Botswana celebrates centenary of its founding president

Seretse Khama
Seretse Khama. Photo on Pinterest

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

Thousands of people would have loved to travel to the country’s capital city, Gaborone, where the main event was held but could not do so due to the COVID-19 restrictions imposed to contain the rising cases of the pandemic.

“My wish was to go to Gaborone and join the celebrations but COVID-19 has restricted me to watch the proceedings on television,” said 35-year-old Mothusi Onneile, a resident of Francistown, Botswana’s second largest city and some 430 km northeast of Gaborone.

Onneile said he wanted to make the journey to view elaborate flower displays at the statue of the late president at the front of the country’s parliament buildings and candle lighting ceremony in honor of him.

Khama, who was born on July 1, 1921 at Serowe village, situated some 370 km in the north central part of Botswana, has been described by many as an “extraordinary man of great mind who willed to charter unchartered territories.”

“Today, we are celebrating the centenary of a remarkable and outstanding man who was also the founding father and the first President of Botswana — Sir Seretse Khama,” said President Mokgweetsi Masisi in Gaborone in his address 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 Pan Africanist in his own right and a man of his world who took concrete steps to actualize the ideals he professed.

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

Botswana gained independence in 1966 from being a British protectorate. Enditem

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