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Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana, is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa.
The citizens refer to themselves as Batswana. Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966.
Since then, it has maintained a strong tradition of stable representative democracy, with a consistent record of uninterrupted democratic elections.
Botswana is topographically flat, with up to 70 percent of its territory being the Kalahari Desert. It is bordered by South Africa to the south and southeast, Namibia to the west and north, and Zimbabwe to the northeast. Its border with Zambia to the north near Kazungula is poorly defined but at most is a few hundred metres long.
A mid-sized country of just over 2 million people, Botswana is one of the most sparsely populated nations in the world. Around 10 percent of the population lives in the capital and largest city, Gaborone. Formerly one of the poorest countries in the world—with a GDP per capita of about US$70 per year in the late 1960s—Botswana has since transformed itself into one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, now boasting a GDP (purchasing power parity) per capita of about $18,825 per year as of 2015, which is one of the highest in Africa. Its high gross national income (by some estimates the fourth-largest in Africa) gives the country a modest standard of living and the highest Human Development Index of continental Sub-Saharan Africa.
Botswana is a member of the African Union, the Southern African Development Community, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the United Nations. Despite its political stability and relative socioeconomic prosperity, the country is among the hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
Culture of Botswana
Besides referring to the language of the dominant people groups in Botswana, Setswana is the adjective used to describe the rich cultural traditions of the Batswana—whether construed as members of the Tswana ethnic groups or of all citizens of Botswana.
The Scottish writer Alexander McCall Smith has written several mystery novels (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series) set in Botswana.
Music of Botswana
Botswana music is mostly vocal and performed, sometimes without drums depending on the occasion; it also makes heavy use of string instruments.
Botswana folk music has instruments such as Setinkane (a Botswana version of miniature piano), Segankure/Segaba (a Botswana version of the Chinese instrument Erhu), Moropa (Meropa -plural) (a Botswana version of the many varieties of drums), phala (a Botswana version of a whistle used mostly during celebrations, which comes in a variety of forms).
Botswana cultural musical instruments are not confined only to the strings or drums. the hands are used as musical instruments too, by either clapping them together or against phathisi (goat skin turned inside out wrapped around the calf area; it is only used by men) to create music and rhythm.
For the last few decades, the guitar has been celebrated as a versatile music instrument for Tswana music as it offers a variety in string which the Segaba instrument does not have. It is the outsider that found a home within the culture. The highlight of any celebration or event that shows especially happiness is the dancing. This differs by regime, age, gender and status in the group or if it's a tribal activity, status in the community.
The national anthem is Fatshe leno la rona. Written and composed by Kgalemang Tumediso Motsete, it was adopted upon independence in 1966.
Art of Botswana
In the northern part of Botswana, women in the villages of Etsha and Gumare are noted for their skill at crafting baskets from Botswana from Mokola Palm and local dyes.
The baskets are generally woven into three types: large, lidded baskets used for storage, large, open baskets for carrying objects on the head or for winnowing threshed grain, and smaller plates for winnowing pounded grain. The artistry of these baskets is being steadily enhanced through colour use and improved designs as they are increasingly produced for commercial use.
Other notable artistic communities include Thamaga Pottery and Oodi Weavers, both located in the south-eastern part of Botswana.
The oldest paintings from both Botswana and South Africa depict hunting, animal and human figures, and were made by the Khoisan (Kung San/Bushmen) over twenty thousand years ago within the Kalahari desert.
Cuisine of Botswana
The cuisine of Botswana is unique but also shares some characteristics with other cuisine of Southern Africa. Examples of Botswana food are pap, boerewors, samp,vetkoek and mopani worms.
A food unique to Botswana includes seswaa, heavily salted mashed-up meat.
Chobe National Park
The Botswana Tourism Organisation is the country's official tourism group. Primarily, tourists visit Gaborone due to the city having numerous activities for visitors. Hotels include the Lonrho Lansmore Masa Square, a 5-Star hotel, and the Gaborone Sun, a luxury hotel that also features a casino. The Lion Park Resort is Botswana's first permanent amusement park and hosts events such as birthday parties for families. Other destinations in Botswana include the Gaborone Yacht Club and the Kalahari Fishing Club and natural attractions such as the Gaborone Dam and Mokolodi Nature Reserve.
There are golf courses which are maintained by the Botswana Golf Union (BGU). The Phakalane Golf Estate is a multimillion-dollar clubhouse that offers both hotel accommodations and access to golf courses.
Museums in Botswana include;
- Botswana National Museum in Gaborone
- Kgosi Bathoen II (Segopotso) Museum in Kanye
- Kgosi Sechele I Museum in Molepolole
- Khama III Memorial Museum in Serowe
- Nhabe Museum in Maun
- Phuthadikobo Museum in Mochudi
- Supa Ngwano Museum Centre in Francistown