Hey now Grannies of Bronte & Oomama
I know you really, really, really wanna
Trek around the Republic of Botswana
Feast on rich cultural traditions called Setswana
And maybe learn to speak a little Tswana
Food, culture, and history here are really neat
When we’re hungry, we’ll find something to eat
But first, our eyes we must treat
Lions, elephants, ostriches, zebras we’ll greet
At the Kalahari Game Reserve which can’t be beat
Precambrian rock formations predominate
More than 2.5 billion years old- ain’t that great!
And for lunch - bet you can’t wait
To have some dried phane caterpillars -on your plate
And seswaa-prepared only by men for heaven's sake
An interesting history does our attention command
Once Botswana was known as Bechuanaland
And was one of the poorest states in the land
Then the Missionaries thought it grand
To give weapons but, first join their religious brand
About 70% made the trade: Christianity for weapons
Most enjoy the Christian celebrations
Here are three celebrated traditions:
1. Maun Festival of arts & crafts raises money for local schools (December)
2. Maitisong Festival is dedicated to the arts (April)
3. Tjilenje Festival is dedicated to traditional cultural activities such as games, music performances
Social theories of origin are quite interesting
Christians have Adam and Eve
In Botswana, Modimo is the creator & supreme being
No one was really there, so who can you believe
Steeped tradition of Ubutu philosophy flows
Everyone is connected, hence a decision grows
Botswana gained stature as democratic, prosperous & peaceful
Member of UN, the British Commonwealth & most gleeful
Southern African Development Community
Diamond and gold mined beautifully
The economy grew and grew. Who knew?
Potash, nickel, copper and beef to name a few
Cattle remain a status symbol; yes. that’s true
Check out the the coat of arms: 2 zebras, 3 waves of water, and industrial cogwheels, bulls head indicates husbandry
The word PULA is the word for rain as well as the national currency
Botswana was hit with the highest rate of HIV/AIDs pandemic of all
But is the first country to provide free HIV antiretroviral medication to all
So, yes, the SLF helpful support is no mystery
Listen to our educators, turn the page for SLF history
Stephen Lewis Foundation Supports Projects in Botswana
Let us leave the last word to Mma Ramotswe-
“We shall change all that...because it is possible to change the world, if one is determined enough, and if one sees with sufficient clarity just what has to be changed.”
― Alexander Mccall Smith,
The Kalahari Typing School for Men
1. Stepping Stones International (SSI ) in Gabarone , Botswana
is located on the Tlokweng Road, South West of the University of Botswana, just near the Riverwalk Mall. These are place names that will be very familiar to anyone who knows Mma Ramotswe and the Number 1 Ladies Detective Agency, a series of books written by Alexander McCall-Smith.
SSI provides an after school program to 200 orphans and vulnerable adolescents aged between 12 and 18, who have experienced abuse, inconsistent schooling, or have been infected or affected by HIV. An important aspect of SSI’s mission is to improve participating teens’ English literacy and thus improve their economic prospects.
SSI is working to build and improve Botswana’s developing education system. Through school counsellors and the community, staff at SSI identify orphaned youth who under-perform academically, live in abusive environments or have basic unmet needs. Through a holistic programme model, which combines life skills, leadership, psychosocial support and community mobilization they enable youth to heal the scars of the past and reconnect with their lost childhood, while growing into self-sufficient young adults.
2. Women Against Rape (WAR) is located in Maun, North West Botswana.
They primarily support abused women and children and address the issues that contribute to their abuse. They have also extended their services to men who may need assistance.
By empowering women and children, providing support for survivors, offering informed public Education and legal reform, they hope to reduce the incidents and the impact of violence against women and children.
WAR was founded in 1993, by four women who came together as a result of their concern following the lack of support and access to justice for rape victims. It was formally registered as a trust in 1995. Its strategies are geared to addressing the social issues that contribute to the abuse of women and children through offering psychosocial counselling; safe/ house/shelter; informed public education; advocacy, and lobbying, as well as skills empowerment. The primary contact person there is Bangwe Chalebgwa, who tells us that Gender Based Violence has increased exponentially with the COVID lockdown. Last year WAR ran a workshop for male teachers to address how they respond to Sexual Reproductive Health issues toward students (especially girls) in school
3.Botswana Retired Nurses Association (BORNUS) is another organization based in Tlokweng, in the capital Gabarone.
SLF partners with the Lady Khama Charitable Trust to support BORNUS. (Lady Ruth Khama was the wife of Botswana’s first President, Sir Seretse Khama.) The Botswana Retired Nurses Society is a local NGO with a countrywide membership of retired nurses, segmented into regional branches. The nurses wanted to utilise their expertise and experience gained over decades of providing care to the sick, and managing hospitals and health centres throughout Botswana.
The organisation was set up in 1999 and officially registered as a society in 2003. Mavis Kewakae is the Executive Director. She says their activities began as strictly medical but now they go far beyond that.
The retired nurses introduced the Community Relief Day Care Centre in Tlokweng. It provides comprehensive care and support to people living with HIV and AIDS and those with chronic illnesses, as well as orphans and vulnerable children. This involves working with the family unit and providing integrated services. BORNUS carries out HIV counselling and testing, wellness services, palliative care and home based care, youth group and afterschool tuition and developmental stimulation (skills building) through the day care centre.
Mavis tells us there is support group for grandmothers, who often look after their grandchildren who are BORNUS’ clients. They are widowed and have lost some of their children through HIV/AIDS. Their challenges include poverty, chronic illness and loneliness. Together they share experiences on caring for orphans and the challenges they face. They are empowered to sustain themselves through handicrafts, bee keeping and backyard gardens.
Botswana, which was one of the poorest countries in Africa at independence, has become one of the continent's few economic success stories. This economic situation has been used to benefit the people and has resulted in the highest life expectancy in Africa. Despite this, Botswana is suffering an AIDS epidemic because rapid economic development has led to rapid urbanization and social dislocation, 25,000 young, single Botswana men work in the mines of South Africa, numerous truck transit routes bisect the country, and there is a burgeoning international trading center in Francistown. HIV has spread despite extensive interventions by the national AIDS control program.