On this day in 1953 the 4th President of Botswana, Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama was born in Surrey, England as the second of four siblings. Khama is said to have been born in England due to fact that his parents had been forced into exile due to the opposition by the colonial government and the emergent apartheid regime in South Africa to his marriage to a white woman.

Khama, a qualified pilot, began his primary schooling among his own people in Serowe in 1960.  He thereafter did his secondary education at White Stone School in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and Waterford School in Swaziland. He did further studies in Switzerland and Chichester, England. Khama then embarked on a military career. For his tertiary education he attended the prestigious Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, England. After graduating he enrolled for further training at the Nigerian Police Academy at Ikeja. He also underwent flight training, in Gaborone and thereafter Antwerp, Belgium, in 1974-75.

Read: Celebrating Botswana President’s Day

Khama announced his retirement as Commander of the Botswana Defence Force on 16 December 1997. As a member of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party, he was appointed Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration. He was selected as the new vice president by incoming President Festus Mogae. Khama did not hold a seat in the National Assembly so could not take office immediately, but won a by-election several months later and was sworn in.

President of Botswana visits South Africa, 5 Oct 2010. Photo: GovernmentZA/Flickr

Khama has received a number of honours and awards which include the Presidential Order of Honour, Founder Officer Medal, Duty Code Order and the Distinguished Service Medal. He was awarded the Conservation Award by the African Safari Club of Washington USA in 1991 and the Hotel and Tourism Industry Award in 1996, the Paul Harris Fellow and the Endangered Wildlife Trust Statesman Award in 2001.

Read: Shade alert: Botswana President Ian Khama calls Robert Mugabe too old to lead

President Ian Khama, 64, has never been married, but at a political party meeting in 2010 Khama said his top requirement for a future wife is that she needs to be tall, slim and beautiful.

We say congratulations to President Khama and the people of Botswana!