Batswana celebrate 57 years of growth

28 Sep 2023

Botswana celebrates its 57th anniversary of Independence tomorrow.

It is undeniable that the journey has been challenging, but the progress is also undeniable.

BOPA Reporter Bakang Wren takes us down memory lane, AKA Botswana of the 60s, 70s and 80s, reminding us of the significant milestones that have shaped the nation since attaining Independence from the British in 1966.

DID YOU KNOW? 1966 - Independence: After 80 years as a British Protectorate, Bechuanaland achieved self-governance in 1965 and finally gained its Independence on September 30, 1966.

Sir Seretse Khama, who was then the President of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), was elected the first President of Botswana and served until his death in 1980.

The ruling BDP has been in power since the first democratic elections and the fifth President, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi currently holds office.

1967 diamond discovery: Botswana’s diamond story dates back to 1967 when the first diamond pipe was discovered at Orapa.

Later other pipes were discovered in Letlhakane and Jwaneng, with the latter yielding the richest in value the world over.

It was through the nation’s founding fathers’ visionary leadership, which saw Botswana becoming the world’s largest producer of diamonds thus making her one of the richest countries in Africa and over the years, diamonds have made a difference in Batswana’s lives.

Looking back: In July 2023, President Dr Masisi said the new diamond sales and mining licence agreement between the government and De Beers had made sure that the two would establish a Diamond Development Fund in Botswana with an annual investment of P1 billion for the 10-year period. President Dr Masisi said the fund was intended to diversify the country’s economy by developing the local diamond industry.

1967 FTTC increases number of teachers: The opening of the Francistown Teachers’ Training College was a major step in the promotion of education as more teachers were trained.

The Swedish government largely contributed towards the new TTC by financing the buildings’ main equipment.

Looking back, President Dr Masisi has assured everyone that government will do its best to ensure that every child in Botswana is equipped with the necessary skills to compete with the best in the world and has ensured that teachers are well prepared for the global competition.

1970 Dr Masire honoured: Vice President (VP), Sir Ketumile Masire was presented with a Chinese Symbol of Friendship, The Special Grand Cordon of the Order of Brilliant Star.

This was the second time that he was honoured by the Chinese government as in 1968 he was presented with an Emblem of CMC. Sir Ketumile became the third President of Botswana in 1980.

He died at the age of 91 in 2017 and will always be remembered for transforming Botswana from being destitute country into the envy of other African nations.

1971 David Magang: David Magang became the first Motswana to be admitted to practice as an attorney in Botswana. Magang aged 32, graduated with a Bachelor of Law Degree in London.

Ever since then the justice system in Botswana has grown with many lawyers produced locally and internationally.

1972 Botswana making strides: This year went down as one of the most memorable in the long history of Botswana.

Dr Ketumile Masire who was the VP then introduced the first independent budget of Botswana.

The recurrent budget expenditure for the financial year 1972/73 did not require any British budgetary aid.

Now every year in February the government outlines financial plans to Batswana through a Budget Speech.

1979 Bangwato’s new Kgosi Kgolo installed: This is the year that former President Seretse Khama Ian Khama was installed as Kgosi Kgolo of Bangwato.

In 2008 he became the President of Botswana and served for 10 years before handing over the baton to the current President Dr Masisi.

1980 Death of Sir Seretse Khama: The first President of Botswana Sir Seretse Khama died in July, 1980 following his battle with pancreatic cancer. 1981 Sir Ketumile, the second President: Sir Ketumile took over the baton to become the second President following the death of Sir Seretse Khama.

The former journalist led Botswana for 18 years during which time the country became one of the richest in Africa.

Sir Ketumile voluntarily retired from office in 1998 at the age of 72 and was succeeded by his VP and former Finance Minister, Mr Festus Mogae.

1987 Britain rescues Botswana: The British government donated about P648 000 to Botswana to answer Botswana’s call for international assistance after the President declared the country drought stricken for the sixth year.

Fast forward to 2023, under the Leadership of President Dr Masisi, Botswana is one of the most developed countries in the world. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Bakang Wren

Location : GABORONE

Event : Botswana celebrates

Date : 28 Sep 2023