Botswana celebrates the centenary of its founding president

Seretse Khama. Photo on Pinterest

The Batswana (citizens of Botswana) were glued to their televisions on Thursday morning as they followed the debates to mark the 100th birthday of Seretse Khama, the first president of Botswana.

Thousands of people reportedly loved making their way to the country’s capital, Gaborone, where the main event was being held, but were unable to do so due to COVID-19 restrictions imposed to contain the increase in pandemic cases.

“My wish was to go to Gaborone and participate in the celebrations, but COVID-19 prevented me from watching the debates on television,” said Mothusi Onneile, 35, from Francistown, the second largest city in the country. Botswana and some 430 km to the northeast. from Gaborone.

Onneile said he wanted to make the trip to see elaborate flower arrangements at the statue of the late president at the front of the country’s parliament buildings and a candle-lighting ceremony in his honor.

Khama, who was born on July 1, 1921 in the village of Serowe, some 370 km in north-central Botswana, has been described by many as an “extraordinary man of great spirit who wanted to charter uncharted territory”.

“Today we celebrate the centenary of a remarkable and exceptional man who was also the founding father and the first president of Botswana – Sir Seretse Khama,” President Mokgweetsi Masisi said in Gaborone in his speech on the commemoration of the centenary of Khama.

While describing Khama as an embodiment of democracy, unity, non-racism and development, Masisi said Khama remains one of Africa’s greatest icons, a full-fledged Pan-Africanist and a man. of his world who took concrete steps to actualize the ideals he professed. .

Festus Mogae, the former president of Botswana, also spoke at the rally for Khama’s centenary celebrations in Gaborone.

Botswana gained independence in 1966 after being a British protectorate. Final element

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