Mmapula Diana Kebaneilwe

Routledge Focus Series: Rape Culture, Religion and the Bible

Mmapula Diana Kebaneilwe’s book in the series is The Bible and Gender-Based Violence in Botswana. It was published in early 2024 and discusses the harm and healing to which the Bible contributes in Mmapula’s Christian-dominant homeland of Botswana.

How do you reflect back on writing your book? 

Writing my book, The Bible and Gender-Based Violence in Botswana, was both a fun and a traumatic experience for me. It was fun because I enjoy writing and because I am passionate about issues surrounding the well-being of women and girls, as well as about the many Batswana who are doing inspiring work in this area; it was traumatic due to the overwhelming evidence of heinous acts of violence and brutality, particularly against women and girls in Botswana, which have such far-reaching and deeply damaging consequence. Conducting my research was hard-going. 

What has been the response to your book?

The response to my book has been a good one. Many who have seen it have been excited and are looking forward to reading it and engaging and collaborating with me. I look forward to the same, especially to engaging with my readers. I am still waiting to receive my first hard copies and to launch the book as part of the dissemination of the research.

How and where are you now, and what are you doing or working on at present?

I am based at the University of Botswana. My current research is on the Bible and Violence project, for which I am co-editing chapters on topics of violence in biblical texts and on their violent uses – this is together with three colleagues: Christopher Greenough of Edge Hill University (UK), Johnathan Jodamus of the University of the Western Cape (South Africa), and Johanna Stiebert of the University of Leeds (UK). I have just completed my chapter on Violence in the Book of Job for the project. It is a massive project.

Do you have any advice for authors of future publications in this series?

My advice to those aspiring to write and contribute to the series Rape Culture, Religion and the Bible is: “You must be passionate about your work”. It can be emotionally and psychologically taxing to write on such a difficult topic, and the passion for it will carry you through.

What topics in the area of rape culture, religion and/or the Bible would you like to see a book on?

It would be great to see topics that cover a wide range of contexts where rape culture and religion intersect. The ideas I would love to see explored would be how to debunk rape cultures embedded in different religious traditions and contexts, with the aim of empowering readers and practitioners of the different religions on how best to deal with religious texts in ways that affirm life rather than diminish it. I like research to make a difference – so I’d love to see books that take a step towards this.

Do you have a shout-out to anyone working in this general area? Please shout about them!

My shout out to Johanna Stiebert. Your love and passion for what you do inspire me!!!

Postscript (by Johanna)

Thank you, Mmapula. I’ve just come across another book that makes for great reading alongside Mmapula’s powerful book: Stephanie S. Starling’s Navigating Womanhood in Contemporary Botswana (Bloomsbury, 2023). Shout out to Stephanie Starling! There is a great deal of important work on gender-based violence, religion and/or the Bible by Batswana scholars – so shout-outs also to Musa W. Dube, Rosinah Gabaitse, and Elizabeth (‘Lizzie’) Pulane Motswapong.

Lizzie, formerly a colleague of Mmapula’s and mine, died suddenly and unexpectedly earlier this month (May 2024). She was a dear friend. We grieve our loss and miss her deeply. Two of her chapters are due to be published in forthcoming volumes in this series (a two-part publication on abuse in world religions). The first of these will be dedicated to her memory.

Tags : BotswanaLizzie MotswapongMmapula Kebaneilwe

Leave a Response

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.