TJ Dema

© Petra Rolinec

TJ Dema is a poet from Botswana, one of the initiators and central figures of spoken poetry in Botswana. Despite her rather young age, TJ Dema plays a significant role in the literary life of her native country. From 2010-2012, she headed the Writers Association of Botswana, and she also heads Sauti, which organises arts events. She founded The Exodus Live Poetry Collective with some similarly-minded people, to run Botswana’s only poetry festival every year and between 2004 and 2009. She is one of the internationally best known poets from Botswana and regularly performs all over the world. Since TJ Dema prefers to read her work out loud, she has also stressed the communicative aspect of poetry in addition to content, the ability of the spoken poetry to generate immediate feedback from the audience, and the potential of poetry to reach people through words and stories spoken in real time. Poetry is similar to travelling – discovering the world, a chance to get to know reality a little better.