Botswana History Pages, by Neil Parsons

2:    Comments and Links

To BHP Index  |  To end of page  |  Back to History Home Page  |  Site Index

1: Brief History of Botswana |  2: Comments and Links |  3:Archaeology |  4: Culture |  5: Economy |  6: Education |  7: Geography | 
8: Language |  9: Literature |  10:Politics |  11: Religion |  12: Science |  13: Society |  14: Tourism |  15: Media | 

Comments on History of Botswana

Provisional version by Neil Parsons April 1999

The direct inspiration for these pages was The Botswana Pages, a personal web-site set up by Vishvas Q. Sethi through the Stuart School of Business in Chicago. At the beginning of April 1999 it featured just two links - one to Stockbrokers Botswana and another (including video) to SABC TV News' Channel Africa. If he could do it, so could I, and better.

To be fair to Sethi the site has grown in the last couple of weeks, including some overlap with Africa Informatix's Botswana Online, and promises much more to come - including soccer results.

Sethi's brief history of Botswana is now supplemented by a useful list of events and dates. But the history of Botswana is not well served by other web-sites. Most ignore the history of Botswana, and some are positively misleading.

Chief among misleading web-sites on Botswana history is the Government of Botswana's own 'Gem of Africa: Botswana at a Glance' web-site, constructed by consultants. Its History of Botswana page begins in 1806 (sic) with white hunters, traders and missionaries, and continues with trekking Boers and 'troubles' for the British, zapping through Sir Charles Rey (retired 1937) as administrator to 1955 (sic) and plans for independence. Scarcely a mention of indigenous peoples. An overlapping narrative is taken up by a History of Democracy page. The first paragraph contains three egregious mistakes: Botswana was never 'incorporated into the then British colony of South Africa'; it was never called 'British Bechuanaland'; and Khama III was not even chief in 1870. Nearly every subsequent paragraph of this section on the 'Struggle for Independence' contains a gross historical error.

Similar strange viewpoints and curious inaccuracies are to be found much more briefly on other web-sites, and in most travel books and general reference works that refer to the history of Botswana - the book 'Rough Guide to Zimbabwe and Botswana' being an honorable exception.


What follows here is a list of some general web-site links on Botswana. Other web-site links on aspects of Botswana are included at the bottom of the Botswana History Pages, especially on Botswana History Page 15: Media.

Encyclopaedia Britannica has cut-down versions of its published entries on Botswana. Why not start with its Botswana index page and make links onwards from there. Botswana Online is a new web-site provided by Africa Informatix, up-dated every weekday. But its Botswana yellow-pages are blank and click on its news and you'll find South African news sources only. Its Brief History of Botswana is indeed brief - six lines in total.

There is a brief entry on David Livingstone in the on-line Encarta Encyclopaedia.

The American World Factbook 1998 has a Botswana country listing page with a flag, a crude map (marking Bobonong but not Serowe or Kanye) and a brief listing of of key facts. The note on Ethnicity is plainly ridiculous: 'Batswana 95%, Kalanga, Basarwa, and Kgalagadi 4%, white 1%.' This is obviously a confusion over the term 'Batswana' which refers to all citizens of Botswana, with Setswana as their national language. In fact large minorities speaks Kalanga, Yeyi, Birwa, etc. at home. Radio and television listenership figures as given are also wrong.

The University of Pennsylvania's African Studies WWW Botswana Page provides links to the the U.S. State Department's Travel Advisories, the CIA World Factbook, etc., on Botswana's current government, politics and economics.

In German, but also with useful links in English, is Forschungsprojekte Botswana, constructed by F.Kruger and connected with the German Friends of Botswana Society (last modified 19 April 1999).

The Norwegian Council for Africa's Botswana page has a substantial list of links on Botswana, including Culture, Economy, Human Rights, News, and Tourism--concluding with a site boasting five photographs in and around Gaborone railway station, masquerading as 'Pictures of Gabarone' (misspelt).

Nations of the Commonwealth/Botswana is pretty elementary stuff, a couple of simple maps and a few short paragraphs, a flag and the words of the national anthem (in Setswana with English translation) without musical notation. Apparently constructed for the 1994 Commonwealth Games and aimed at schools.

The Microstate Network-Botswana page at is a barely annotated list of a mere four links.

Canada's African Information Service Net (AIA) files news-stories at AIA Botswana, at present for 1993-96 only.

Perhaps the most impressive single web-site on Botswana is one of the most specialized: Okavango Delta Peoples of Botswana at on the culture and history of Bugawe, Dxeriku, Hambukushu, Wayeyi,and Xanekwe peoples, constructed by John Bock (last modified 9 April 1999).

The University of Botswana web-site has an increasing number of links to scholarly subjects to be found within the pages of Faculties and Departments available under "Academic Programmes". After a long delay it now has a link to the Humanities Faculty site.

The Botswana government web-site, is a guide through a labyrinth of Ministries and myriad Departments.

For a general directory of web-sites in rather than on Botswana, the best link is the Gaborone IBIS server. For South (and thus Southern) Africa try the server which lists some 4000 sites.

For details of the numerous publications of the Botswana Society see the list in this site.

For U.S. high school history projects on British imperialism see the Scramble for Africa page of Pleasant Valley High School, Chico, California, with links to high school projects on "Joseph Chamberlain", "David Livingstone", "Cecil Rhodes", "The Boer War", "Boers", "Zulus", etc.

Colonial Zimbabwe selected bibliography

Back to top

Copyright © 1999 Neil Parsons

The Botswana History Pages by Neil Parsons may be freely reproduced, in print or electronically, on condition
(i) that full acknowledgement of the source is made.
(ii) that the use is not for profit

Last updated 19 August 1999