Ambassador Manyepedza Lesetedi Image Credit: Supplied

What is unique about Botswana?

Botswana is among the top ten travel destinations in Africa and offers an array of opportunities for a safari holiday. It is also the home of the Okavango Delta, an inland delta ecosystem which was proclaimed the 1,000th site by Unesco’s World Heritage Committee in June, 2014, at its meeting held in Doha, Qatar. It is approximately 22,000 square kilometres. It is host to a wide variety of plant and animal species.

Botswana is home to the largest elephant population in Africa, estimated at more than 200,000, and the country employs a very robust conservation and anti-poaching policy.

What makes you proud to be Motswana?

One of the distinguishing features of Botswana is that it is one of the few African countries that have enjoyed uninterrupted peace and stability since gaining independence, in September, 1966. Democracy is part of our culture and is deep-rooted as reflected in our governance both at the local and national governance levels.

Botswana is also a leading producer of gem diamonds by value. Through prudent financial management and visionary planning, the government has ploughed the resources derived from diamonds into economic development, particularly in the areas of infrastructure development, education and health.

What is the Motswana cultural identity?

Batswana can be identified by their language, which is Setswana. Although there are other languages that are spoken in Botswana, Setswana and English are the official languages.

Batswana can be also identified through their traditional music and dance such as phathisi, borankana, iperu and ndazula, etc.

What is your hometown like?

My hometown, Mogoditshane, is peri-urban. Although it is by our standards a village, it has over the last few years taken on the character of a town because of its proximity to the capital city, Gaborone. Most of the residents enjoy the same amenities as in the capital, such as running water, electricity, tarred roads, mobile phone network, internet, etc.

Which stereotypes about Batswana are true/not true?

Batswana are generally very polite and welcoming to guests. This much is true. If a guest is visiting them, they may want to slaughter a chicken or even a goat for him/her. This traditional hospitality seems to be waning with the younger generation, probably because they are not very much involved in agriculture. They will most likely take out the guest to a restaurant or cook a special meal at home to welcome the guest.

What’s your favourite food of Botswana?

My favourite Botswana food is seswaa and phaleche (maize meal). Seswaa is boiled meat (beef, goat or lamb) seasoned with only salt. It is then pounded to make it soft. It is very delicious — you will ask for a second helping.

Phaleche is a popular dish in the whole of Southern Africa and even some Eastern African countries like Kenya. It is called by various names — pap in South Africa, upswa in Mozambique, sadza in Zimbabwe and ugali in Kenya.