The African continent is 54 nations, each with their own independent governments and sovereignty, GNP, culture, natural resources, language(s), military, and religion. The treasure trove of mineral and raw material wealth has scarcely been touched, and the continent's largely untapped fertile lands could feed the world. Herewith is Jewel of Africa, an interactive adventure in the cradle of mankind, an exploration of nations from A-Z in alphabetical order.
Botswana. Land of diamonds, gemstones, precious metals
The Republic of Botswana is a topographically flat landlocked country in Southern Africa with 70 percent of its territory giving way to the Kalahari Desert. Botswana is bordered by South Africa to the south and southeast, Namibia to the north and west, and Zimbabwe to the northeast. It faces Zambia across the Zambezi River by the Kazungula Bridge.
Botswana is mid-sized country of slightly over 2.3 million people, it is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. About 11.6 percent of the population lives in the capital and largest city, Gaborone. Formerly one of the world's poorest countries, with a GDP per capita of about $70 per year in the late 1960s, Botswana has since transformed itself into an upper middle income country, with one of the world's fastest-growing economies.
In 1885, the British colonized the area and declared a protectorate under the name of Bechuanaland. As decolonization occurred, Bechuanaland became an independent Commonwealth republic under its current name on 30 September 1966. Since then, it has been a representative republic, with a consistent record of uninterrupted democratic elections and the lowest perceived corruption ranking in Africa since at least 1998.
The economy is dominated by mining, cattle, and tourism. Botswana has a GDP per capita of about $18,113 as of 2021, one of the highest in Africa. Its relatively high gross national income per capita (by some estimates the fourth-largest in Africa) gives the country a relatively high standard of living and the highest Human Development Index of continental sub-Saharan Africa. Botswana is a member of the African Union, the Southern African Development Community, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the United Nations.
In June 1964, the United Kingdom accepted proposals for a democratic self-government in Botswana. An independence conference was held in London in February 1966. The seat of government was moved in 1965 from Mahikeng in South Africa, to the newly established Gaborone, which is located near Botswana's border with South Africa. Based on the 1965 constitution, the country held its first general elections under universal suffrage and gained independence on Sept. 30, 1966.
The presidency passed to the sitting vice-president, Quett Masire, who was elected in his own right in 1984 and re-elected in 1989 and 1994. Masire retired from office in 1998. He was succeeded by Festus Mogae, who was elected in his own right in 1999 and re-elected in 2004.
The presidency passed in 2008 to Ian Khama (son of the first President), who had been serving as Mogae's vice-president since resigning his position in 1998 as Commander of the Botswana Defense Force to take up this civilian role. On 1 April 2018 Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi was sworn in as the fifth President of Botswana succeeding Ian Khama. He represents the Botswana Democratic Party, which has also won a majority in every parliamentary election since independence. All the previous presidents have also represented the same party.
Geography and climate
At 224,607 square miles, Botswana is the world's 48th-largest country. It is similar in size to Madagascar or France. It lies between latitudes 17° and 27° south, and longitudes 20° and 30° east. Botswana is predominantly flat, tending toward gently rolling tableland and is dominated by the Kalahari Desert, which covers up to 70 percent of its land surface. The Okavango Delta, one of the world's largest inland river deltas, is in the north-west. The Makgadikgadi Pan, a large salt pan, lies in the north.
The Limpopo River Basin, the major landform of all of southern Africa, lies partly in Botswana, with the basins of its tributaries, the Notwane, Bonwapitse, Mahalapye, Lotsane, Motloutse and the Shashe, located in the eastern part of the country.
The Notwane provides water to the capital through the Gaborone Dam. The Chobe River lies to the north, providing a boundary between Botswana and Namibia's Zambezi Region. The Chobe River meets with the Zambezi River at a place called Kazungula (meaning a small sausage tree, a point where Sebitwane and his Makololo tribe crossed the Zambezi into Zambia. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcejmoKR05g
The Republic of Botswana has made enormous strides exponentially since the late 1960s. One of the fastest developing economies on par with some of Asia's largest economies.
Botswana's impressive economic record compared to some of its neigh-bors has been built on a foundation of diamond mining, prudent fiscal policies, and a cautious foreign policy. The impressive skyline of the largest city, Goborone serves notice.
Botswana's national carrier line, Air Botswana, and Botswana Railways provide a large measure of the nation's transportation system. With
headquarters in Gaborone, the airline operates domestic and regional flights from its main base at Sir Seretse Khama International Airport.
