For More...

Botswana Profile

General Facts:

Population: 2.021 million (2013) World Bank,

Official Languages : English, Tswana

Capital: Gaborone

Area:231,804 mi²

Introduction

Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana, is a landlocked country located in Southern Africa. The citizens refer to themselves as Batswana (singular: Motswana). 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.

Currency: The Botswana Pula is the currency of Botswana. The currency code for Pula is BWP, and the currency symbol is P.

 

Health & Safety
People in Botswana are very friendly and the crime rate is low. There isn’t much to worry about on this front. Nevertheless, crime has been on the rise over the past several years, so always be aware of your surroundings. Basic common sense will keep you safe from the predatory wildlife in rural areas. Botswana happens to be one of the safest countries in Africa, no civil war, less corruption, human rights, no natural disasters e.g earthquakes or tsunamis.

Botswana’s HIV infection rate, estimated at 24.1%, is the 2nd highest reported in the world. Exercise regular universal precautions when dealing with any bodily fluid and remain aware of this high rate of infection. Take precautions accordingly. Wear rubber gloves when dressing someone else’s cut, even if they are a child.

The northern part of Botswana, including Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta is in a malaria zone, so it is advisable to take the relevant precautions. Seek medical advice before travelling to these areas.

Water in urban areas is chlorinated, and is drunk from the tap by the local population. Still, short term visitors with sensitive stomachs may feel more secure drinking bottled water. Outside of urban areas, the water is untreated and straight from the borehole and poses a slightly higher risk to the traveller.

Culture

They believed that a supernatural being was responsible for the creation of both humankind and the other animals and plants. For this reason, their cosmology reflects a strong connection between people and the natural environment.

For those that still follow a traditional belief system, ancestral worship is central to their daily religious practice, as it is believed that, if appeased, the ancestors will protect the family, strengthen the community and keep away ill omens.

Ancestors are also invoked to promote auspicious seasonal events, such as the well-timed onset of the rains and a good-quality harvest. The traditional healer always plays a strong role in these belief systems, as the ancestral spirits are often contacted through them. The family head may also be the medium for contact.

Religion

Today, approximately 30 percent of Batswana belong to one of the Christian churches (most are Catholic or Anglican), while over 65 percent adhere to the practices of the African Religion or still follow traditional beliefs.

The African Religion comprises a variety of churches: the Healing Church of Botswana, the Zionist Christian Church and the Apostolic Faith Mission, for example, and these belong to two main movements: the African Independent and Pentecostal churches.

These are indigenous religions that practise an integrated form of worship, combining the Christian liturgy with the more ritualistic elements of traditional ancestral worship. Very popular in the rural areas, the African Religion has a strong sense of community worship, rather than the more individualistic routine of modern Christianity.

Education

Education in Botswana is free for the first 10 years, which completes the cycle through middle school. The first 7 years of this are at primary school, where the pupil-teacher ratio is approximately 13 to 1.The medium of education is Setswana for the 1st 4 years, thereafter English.

Progression to middle school is no longer contingent on a pupil passing their primary school leaving examination.  At the end of their form 3 year though, students must sit for their compulsory junior secondary examination. If they pass then they may study further. In either event they may also go to work, because their compulsory education program is complete.

Secondary school, where the pupil teacher ratio has dropped to 24 to 1 takes 2 more years. It culminates in the senior secondary examination, which is a pre-requisite for tertiary education of any kind.

The Botswana Training Authority regulates the standard of vocational training across the entire spectrum, in order to promote the development of an integrated system that’s accessible to all.

There are a variety of tertiary education institutions in Botswana, including colleges of accounting and agriculture, and institutes of administration, commerce, and health sciences.

Government

The constitution of Botswana is the rule of law which protects the citizens of Botswana and represents their rights. The politics of Botswana take place in a framework of a representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Botswana is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Parliament of Botswana. The most recent election, its eleventh, was held on 24 October 2014. Since independence was declared, the party system has been dominated by the Botswana Democratic Party.

Transport

Plane: Botswana’s main airport is Sir Seretse Khama in Gaborone. Most flights arriving in Botswana are from Johannesburg in South Africa, but routes from Cape Town, Harare and Nairobi are also available. Maun also has a limited number of international flights (Cape Town, Windhoek). The distance between Gaborone and Maun is more than 1,000km. Maun is very much a tourist attraction spot.

Bus: There are many bus companies in Botswana. One of the biggest is Seabalo. From Gaborone you can travel by bus to any bigger city in Botswana.

Train: Botswana Railways operates Botwana’s railways. The main line goes from Lobatse, near the South African border, via Gaborone to Francistown at the Zimbabwean border.

Comments are closed.