Botswana Day is a two-day celebration that begins on September 30 each year. It is Botswana’s National Day, marking independence from the United Kingdom in 1966.
|2020||30 Sep||Wed||Botswana Day|
|1 Oct||Thu||Botswana Day Holiday|
|2021||30 Sep||Thu||Botswana Day|
|1 Oct||Fri||Botswana Day Holiday|
History of Botswana Day
In 1885, at the request of Batswana leaders Khama III, Bathoen and Sebele, the British government put the northern part of Botswana, known as Bechuanaland, under its protection. At the time, Tswana inhabitants were being attacked by advancing Dutch Boer settlers as well as tribes in the northeast. In 1910, when the Union of South Africa was formed, a tribal chief in Botswana believed it was not in the best interest of his people to join the union. Britain retained control of the region and, when apartheid began in 1948, it became impossible for the region to join South Africa. After World War II, which weakened the country, Britain began reducing colonies and, in 1964, the United Nations agreed to self-government in Botswana. The country was declared independent on September 30 1966.
Traditions and Celebrations
As with any holiday that celebrates a nation’s independence, Botswana day is filled with national pride. There is usually a military parade to kick off the celebration. Veterans and current members of the Botswana military often participate in the parade along with dancers and singers who celebrate the day with many of the country’s native dances and songs. After the parade, there are usually speeches by political leaders and other celebrities.
Many of the speeches are focused on the youth of the country, urging them to remain in good health and to work toward creating a more prosperous Botswana. There are often awards given to those who have excelled in art, science and sports.
In small villages, citizens celebrate in traditional meeting places known as dikgotla. They spend the holiday performing dances and music that is indigenous to South Africa. Often, there are art shows and live performances designed to keep the history and culture of Botswana alive. Street parties are common throughout Botswana as the country celebrates its independence. There are also many festivals held throughout the country, offering food and drink that is common in the Botswana culture. Song and dance are an integral part of the Botswana culture, something that is celebrated during the Botswana Day festivities each year.
Botswana Day has been a day of pride for the people of the country, although celebrations have been more subdued over the past few years. There is a push to bring back the large, lavish celebrations that occurred when the country was first celebrating their independence.