A third tangent of transport in Botswana is the national network of paved roadways and highways. The nation boasts 11,484 miles of paved roads, almost entirely constructed since independence in 1966, making it among the most developed network of roadways on the African continent.
That Botswana is rich is a gross understatement. Its allure from sultry rubescent sunsets and ruggedly beautiful sand dunes, to the nation's sparkling mineral wealth, to its human resources and animal kingdom --- the depth of Botswana's beauty is undefined.
Botswana has diverse areas of wildlife habitat. In addition to the delta and desert areas, there are grasslands and savannas, where blue wildebeest, antelopes, and other mammals and birds are found. Northern Botswana has one of the few remaining large populations of the endangered African wild dog. Chobe National Park, found in the Chobe District, has the world's largest concentration of African elephants. The park covers about 4,247 square miles and supports about 350 species of birds.
The Chobe National Park and Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta, are major tourist destinations. Other reserves include the Central Kalahari Game Reserve located in the Kalahari desert in Ghanzi District; Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, and Nxai Pan National Park are in the Central District in the Makgadikgadi Pan.
Two others, the Mashatu Game Reserve, and Mokolodi Nature Reserve are privately owned, The former is located at the confluence of the Shashe and Limpopo Rivers in eastern Botswana. The latter reserve is near Gaborone. There are also specialized sanctuaries like Khama Rhino Sanctuary (for rhinoceros) and Makgadikgadi Sanctuary (for flamingos). They are both located in the Central District.
Botswana faces two major environmental problems in drought and desertification, which are heavily linked. Three-quarters of the country's human and animal populations depend on groundwater due to drought. Groundwater use through deep borehole drilling has somewhat eased the effects of drought. Surface water is scarce in Botswana and less than 5 percent of the agriculture in the country is sustainable by rainfall. In the remaining 95 percent of the country, raising livestock is the primary source of rural income. Approximately 71 percent of the country's land is used for communal grazing, which has been a major cause of the desertification and the accelerating soil erosion of the country.
Since raising livestock has been profitable for the people of Botswana, they continue to exploit the land with dramatically increasing numbers of animals. From 1966 to 1991, the livestock population grew from 1.7 million to 5.5 million. Similarly, the human population has increased from 574,000 in 1971 to 1.5 million in 1995, a 161 percent increase in 24 years.
More than half of all households in Botswana own cattle, which is currently the largest single source of rural income. Rangeland degradation or desertification is regarded as the reduction in land productivity as a result of overstocking and overgrazing. Degradation is exacerbated by the effects of drought and climate change. Environmentalists report that the Okavango Delta is
drying up due to the increased grazing of livestock. The Okavango Delta is one of the major semi-forested wetlands in Botswana and one of the largest inland deltas in the world. It is a crucial ecosystem to the survival of many animals.
The Department of Forestry and Range Resources has already begun to implement a project to reintroduce indigenous vegetation into communities in Kgalagadi South, Kweneng North, and Boteti. Reintroduction of indigenous vegetation will help reduce the degradation of the land. The United States has also entered into an agreement with Botswana, giving them $7 million to reduce Botswana's debt by $8.3 million. The stipulation being, that Botswana will focus on more extensive conservation of the land. The country had a 2018 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 9.13/10, ranking it 8th globally out of 172 countries.
Government and politics
Botswana is its continent's oldest democracy. 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 multi-party representative democratic republic, whereby the president is both the head of state and the government, and is elected by and accountable to the Parliament of Botswana.
Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Parliament. The most recent election, its eleventh, was held on 23 Oct. 23, 2019. Since independence was declared, the party system has been dominated by the Botswana Democratic Party.
Botswana was ranked as a flawed democracy and 33rd out of 167 states in the 2020
Democracy Index. This was the highest rating in continental Africa, with only the offshore archipelago of Cape Verde ranking higher. According to Transparency International, Botswana is the least corrupt country in Africa and ranks just below Portugal and South Korea.
The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature, comprised of a typical court system of local Magistrates Courts, a High Court, and a Court of Appeal. The High Court is a superior court of record with unlimited original jurisdiction to hear and determine any criminal, civil or constitutional cases under law. The Head of the High Court is the chief justice. The Court of Appeal is the highest and final court in the country and deals with appeals from the High Court and the Industrial Court. The head of the Court of Appeal is the judge president.
Judges are appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Judicial Services Commission.
