed another: working side by side with local artists to explore the messages and images embedded in the tree limbs and roots left behind by both nature and people.
Old wood tells us stories. In the ever-changing natural world, living trees are silent observers, responding to sun, wind, wild creatures, moisture from beneath the soil, and replenishing rain. Quietly,