Khonani Ontebetse was born in Zoroga, Botswana in 1978. He was educated at Masunga Senior Secondary School and Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU). After receiving a B.A. in Media Communication and Culture at NMMU in 2005, Khonani worked as a journalist for The Ngami Times newspaper and later The Mirror newspaper. He is currently a journalist for The Botswana Gazette newspaper.khonani_ontebetse.
In 2004, when the then Port Elizabeth University and Port Elizabeth Technikon became a merger to form the NMMU, Khonani was among the four students from the two institutions to win a literary competition with his essay entitled- “How I will remember The University of Port Elizabeth.” That was the turning point in his career as an ambitious writer. In 2008, he won the first local run literary competition in Botswana called the Bessie Head Literature Awards, which are held annually in honor of one Africa’s acclaimed writers, the late Bessie Head. The novel (pentagon publishers) discusses arranged marriages in relation to HIV/AIDS. Khonani also writes short stories and plays which are yet to be published.
Khonani’s The Trial of the Gods focuses on tribulations in the Kalahari. Instead of bringing joy and happiness, development and civilization bring misery and suffering to people in the Kalahari Desert for the first time; in the form of relocation to modern towns by the Botswana Government. A man called Jay takes the people back into the desert after relocation to continue a hunting and gathering lifestyle. The authorities do not know what to do with Jay as he holds the country at ransom by resisting relocation and also links the relocation to diamonds which are the country’s mainstay.
Jay’s demands for the protection of his people, their culture and possible genocide over diamonds exploration turns into a quest for truth and Justice; he takes the mighty richest government to the High Court.
At the High Court Jay demands that the Court relocates to the desert because he has realized that the case belongs to the Gods buried in the desert. He insists that the Gods are the ones who can advise him what action to take as far as development, civilization and diamond exploration are concerned. The Trial of the Gods was published by Nsemia Inc. Publishers in June 2011.