With regard to the legal profession, although the Law Society of Botswana has been in existence since 1997, there is still no clear indication in their registry of attorneys as to how certain demographics, such as women, have fared in the legal field.
Foreign relations and military
At the time of independence, Botswana had no armed forces. It was only after South African and Rhodesian troops attacked Botswana that the Botswana Defense Force (BDF) was formed in 1977. The president is commander-in-chief of the armed forces and appoints a defense council and the BDF currently comprised of roughly 60,000 servicemen. Following political changes in South Africa and the region, the BDF's missions have increasingly focused on prevention of poaching, disaster preparedness, and peacekeeping. The US has been the largest single foreign contributor to the development of the BDF. A large segment of its officer corps have received US training.
Economy and finance
Since independence, Botswana has had one of the fastest growth rates in per capita income in the world. Botswana has transformed itself from one of the poorest countries in the world to an upper middle-income nation. GDP per capita grew from $1,344 in 1950 to $15,015 in 2016. Although Botswana was resource-abundant, a good institutional framework allowed the country to reinvest resource-income to generate stable future income. By one estimate, it has the fourth highest gross national income at purchasing power parity in Africa.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry of Botswana is responsible for promoting business development throughout the country. According to the International Monetary Fund, economic growth averaged over 9 percent per year from 1966 to 1999. Botswana has a high level of economic freedom compared to other African countries.
The government has maintained a sound fiscal policy, despite consecutive budget deficits in 2002 and 2003, and a negligible level of foreign debt. It earned the highest sovereign credit rating in Africa and has stockpiled foreign exchange reserves (over $7 billion in 2005 and 2006) amounting to almost two-and-a-half years of current imports.
The protection of intellectual property rights has improved significantly. Botswana is ranked second only to South Africa among sub-Saharan Africa countries in the 2014 International Property Rights Index. While generally open to foreign participation in its economy, Botswana reserves some sectors for citizens. Increased foreign investment plays a significant role in the privatization of state-owned enterprises. Investment regulations are transparent, and bureaucratic procedures are streamlined and open, although somewhat slow.
Investment returns such as profits and dividends, debt service, capital gains, returns on intellectual property, royalties, franchise's fees, and service fees can be repatriated without limits. Botswana imports refined petroleum products and electricity from South Africa. There is some domestic production of electricity from coal.
An array of financial institutions populates the country's financial system, with pension funds and commercial banks being the two most important segments by asset size. Banks remain profitable, well-capitalized, and liquid, as a result of growing national resources and high interest rates. The Bank of Botswana serves as a central bank. Botswana's currency is the pula.
The nation's competitive banking system is one of Africa's most advanced, generally adhering to global standards in the transparency of financial policies and banking supervision. The financial sector provides ample access to credit for entrepreneurs. As of August 2015, there are a dozen licensed banks in the country. The government is involved in banking through state-owned financial institutions and a special financial incentives program that is aimed at increasing Botswana's status as a financial center. Credit is allocated on market terms, although the government provides subsidized loans.
Reform of non-bank financial institutions has continued in recent years, notably through the establishment of a single financial regulatory agency that provides more effective supervision. The government has abolished exchange controls, and with the resulting creation of new portfolio investment options, the Botswana Stock Exchange is growing.
Gemstones, precious metals
The Department of Mines and Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security maintains data regarding mining. Debswana, the largest diamond mining company operating in Botswana, is 50 percent government owned. The mineral industry provides about 40 percent of all government revenues. In 2007, significant quantities of uranium were discovered, and mining began by 2010.
Several international mining corporations have established regional headquarters in Botswana, and prospect for diamonds, gold, uranium, copper, and oil, many with positive results. The government announced in early 2009 that they would try to shift their economic dependence on diamonds over concern that mining will exhaust Botswana’s diamond reserves in in 20 years.
Botswana's Orapa mine is the largest diamond mine in the world in terms of value and quantity of carats produced annually. The national estimate for diamond production in 2013 alone, was more than 11 million carats valued at an estimated $1.6 billion.
As of 2012, the Tswana are the majority ethnic group in Botswana, comprising approximately 79 percent of the population, followed by Kalanga at 11 percent, and the San (Basarwa) at 3 percent. The remaining 7 percent is made up of White Botswanans at 3 percent, Indians, and a number of smaller Southern African ethnic groups. Native groups include the Bayei, Basubia, Bambukushu, Baherero and Bakgalagadi. The Indian minority is made up of both recent migrants and descendants of Indian migrants who arrived from Mozambique, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, and Mauritius. Due to deteriorating economic conditions in Zimbabwe, the number of Zimbabweans in Botswana has risen into the tens of thousands.
