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(April 10th, 2024)

GABORONE. Too many elephants, so Botswana wants to get rid of them, encouraging hunting, but voices are being raised from abroad against the line chosen by the government.

The harshest criticism comes from Germany, the main importer of ivory tusks:

Berlin asks Gaborone to stop the slaughter, fearing that poachers will invade the southern African country.

President Mogweetsi Masisi, interviewed by Bild Zeitung, however, reacts badly, threatening to send 20,000 elephants to Berlin to make the Germans understand how to live alongside these large animals.

While his Minister for Wildlife says that he will send 10,000 specimens to Hyde Park to give the English the same taste experienced by the Botswanans.



According to Gaborone, there are 130,000 elephants in Botswana: their herds devastate crops, destroy homes, drink water from pipes and run over people, killing them.

This is why last year it offered 8,000 units to Angola and 500 to Mozambique, but obviously it’s not enough.

On the other hand, the elephant is also a source of income: since 2019, Botswana has been offering quotas of animals that can be hunted at auction.
Thus, several groups of Europeans descend on the country every year to go on safaris which earn money for both foreign and local tour operators.

The government, on the one hand is under pressure from local communities, who demand a rapid reduction in the number of pachyderms, on the other it fears that the more restrictive rules that the European Union would like to adopt against the importation of hunting trophies will damage the tourism economy.



Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, 63, is the fifth President of Botswana: the son of a former parliamentarian, after an academic career and having worked as a UNICEF official, he entered politics, joining the Democratic Party, the dominant party in the country.

In 2009, he was elected to the Chamber and subsequently appointed Minister for Education.

In 2014, he became vice president of the republic and on 1 April 2018 he was sworn in as first citizen.

In July 2023, he concluded an agreement with De Beers to share the profits that the South African multinational derives from the extraction and processing of diamonds, a raw material of which Botswana is a large producer.




The Republic of Botswana, located in Southern Africa, is one of a few countries on the continent landlocked: it borders South Africa to the south and south west, Namibia to the west and north, Zimbabwe to the north east. The Kazungula Bridge connects the country with Zambia.



The country, large and sparsely populated, is divided into three large regions:

• in the center and towards the south-west is the Kalahari plain, a desert steppe which allows grazing only in certain periods of the year and occupies 60% of the national surface area;• in the north-west lies the marshy valley of the Okavango River, with a tropical climate, where there would be the possibility of agricultural development;

• 80% of the population lives in the eastern area, crossed by the railway, which, traditionally dedicated to sheep farming, has experienced a certain well-being thanks to the careful use of the income obtained from the sale and processing of manganese, copper, nickel and as we said before, diamonds.

The spread of livestock farming is contributing to impoverishing the land, affected among other things by the recurring droughts that grip southern Africa due to climate change, as well as reducing the space for wild animals.



The Botswana’s people lives mainly in the eastern regions of the country and in particular in the capital Gaborone.

90% are of the Tswana ethnic group, there are Khoisan minorities[1] who live poorly in the Kalahari or nearby.

most spoken languages: English and Setswana; most widespread religions: Christianity and traditional cults.



Presidential Republic: the head of state also leads the executive;

plural parliamentary elections are held every five years, but the Democratic Party has been the prevailing political force since independence.




The Tswana have populated the lands we are dealing with since the 16th century.

Between the 18th and the following century this area was at the center of many interests:

• the Portuguese, who own Angola and Mozambique, dream of uniting the two territories, so they try to invade it to push towards Zimbabwe;

• the Boers, Dutch farmers who have lived in southern Africa since 1652, to escape the advance of the English who landed at the Cape of Good Hope (1815), with the Grand Track tried to steal lands and pastures from other native peoples;

• the Zulus, deprived of their spaces by Boer expansionism, attack the Tswana.



In 1894, the three main Tswana leaders went to London to ask for support in their fight against the Boers and the country was converted into a protectorate.

London’s protection effectively blocks South Africa’s annexation attempts, but the Afrikaners penetrate the country’s economic fabric
For this reason, the first nationalistic movements set the objective of the end of both dominations.



