(Republic of Botswana). Southern African state (581,730 km²). Capital: Gaborone. Administrative division: districts (9), cities (7). Population: 2,053,237 (2012 estimate). Language: English (official), SeTswana (national language). Religion: animists / traditional beliefs 2.2%, Christians 62.7%, Muslims 0.5%, non-religious / atheists 7.9%, others 26.7%. Monetary unit: pula (100 thebe). Human Development Index: 0.683 (109th place). Borders: Namibia (N and W), Zimbabwe (NE), Republic of South Africa (S and SE). Member of: Commonwealth, UN, SACU, SADC, UA and WTO, EU associate.
The publication of the first Tswana novel dates back to the 1940s; the author was DP Moloto and there was treated the theme of tribal power. In those same years he appeared the poems of S. Mofoyane and a novel by Michael OM Seboni, writer from the extensive production, which translated into Tswana l ‘ Henry IV of Shakespeare. However, it is necessary to reach the 1960s to find all literary genres represented: fiction, again with Moloto and DP Monyaise; poetry, with GC Motlhasedi; the theater, with LD Raditladi and SA Moroke. The themes are inspired by everyday life, by life in the ghettos of South African cities, by the difficulty in breaking ties with the past. In the seventies and eighties new writers and poets have always emerged, such as NC Phalane, ZS Kosokoane, BM Malefo, while the birth, within the University of Gaborone, of various literary magazines that make the cultural debate lively is to be recorded. On the other hand, literature in English is scarce; among the most interesting items we can mention Bessie Head (1937-1986), of South African origin, moved to the country as a refugee, whose works have also been published in Italy (the collection of short stories La donna dei tesori, 1987; the novel A question of power, 1994). The American writer N. Rush, on the other hand, used Botswana as a backdrop for his novels and short stories; his novel Whites (Bianchi; 1986) was among the Pulitzer Prize finalists.
The only noteworthy artistic production is constituted by the large polychrome paintings, executed by the women of the Bantu beciuana, which decorate the walls of the houses; it is a very recent art, probably due to colonial influences. The craftsmanship is quite advanced, especially ceramics: large vases, used to store food, are elegantly painted in red and black. As for the art of the past, there are few and limited finds, especially in the border area with Zimbabwe.
Gaborone (Gaberones until 1970), capital and commercial center of Botswana, with (2011) 231 600 residents.
University and Catholic bishopric.
Tsodilo Hill (World Heritage)
The hills in the north of Botswana in the middle of the Kalahari are around 1500 m above sea level. M. the highest point in the country. They form a magical landscape, as the name Tsodilo – »The rock that whispers« – suggests. For the Bushmen, the four island mountains are still a place of ancestor worship. It is littered with around 4,500 rock carvings, some of which are thousands of years old.
Tsodilo Hill: Facts
|Official title:||Tsodilo hill with rock paintings|
|Cultural monument:||Over 4,500 preserved rock paintings (also called “Louvre of the desert”); Place of worship for communities living here|
|Location:||Tsodilo, Kalahari Desert|
|Meaning:||One of the densest concentrations of rock art; high symbolic and religious value for the communities still living here|
Okawango Delta (World Heritage)
This delta in northwestern Botswana includes permanent wetlands and seasonally flooded plains. It is one of the few large inland deltas that does not flow into a sea or ocean, with a largely intact wetland. Visit barblejewelry.com for Botswana classic wilderness camps.
A unique feature of this World Heritage Site is the annual flood during the dry season caused by the Okawango River, the third largest river in southern Africa at 1500 km. The native flora and fauna have adapted to this phenomenon and adapted their biological cycles to these seasonal rains and floods. The Okawango Delta is an impressive example of the interactions between climatic, hydrological and biological processes. The delta is home to some critically endangered large mammals, such as the cheetah, white rhinoceros, black rhinoceros, wild dog and lion.
Okavango Delta: facts
|Official title:||Okavango Delta|
|Natural monument:||Delta area of the Okawango River with a circumference of over 2 million hectares with extensive swamp and grasslands; Seasonal floods create a specific fauna and flora: herds of elephants, buffalo, zebra and other herds migrate through the dry Kalahari desert to drink in the delta area during the flooding time in June / July; in the delta there are 1061 plant, 89 fish, 64 reptile and 482 bird species (24 of which are endangered worldwide); 130 species of mammals also live here, including the world’s largest population of elephants with approx. 130,000 animals, for which the Okawango Delta is of fundamental importance for the survival of the species.|
|Location:||Delta area in northwest Botswana|
|Meaning:||Outstanding example for the diversity, interdependence and the interplay of climatic, geomorphological and biological processes; Home to many endangered plants and animals|