Language and religion
English is spoken, but Setswana is the dominant tongue across Botswana. In Setswana, prefixes are more important than they are in many other languages, since Setswana is a Bantu language and has noun classes denoted by these prefixes. They include Bo, which refers to the country, Ba, which refers to the people, Mo, which is one person, and Se which is the language. For example, the main ethnic group of Botswana is the Tswana people, hence the name Botswana.
In the area of faith, an estimated 77 percent of the country's citizens identify as Christians. Anglicans, Methodists, and the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa make up the majority of Christians. There are also Lutheran, Baptist, Roman Catholics, Mennonites, and Dutch Reformed. According to the 2001 census, Botswana has around 5,000 Muslims, mainly from South Asia; 3,000 Hindus, and 700 of the Baháʼí Faith. Approximately 20 percent of citizens identify with no religion.
There are six television stations in Botswana, one of which is state-owned (Botswana TV), along with Now TV, Khuduga HD, Maru TV, Access TV and EBotswana. There are five local radio stations (RB1, RB2, Duma FM, Gabz FM, and Yarona FM), and 13 newspapers — Mmegi, Sunday Standard, Business Weekly, The Telegraph, The Botswana Gazette, The Voice, The Guardian, Echo, Botswana People's Daily, Daily News, Tswana Times, Weekend Post, and The Monitor.
Botswana has made great strides in educational development since independence in 1966. At that time there were very few graduates in the country and only a very small percentage of the population attended secondary school. Botswana increased its adult literacy rate from 69 percent in 1991 to 83 percent in 2008. With the increase in government revenue brought about by the discovery and mining of diamonds, there was a huge increase in improved education in the country.
All students are now guaranteed 10 years of basic education, leading to a Junior Certificate. Approximately half of the school population attends a two additional years of secondary schooling leading to the Botswana General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE).
Secondary education in Botswana is neither free nor compulsory. After leaving school, students can attend one of the seven technical colleges in the country or take vocational training courses in teaching or nursing. Students enter the University of Botswana, Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Botswana International University of Science and Technology, and the Botswana Accountancy College. Many other students attend the numerous private tertiary education colleges around the country.
Notable amongst these is Botho University, the country's first private university which offers undergraduate programs in accounting, business, and computing. Another international university is the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology which offers various associate degrees in creative arts. Other tertiary institutions include Ba Isago, ABM University College the largest school of business and management, New Era, Gaborone Institute of Professional Studies, Gaborone, and the University College of Law and Professional Studies.
Tremendous strides in providing quality education have been made by private education providers such that a large number of the best students in the country are now applying to them as well. A vast majority of these students are government sponsored. The nation's second international university, the Botswana International University of Science and Technology, was completed in Palapye in 2011.
The quantitative gains have not always been matched by qualitative ones. Primary schools in particular still lack resources, and the teachers are less well paid than their secondary school colleagues. The Botswana Ministry of Education is working to establish libraries in primary schools in partnership with the African Library Project.
The government of Botswana hopes that by investing a large part of national income in education, the country will become less dependent on diamonds for its economic survival, and less dependent on expatriates for its skilled workers. These objectives are in part pursued through policies in favor of vocational education, gathered within the National Policy on Vocational Education and Training (NPVET), a program with a goal to integrate different types of vocational education and training into one comprehensive system. Botswana invests 21 percent of its government spending in education.
In January 2006, Botswana announced the reintroduction of school fees after two decades of free education, although the government still provides full scholarships with living expenses to any Botswana citizen at the University of Botswana or any university. If a student wishes to pursue an education in any field not offered locally, such as medicine, they are provided a full scholarship to study abroad.
Science and technology
Botswana is planning to use science and technology to diversify its economy and thereby reduce its dependence on diamond mining. To this end, the government has set up six hubs since 2008, in the agriculture, diamonds, innovation, transport, health and education sectors.
In 2011, Botswana's Department of Agricultural Research (DAR) unveiled Musi cattle, designed to ultimately optimize the overall efficiency for beef production under Botswana conditions.
Botswana launched its own 3-year program to build & launch a Micro Satellite (CubeSat) Botswana Satellite Technology (Sat-1 Project) in Gaborone on Dec.18, 2020. The development of the satellite will be led by Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) with technical support from University of Oulu in Finland and Loon, a giant leap forward in the realization of Botswana's ambition to become a technologically driven economy. The satellite, which will be used for earth observation, will generate data for smart farming and real-time virtual tourism. Further, it will help Botswana predict and forecast harvest time through the use of robotics and automated technology.
