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Celebrating Botswana President’s Day

We are in Botswana, a landlocked country in southern Africa with a beautiful, arid landscape, defined by the Kalahari Desert and the Okavango Delta. We are celebrating the President’s day with the Tswana people.

Botswana President’s Day is a one-day holiday celebrated on the third Monday of July. Until 2006, it was celebrated on the third Tuesday as well.

Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, an ex-pilot is the current president of Botswana who has been leading the country since 2008. He is popularly known as a great leader and passionate conservationist.

Born on the 27th of  February 1953, President  Ian Khama is the first-born son and second child of Lady Khama and Sir Seretse Khama, the country’s foremost independence leader and former President of Botswana (1966 to 1980.) Prior to becoming the President of Botswana, he served his country as a Commander of the Botswana Defence Force. He then joined politics and served as a member of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) where he was appointed Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration. Thereafter, he was nominated for Vice Presidency by the then President Festus Mogae, a nomination which was subsequently endorsed by Parliament, from 1998 to 2008. He later succeeded Mogae on 01 April 2008. In the 2009 during the country’s elections he was again elected into power and for a second term in October 2014.

President Ian Khama cycling during a BDP campaign in Botswana. Photo: AFP
President Ian Khama cycling during a BDP campaign in Botswana. Photo: AFP

He was born  in Surrey, UK during the period when his father was exiled to the United Kingdom due to opposition by the colonial government and the emergent apartheid regime in South Africa to his marriage to a white woman. President Khama was born second out of four siblings, with an elder sister Jacqueline, and two younger twin brothers, Tshekedi and Anthony.

Interesting facts

  • He is the grandson of Sekgoma II (1869–1925), who was the paramount chief of the Bamangwato people, and the great-grandson of Khama III (1837–1923), their king; and the great-great grandson of Kgosikgolo Sekgoma I, the Chief of the Bamangwato people.
  • The name “Seretse” means “the clay that binds together”
  • The name “Seretse” was also given to his father to celebrate the reconciliation of his father and grandfather, the reconciliation that assured Seretse’s Khama’s own ascension to the throne with his aged father’s death in 1925.
  • In 1960 after their return from exile Ian Seretse Khama began his primary schooling among his own people in Serowe.
  • He did his secondary education at White Stone School in Bulawayo, in what is now Zimbabwe, and Waterford School  Swaziland, Geneva, with further studies Switzerland and Chichester, England.
  • President Ian Khama is an alumnus of Waterford Kamhlaba, a United World College in Mbabane, Swaziland.
  • He attended the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, where the British Army trains its officers.
  • 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.
  • He has since maintained his status as a qualified pilot.
  • He is the fourth President of Botswana.
  • He has received a number of honours and awards including 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
  • Khama also received a Hotel and Tourism Industry Award in 1996,
  • In 2001 he was awarded the Paul Harris Fellow and the Endangered Wildlife Trust Statesman Award.
  • He loves football.

 

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