Botswana is a country located in Southern Africa whose name is synonymous with progress, prosperity and as one of the dynamic economies in Africa. Botswana was previously a British protectorate and was known as Beuchanaland. After independence in 1966, the name was changed to the Republic of Botswana.
Botswana is landlocked between South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe and a major portion of Botswana is occupied by the Kalahari Desert. The capital of Botswana is Gaborone and the official languages spoken here are English and Setswana. A citizen of Botswana is called as a Batswana.
The land of Beuchanaland (present day Botswana) was put under British protection after native tribes and the Tswana inhabitants warred with each other. This hostile environment made the Batswana leaders to seek help from the British government who officially protected the Northern territory of Beuchanaland which is Botswana today. The southern territory was part of the Cape colony which later became a part of South Africa which is the reason why a majority of Setswana speaking people reside in South Africa now. Later the Union of South Africa tried to include Botswana into their territory but it did not materialize. Later the British government and the tribal governments established advisory councils to represent both sides and later formed a legislative council. They sent requests for setting up of a democratic government in Botswana which was accepted in 1964. Later elections were held in 1965 and the first elected leader was Seretse Khama.
Botswana is one of the world’s most dynamic economies and their growth rates have surpassed all expectations. During independence, it was one of the poorest African countries but now is in a very prosperous position. All this has been possible due to the prime occupation namely Mining. Mineral extraction and particularly diamond mining dominates the economy here. The government of Botswana and the South African government have set up Debswana which is the largest mining operation in Botswana. Diamond mining has given a majority of GDP to the country and has helped rank Botswana as the world’s highest exporter of diamonds. Other occupations of the people in Botswana are tourism, financial services and agriculture. However the high incidence of HIV/AIDS in this region is a threat to the future generations of Botswana and continues to loom a large negative image of the country compared to the excellent economic activity.
The culture of Botswana reflects the living style of the Tswana inhabitants of Beuchaland. Though there are many other ethnic groups here, the culture speaks loud of the majority Tswana people. It also reflects the unity that the groups have and the economic progress of the country has given tremendous educational provisions for the children of the Botswana people namely free-state education. This guarantees free education for the first ten years in school followed by additional two years of secondary school. There are many colleges and vocational courses offered for the students here. The British protection of Botswana has given its influence on the country in terms of religion as the dominant religion here is Christianity. The cuisine of Botswana is also inspired by Tswana people as well as South African cuisine. Botswana is famous for its fine arts like pottery, weaving and crafting baskets. The paintings here depict the hunting culture and animals in the Kalahari desert. The paintings, sculptures and the buildings in Botswana are all examples of the architectural excellence.The Tswana music makes use of vocals and string instruments like guitar etc.
Botswana is connected with a network of railways, roadways and airports.
The currency in Botswana is the Pula. In Setswana language this means “Let there be rain”. This is because Botswana receives scarce rain and the name ‘Pula’ reflects the desire for rain in the hearts of the Tswana people. Earlier the currency was the South African Rand.
The flag of Botswana was designed and adopted on its independence day. The flag is light blue with a black horizontal strip in the middle. This strip is bordered by white strips on either ends. The blue color denotes rain and the white and black stripes denote racial harmony.