In the IT sector, in 2016 a firm, Almaz, opened a first-of-its-kind computer assembly company. Ditec, a Botswana company, also customizes, designs and manufactures mobile phones. Ditec is one of the leading experts in design, development, and customization of Microsoft powered devices.
Infrastructure, energy, and power
Botswana has 603 miles of railway lines. Botswana Railways is the national railway company, which forms a crucial link in the Southern African regional railway system. Botswana Railways offers rail-based transport facilities for moving a range of commodities for the mining sector and primary industries, as well as passenger-train services and dry ports. The nation boasts 11,484 miles of paved roads, almost entirely constructed since independence in 1966. Botswana heralds 92 airports, 12 of which have paved runways. The national carrier is Air Botswana, which flies domestically and to other countries in Africa.
In terms of power infrastructure in Botswana, the country produces coal for electricity and oil is imported into the country. Recently, the country has taken a large interest in renewable energy sources and has completed a comprehensive strategy that will attract investors in the wind, solar, and biomass renewable energy industries. Botswana's power stations include Morupule B Power Station (600 MW), Morupule A Power Station (132 MW), Orapa Power Station (90 MW), Phakalane Power Station (1.3 MW) and Mmamabula Power Station (300 MW), which is expected to be online in the near future.
A 200 MW solar-power plant is at the planning and design stage by the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security. Energy in Botswana is a growing industry with tremendous potential. The nation has significant reserves of coal estimated at more than 200 billion tons. Petroleum reserves have not been tapped to a significant degree and thus all petroleum products are imported refined, largely from South Africa.
Literature, cinema, music
Besides referring to the language of the dominant people groups in Botswana, Setswana is the adjective used to describe the rich cultural traditions of the Batswana—whether construed as members of the Tswana ethnic groups or of all citizens of Botswana. In Botswana, most of the ethnic groups have different ways to greet one another, but for easy communication and connection, the Batswana use a three-way hand shake or just greet one another by saying "Dumelang" as a way of saying "hello" without physical contact.
In community celebrations like Dikgafela or during marriage ceremonies, Batswana women show excitement and happiness by the use of ululations as part of their culture.
Botswana literature belongs somewhere in the strong African literary writing circles. African literature is known for its consciousness and didactic writing styles. Writing as an art form has existed in Botswana for a long while, from the rock painting era — especially in the Tsodilo Hills, known to be 20,000 years old — to the present day, with the movie production of The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency, based on a series of more than 20 novels set in Botswana.
In recent times and to date Botswana has seen a remarkable appearance of distinguished writers whose genres range from historical and political to witty story-telling. The 1981 comedy, The Gods Must Be Crazy was set in Botswana and became a major international hit; 2000's Disney production Whispers: An Elephant's Tale was filmed in Botswana, starring Hollywood legend Angela Bassett. Later on, during 2009, parts of M. Saravanan's Tamil-language Indian action film Ayan, were recorded in Botswana. The critically acclaimed A United Kingdom, about the real-life love story of Seretse Khama and Ruth Williams, was filmed partly between Botswana and London, and was released internationally in 2016.
Botswana's music is mostly vocal and performed, sometimes without drums depending on the occasion; it also makes heavy use of string instruments. Folk music has instruments such as setinkane (a sort of miniature piano), segankure/segaba (a Botswana version of the Chinese instrument erhu), moropa (meropa -plural) (many varieties of drums), phala (a whistle used mostly during celebrations, which comes in a variety of forms). Botswana cultural musical instruments are not confined only to the strings or drums. The hands are used as musical instruments too, by either clapping them together or against phathisi (goat skin turned inside out wrapped around the calf area, only used by men) to create music and rhythm. For the last few decades, the guitar has been celebrated as a versatile music instrument for Tswana music as it offers a variety in string which the segaba instrument does not have.
There is extensive woody biomass from 3-10t per hectare, equal to 2.4 acres. Recently, the country has taken a large interest in renewable energy sources and has completed a comprehensive strategy that will attract investors in the wind, solar, and biomass renewable energy industries. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) undertook an evaluation of the national energy sector in 2021 and found that Botswana can meet and develop it energy needs using its indigenous solar, wind, and bio-energy resources.
