40th Anniversary
A wedding
Seasons 1:  Autumn to winter
Our experiences of Botswana included the excitement of the country's 40th anniversary of independence after 81 years as a British Protectorate and the wedding of friend and Alan's colleague, Pona.  We also watched in amazement as the landscape was dramatically transformed as the Seasons changed.

The photos below, together with the rock art of Tsodilo Hills, are some of the few tangible signs of Botswana's history.
Botswana's flag was introduced at Independence in 1966.  It represents the sky above and rain water - pula - below, with the black and the white people of Botswana in the centre.  The strong portrayal of black and white people together was a deliberate reflection of the country's willingness at Independence to
These three photos are of Mochudi, 40km north-east of Gaborone, the 'capital village' of the Bakgatla (the Kgatla people).  The view shows part of this large village from the top of its main hill, which is also the home of the Phuthadikobo Museum.  The museum, RIGHT, was originally the Bakgatla National School.  As the British built only one school, in Gaborone, during the 81 years of the Protectorate, some tribes followed the example of the missionary schools and built their own.  The school was built by the Kgatla people between 1921 and 1923 and was the first major school in the country.  For 50 years it was one of Botswana's foremost schools, despite a lack of financial support from the Protectorate.  The school was converted into a museum about Mochudi and Kgatla history and culture in 1976.

BELOW:  The Mochudi
kgotla, which is a village meeting place and customary court.  Behind the stone wall in the background is also the cattle kraal.  As cattle were and are the wealth of the people and the dikgosi (chiefs; singular, kgosi) the cattle kraal was also where the kgosi would hold secret meetings with his advisors and, ultimately, be buried. 

Botswana has a dual legal system, Customary Law and Common Law.  Around 90% of legal cases in Botswana are heard under the Customary Law system under which the
kgosi makes the decision after hearing from every party to the dispute and anyone else who has something to say on the matter.
o tswana
Seasons 2: Spring to summer
LEFT: Butua State stone wall on Kubu Island in the Makgadikgadi Pans, dating from the fifteenth century when this Zimbabwean dynasty controlled trade in northern Botswana.
ABOVE:  Monument to the three dikgosi (chiefs) who travelled to Britain in 1895 to persuade the British Government not to hand Bechuanaland Protectorate over to Cecil Rhodes.
A monument to the first President of Botswana, Sir Seretse Khama, stands in front of the modest but very attractive Parliament House.
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accept white people as Batswana - the people of Botswana, despite the ongoing difficulties the new country had been having with the apartheid laws of its neighbour. 

Pula means 'rain' and 'blessings', hence it also became the name for the country's currency.
Experiences of Botswana
Drivers are always warned to drive very carefully, especially after dark - thanks to all sorts of animals on the road, but particularly cows, goats and, worst of all, donkeys which are stubborn as, well, donkeys.
Also below are some photos of one of the 'capital villages' of Botswana, Mochudi - also the location of Pona's wedding.  Botswana has about 1.75 million people.  Of this number, 200,000 live in Gaborone, while Francistown is the only other city in the country.  Otherwise, everyone is said to live in a village, or a rural area.  Some of these villages are quite large and are the capitals of major tribes, as is the case with Mochudi, below.  More views of villages are shown on villages.  Villages are typically very spread out, with houses - often the traditional rondavels - stretched along several kilometres.