My Botswana – Travel Africa Magazine

Who are Batswana? What makes them tick? By Lauri Kubuitsile, image credit score Lucian Coman, Shutterstock

Tright here’s a fable within the village the place I reside that my husband, a boxer who was within the first group of Batswana to attend the Olympics, received me in a boxing match and that’s how I got here to be in Botswana. The actual story about how we met is sadly way more pedestrian — we met at a celebration in Mahalapye, the place I nonetheless reside.

Nevertheless, our assembly, our marriage, my life right here, is all a bit legendary I believe generally. I used to be a lady from a working class household within the United States. I by no means may have imagined the life I’ve right here on this nation of my coronary heart. It occurred to me simply now that I’m penning this only some days earlier than the thirtieth anniversary of me, a younger girl who’d by no means travelled wherever, setting foot on the soil of a rustic that might change me eternally. July 14, 1989 was the day. Now, three many years later, I’m a Motswana, a citizen of Botswana, a rustic that I used to be positive can be only a stopping level on my journey, however is now the one place on this planet that I name dwelling.

I’ve lived virtually your entire thirty years on this village, Mahalapye, the close to midway level between Botswana’s two cities, Gaborone and Francistown. You’ll cross it should you’re driving north to the primary vacationer sights; in all probability not give it a lot discover although. The village began its humble life as a cease for the prepare that handed via from South Africa to locations north. People known as it Diponeng, the place of lights, as a result of on the time the one electrical lights for miles round had been discovered on the prepare station. Mahalapye is now the house of greater than 40,000 individuals. I reside on a dust highway on the western fringe of the village, an ideal spot for lengthy morning canine walks into the close by ploughing lands (masimo), and a quiet place to write down, which is what I do now.

In Botswana, the story of rising up in a single mud hut, going to highschool, then college (all paid for by the federal government), and now having a contemporary home with electrical energy and water, and job, is one most Batswana of my age can inform. You usually hear Americans saying their nation is one the place even the poorest and most deprived can succeed in the event that they need to, however in Botswana that is the truth.

That fast progress has led to the ensuing pains although. Traditional cultural practices usually discover no area in a contemporary, westernised life. That hole leaves individuals floundering. Aspects of caring for prolonged household, for instance, are nonetheless a giant a part of individuals’s lives, however generally show troublesome on this new way of life. The nation has not discovered a approach but to tug the foundational rules of Setswana tradition into a contemporary age. But nonetheless the transformation of Botswana, simply within the time I’ve lived right here, is astounding. I doubt few can evaluate. It will not be excellent, however astounding none the much less.

There are points of the tradition right here that I really like. For instance, the follow of session. From a choice concerning the color of the brand new faculty uniform to the thought of lifting the looking ban, Batswana demand that everybody have a voice. All leaders, from the president to the chiefs on the kgotla, to the top instructor on the main faculty, should enable time for individuals to specific their views, and people views must be considered. It exhibits botho, the concept all individuals are worthy of respect, and particular person makes positive to personify that of their actions.

There are little issues I really like too. Like the truth that the greeting whenever you meet somebody is dumela, which can be the verb for to agree. Or that the phrase for cash is madi, additionally that for blood. Or the identify of our nationwide foreign money is Pula, additionally the phrase for rain, such a useful factor on this semi-arid nation. The poetry of those phrases and ideas soothes my literary coronary heart.

Who would possibly I’ve been if I’d not ended up on this place, on this humble stunning nation? 1,000,000 different lives blow out within the ether unfinished, unlived, however I selected this one. It’s as haphazard as being received in a boxing match I believe. In this case, likelihood or the Goddess Fortuna acted in my favour. Whichever it was, I’m grateful for it each day.


Cultural highlights round Gaborone

Oodi Weavers
This regionally-owned, principally feminine co-operative, 20km north of the town, produces handwoven wall hangings, tapestries, bedspreads and extra – all designed by the weavers themselves.

National Museum and Art Gallery
More than 100,000 artefacts celebrating Botswana’s pure and cultural heritage. The adjoining gallery homes exhibitions of arts, craft and images.

Tlokweng Kgotla
The kgotla is a conventional courtroom the place a semi-circle of individuals, presided over by the paramount chief, meet to debate native points and settle disputes. Here, everybody could communicate, however no-one can interrupt.

Main Mall
A bustling market; stalls promoting leather-based items, garments, baskets and meals. Catch the motion from the the President’s Hotel – the place Mma Ramotse of No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency fame enjoys a espresso.

Manyana Rock Paintings
Over 5 rock faces, these work of giraffe, antelope, people and geometric designs – believed to be the work of the Khoe individuals – date from 1100 to 1700.

Thamaga Village
Renowned for its pottery-making and a cultural centre providing conventional Tswana music, dance and delicacies.

Three Chiefs Monument
Commemorates three chiefs – Khama, Bathoen and Sebele – who travelled to the UK in 1895 to efficiently persuade the federal government to reject Cecil Rhodes’s try to annex Botswana.

Khawa Dune Challenge and Cultural Festival
Held within the distant Khawa village, this annual, household-oriented competition provides all the things from camel and quad bike rides to arts exhibitions and stunt riders.

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