The Botswana Tourism Organization is the country's official tourism group. Primarily, tourists visit Gaborone due to the city having numerous activities for visitors. The Lion Park Resort is Botswana's first permanent amusement park and hosts events such as birthday parties for families. Other destinations in Botswana include the Gaborone Yacht Club and the Kalahari Fishing Club and natural attractions such as the Gaborone Dam and Mokolodi Nature Reserve.
There are golf courses which are maintained by the Botswana Golf Union (BGU). The Phakalane Golf Estate is a multimillion-dollar clubhouse that offers both hotel accommodations and access to golf courses. Museums in Botswana include: Botswana National Museum in Gaborone, Kgosi Bathoen II (Segopotso) Museum in Kanye, Kgosi Sechele I Museum in Molepolole, Khama III Memorial Museum in Serowe, Nhabe Museum in Maun, Phuthadikobo Museum in Mochudi, and Supa Ngwano Museum Center in Francistown.
In the northern part of Botswana, women in the villages of Etsha and Gumare are noted for their skill at crafting baskets from Mokola Palm and local dyes. The baskets are generally woven into three types: large, lidded baskets used for storage, large, open baskets for carrying objects on the head or for winnowing threshed grain, and smaller plates for winnowing pounded grain. The artistry of these baskets is being steadily enhanced through color use and improved designs as they are increasingly produced for international markets.
The oldest paintings from both Botswana and South Africa depict hunting, animal and human figures, and were made by the Khoisan (!Kung San/Bushmen) more than twenty thousand years ago within the Kalahari desert.
The cuisine of Botswana is unique and mostly includes meat as Botswana is a cattle country, the national dish is seswaa, pounded meat made from goat meat or beef, Segwapa dried and cured ranging from beef to game meats. The cut may vary from fillets to strips following the grain of the muscle or flat pieces sliced across the grain.
Botswana's cuisine shares some characteristics with other cuisine of Southern Africa. Examples are: Madila, a popular fermented milk yogurt; Bogobe, pap (maize porridge), Magwinya (fried dough bread) and mopane worms. Bogobe is made by putting sorghum, maize or millet flour into boiling water, stirring into a soft paste, and cooking it slowly. A dish called Ting is made when the sorghum or maize is fermented, adding milk and sugar. Without the milk and sugar, ting is sometimes eaten with meat or vegetables as lunch or dinner.
Another way of making bogobe is to add sour milk and a cooking melon (lerotse). This dish is called tophi by the Kalanga tribe. Many different kinds of beans are grown, including cowpeas, ditloo, and letlhodi.
There are some vegetables that grow in the wild that are available seasonally including thepe and delele (okra). Many fruits are locally available, including marula. Watermelons, believed to have originated in Botswana, are plentiful in season. Another kind of melon, called lerotse or lekatane, is also grown. Wild melon IS found in sandy desert areas which are an important food and water source for the people who live in those areas.
Kgalagadi Breweries Limited produces the national beer, St. Louis Lager, Botswana's first and only proud local beer brand that has also been a part of Botswana's rich history since 1989 and non-alcoholic beverage Keone Mooka Mageu, a traditional fermented porridge.
Football is the most popular sport in Botswana. The nation qualified for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, the national team's highest achievement to date. Other popular sports are cricket, softball, tennis, rugby, handball, badminton, handball, golf, and track and field. Botswana is an associate member of the International Cricket Council.
Botswana won the country's first Olympic medal in 2012 when runner Nijel Amos won silver in the 800 meters. In 2011, Amantle Montsho became world champion in the 400 meters and won Botswana's first athletics medal on the international level. High jumper Kabelo Kgosiemang is a three-time African champion, Isaac Makwala, a world-class sprinter in the 200- and 400-meter sprints, was the gold medalist at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Baboloki Thebe was a silver medalist in the 200 meters at the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics and reached the semi-finals at the 2014 World Junior Championships. On Aug. 7, 2021, Botswana won the bronze medal in the Men's 4x400 meter relay at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
Botswana became a member of The International Badminton Federation and Africa Badminton Federation in 1991. The Botswana Golf Union offers an amateur golf league in which golfers compete in tournaments and championships.
The card game bridge has a strong following; it was first played in Botswana over 30 years ago, and it grew in popularity during the 1980s. Many British expatriate school teachers informally taught the game in Botswana's secondary schools. The Botswana Bridge Federation (BBF) was founded in 1988 and continues to organize tournaments. Bridge has remained popular and the BBF has over 800 members.