Seretse Khama Centenary: A profile of our first president

Iconic: Former President Seretse Khama
Iconic: Former President Seretse Khama

Although muted by COVID-19 restrictions, the centenary of the birth of our first president, Sir Seretse Goitsebeng Maphiri Khama, was marked by events in Serowe, Gaborone and elsewhere. Four decades after his passing, we still stand in the shadow of his remarkable legacy. We continue to reflect on the fact that, following 81 years of economic underdevelopment and relative imperial neglect, the Botswana that Seretse was elected to lead to renewed independence was an impoverished and internationally obscure state. By the time of his passing, however, it had already become a staunchly democratic and increasingly prosperous nation that was playing a leading role in regional affairs.

Seretse Khama was born on July 1, 1921 at Serowe in what was then the Bangwato Tribal Reserve of the Bechuanaland Protectorate. He was the son and heir of Sekgoma Khama and Tebogo (nee Kebailele). In 1923, his father succeeded his grandfather as the Kgosi of the Bangwato. His reign, as Kgosi Sekgoma II was, however, short as he died in 1925. With the death of his mother in 1930, Seretse remained in the care of his uncle Tshekedi Khama, who ruled the Bangwato as his regent.

Seretse received his higher primary and secondary education in South Africa, at two prominent mission schools, Lovedale and Tiger Kloof, before earning a Bachelor of Arts degree at Fort Hare College. Thereafter, he studied law at the University of Witwatersrand and Balliol College, Oxford, before taking up further Barrister Studies at Inner Temple in London.

Editor's Comment
Keep your mask close

Wearing of masks behind closed doors has been mandatory following the government’s August decision that the public was freed from masking in outdoor spaces.According to a press statement from the ministry, all other remaining COVID-19 protocols such as social distancing in schools and requirements for vaccination or PCR tests at ports of entry have also been relaxed.Statistics still show that hundreds still die daily due to the pandemic around...

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