The struggle for independence was led by Seretse Khama (1921 – 1980):

A descendant of the Bamangwato royal family, he was king at four years of age, under the regency of his uncle Tshekedi.

Educated in South Africa and at Oxford, where he studied law, he met Ruth Williams who in ’48 became his wife.

Their marriage causes a scandal because it is the union of a black man with a white woman: the British and Tswana tribal leaders therefore try to block the wedding,but Khama rejects all attempts to do so and also refuses offers of money.

However, London forced the future leader into exile until 1956, when he renounced being a tribal chief: having returned to his homeland as a private citizen, he soon became a prominent political leader.

In 1962, he founded the moderate and multiracial Democratic Party (BDP) which won the first free elections three years later.

As prime minister, he tactfully led the negotiations for independence from London: on 30 September 1966 the republic was proclaimed and Khama was its first President.

Queen Elizabeth II awarded him the title of Knight of the Order of the British Empire.

Sir Seretse promotes a multiracial government policy, invests in the education of young people and attempts to diversify the national economy so that it is not too dependent on a single resource. He avoided unnecessarily provoking the hostility of South Africa, then governed by the National Party which had rigidified the policy of Apartheid since 1948.

The first president died of cancer on July 13, 1980.



Subsequent presidents continue in the tradition of good governance inaugurated by Khama and this allows Botswana to be the best placed African country in the Human Development Index (HDI) ranking drawn up annually by the United Nations.

Queet Masire, Khama’s deputy, in office from 1980 to 1998, must implement an agrarian reform as soon as he came to power to reduce the surface area occupied by white farmers in order to compensate the black farmers who claim possession of land both for cultivation and for cattle breeding.

In foreign policy, Gaborone is part of the front line of African countries fighting against the white South African regime and tension in the area decreases significantly when in 1994 Nelson Mandela becomes president of the neighboring country.

Botswana is today the African state with the highest GDP per capita and with the lowest rate of corruption in the political-administrative apparatus.



Alexander McCall Smith made Botswana popular thanks to the series of books dedicated to Mrs Precious Ramotswe, founder of the Ladies’ Detective Agency No. 1 in Gaborone.

Ramotswe, of “traditional build”, is a private investigator who solves intricate cases, but not without drinking many cups of red tea. After an unhappy marriage with a saxophonist, she married Mr JLB Matekoni, a mechanic by profession and adopted two Khoisan children, Puso and Motoleli, the latter paralyzed in her legs.

A great admirer of Sir Seretse Khama and her father Obed, Precious travels the streets of Botswana in her old, beat-up white van.

In her office, in addition to her, there is Grace Makutsi, who acts as her secretary: going forward with the series she too will become a detective and partner of the agency.

Alexander McCall Smith, former professor of pathological anatomy at the University of Edinburgh,was born in Zimbabwe and received important honors in Botswana for illustrating the country in his novels.




[1] The San, once known as Bushmen, are a people who live in the Kalahari (between South Africa, Namibia and Botswana) and who are related to the Khoikhoi, with whom they form the Khoisan group. They do not have a term to indicate their people as a whole: the name “San” was given to them by the Khoikhoi, in whose language san means “foreigner”, “different” (compared to the Khoi). In general, the Bushmen, in fact, prefer to be called “bushmen” (boesman in Afrikaans, bushmen in English), although this denomination appears offensive to many Westerners (it literally means “men of the bush”).

Archaeological evidence suggests that the San have inhabited southern Africa for at least 22,000 years.

They are mainly hunter-gatherers known for having developed a particular system of manual communication during hunting and for hunting using arrows poisoned with the sap of Euphorbia damarana. A custom that earned them the nickname “scorpion men”. In modern South Africa, the Bushmen have been largely absorbed (almost to the point of total extinction) into the colored or griqua group (who in turn originated from the union of Boers with Khoisan women).
Since 2002, Botswana Bushmen have been demanding legal action to stop the Gaborone authorities from removing them from the Central Kalahari game reserve, the land of their ancestors. The Bushmen claim that the Botswana government is attempting to destroy their culture through forced settlement and persecution of their cultural identity.

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