Since culture is a
broad and diverse subject, I am going share with you only those parts of
Botswana culture that I feel you need to know and understand.
These include:
People and tribes
Etiquette – A concept called “Botho” in Botswana
Botho is Botswana’s fifth National Principle and it defines
a process of earning respect by first giving it, and to gain empowerment by
empowering others.
Botho includes positive attributes expected of a human being
such as respect, good manners, compassion, helpfulness, politeness and

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This principle plays an important role in the way Batswana
interact in society.

Below are a few examples of Botho that will be highly
appreciated by the locals …
Taking your hat or cap off when speaking to an elder – sign
of respect
When an elder is in need of seat and none are vacant, it is
botho to offer the elder your seat…
When entering a house or any building (especially government
buildings) taking your hat or cap off (men) is a sign of Botho..
Greeting before beginning a conversation or asking for
something/help is a sign of politeness.


Hello is ” Dumelang “
Hello Sir is ” Dumelang Rra “
Hello Gentlemen is ” Dumelang Borra “
Hello Madam is “Dumelang Mma “
Hello Ladies is ” Dumelang Bomma “
You can think of the above as “ice breakers” in
any conversation whether you intend to converse in either English or Setswana.

However, overall cultures are very similar from tribe to
tribe. This is because even though we may be from different tribes, we still
consider ourselves Batswana and the Botswana culture is what has molded our own
individual tribal cultures…
Setswana is the most spoken native language. However almost
every tribe has its own language that is sometimes very similar to Setswana.
English is spoken and understood by many people the majority
of them living in the urban settlements.
The food in Botswana is very diverse. From fast food
restaurants to ones that specialize in Italian, Indian and local cuisine…we
have them all.
Among the locals, home cooked traditional food seems to be
the favorite.
Step into any Botswana home and i bet that they will be
having our old time favorite dish of “bogobe, nama and morogo” at
least twice a week!
The bogobe is made from sorghum or maize, nama is meat
(could be goat, cow, lamb or wild animal meat) and morogo is a green leafy
veggie that looks like spinach…
Now this dish and others have been served for centuries in
Botswana and are still being served today as they were by our ancestors.

A typical Botswana family has 3 homes and lifestyles.

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This is where they work, kids go to school and where the
families spend most of their time.
2. The second is the Home village, referred to as “ko
Gae” in Setswana.
Usually this is where they were raised or where their
parents or grandparents were born and raised…
Activities at the home village include rearing of goats and
subsistence farming where crops like maize,sweet reed and sorghum are grown as
well as ground nuts ,sweet potato, water melon and others.
The crops are grown in the rainy season when water is
abundant enough to support the farming.
Most Batswana visit the home village over the Christmas
holidays. This is usually the time when people are off work for a few days and
families get together…
3. The Cattle post (Known as Moraka in setswana)
This is where cattle and sometimes goats and sheep are
reared. Almost every family in Botswana has a cattle post.
This is because cattle are not only a symbol of wealth , but
also a source of livelihood for Batswana.
They are the main source of meat during celebrations as well
as funerals…and are usually sold to the Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) to
source money
Activities at the cattle post usually include hunting,
cattle branding and vaccinating. People,(often men and boys) visit the cattle
post on weekends and public holidays…
For locals the cattle post is the main getaway place for
fresh air away from all the busy and fast life in town.


Traditional Dancing
Story Telling
Local Village Visits
Guided Bushman hunting tours and…
Bushman food gathering excursions
There are some attractions that exhibit ancient Botswana culture
that are worth visiting.
Some of these date as far back as 650 AD
Among them are ;
Tsodilo Hills
Domboshaba Ruins
Tswapong Hills
Motloutse Ruins
Gcwihaba Caverns
Matsieng footprints
Kubu Island
this post was original written by Zina Mathambo

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