REPUBLIC OF BOTSWANA
(Lefatshe la Botswana)
- Location: Southern Africa
- Capital: Gaborone
- Language: English, Setswana
- Population: 2,030,418
- Total Area: 581,730 sq km
- Currency: Pula
- Curious Alcohol Fact: Alcohol is readily consumed in Botswana but unlike many other African nations where locally-prepared beers are easily purchased, getting the traditional beer (chibuku) is not always easy, especially for tourists.
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 7.96 liters
- Most Popular Drink: Chibuku
Formerly called the Bechuanaland, the Republic of Botswana is one of the most beautiful nations on the continent despite the fact that a vast proportion of its area is covered by the Kalahari Desert. This nation has the Okavango Delta, which is the largest inland delta not just in Africa but also in the world. It was colonized by Britain and got independence in 1966. The name ‘Botswana’ comes from the Tswana, the principal ethnic group in the country. Botswana is known for its incredibly large diamond deposits and for being one of the least corrupt nations in the world. It shares border with South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia.
As mentioned earlier, the predominant ethnic group in Botswana is the Setswana and for centuries, the Tswanas have dominated and controlled much of the nation’s resources. Tswanas are also found in the neighboring South Africa. However, apart from the Tswanas, there are other groups: Tswapong, Birwa, Khalagari, Kalanga and the Subiya. Irrespective of the tribe, the citizens are referred to as Batswana, and a vast majority of the populace are Christians. There is also a sizable population of Muslims, Hindus and followers of the traditional African religion.
One of the things I learnt as a result of my travel to this dazzling African nation is that food is an important component of the culture. The fascinating thing about Botswana is that the foods are so diverse that one cannot refer to one as a national food. However, there are some very popular dishes and one is the seswaa. This food is a traditional dish made from beef and is only prepared during celebrations. I was thrilled when a whole village congregated to make simmering pots of seswaa in my honor. If you taste this dish, you will surely fall in love with Botswana.
Just as eating is a very important component of national life, drinking is also a crucial part of every meal. In the rural areas, it is common to ‘wash down’ meals with chibuku, the traditional beer made from corn. At many local bars, the chibuku is available but most tourists find it hectic to get it since they are sold in large quantities and many tourists resorts prefer to sell beers such as the Lion, Windhoek Lager and Castle.
Botswana is an enchanting nation and as a visitor, there is a never a dull moment as there are many places to visit. It is quite thrilling to recount some of the sites I visited with my Kalanga friends. The vast and arid Kalahari Desert was our first point of call and I was excited to learn of the ways of the San (or Bushmen) and Hottentots who live in the desert. We also visited the sprawling Okavango Delta, which contains the Chobe National Park. This park is full of wild animals like antelopes, lechwes and rhinos. One thing with these parks is that the experience that one will get there cannot be compared with that of any other place on earth -simply magical.
Story By World By Shotglass
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria)
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