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Certain groups in the past were treated as serfs or subordinates by Tswana, such as the Sarwa, Kgalagadi, Yei, and Kalanga, and the latter two have been particularly active in the 1990s to secure official recognition for minority "tribes," and in ethnic revivalism.
By contrast, modern architecture uses purchased materials (cement and bricks and roofing products) and involves the labor of specialized and commercial craftsmen, is square, and features rooms for specialized activities (bedrooms, kitchens).Prior to independence, the British administered the Protectorate from Mafiking in South Africa.The capital city today, Gaborone, was built on a village site in the southeastern corner of the country at independence, near the borders of several of the Tswana polities that dominated the country. Botswana's population has grown from 600,000 people in 1971 to an estimated 1,600,000 in 2000.Herders and agriculturalists from a Bantu tradition appeared more than two-thousand years ago.Tswana polities under Tswana chiefs moved into Botswana from the south and east in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, some responding to the rise of the Zulu state and European encroachments.The Okavango Delta, in the north, is a large inland delta, and people there fish and farm on its flooded banks; tourists are drawn to the large numbers of wildlife that congregate in the area.
The eastern third of the country, with more rainfall and fertile soils, is home to most of the population.
The double meaning has also permitted the fiction, widely accepted in outside reporting, that Botswana's success as a multiparty liberal democracy is based on an ethnically homogeneous population, when abundant state resources based upon diamond mining, responsibly and equitably distributed, are the more likely source of stability. Bordering on South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Zambia, it is 224,607 square miles (581,730 square kilometers) in area, about the same size as France.
This fiction may indeed have supported the building of an officially nonethnic, state-oriented society, but has come under sharp challenge in the 1990s, as minority groups request the privileges of official recognition. Two-thirds of the country is comprised of the Kalahari Desert, which is covered with grasses and scrub but has scarce surface water.
Missionization of Tswana began in 1816, and throughout the nineteenth century Tswana polities were drawn into trade, Christianity, and the migrant labor economy centered in South Africa, while defending themselves against incursions from the north, east, and south.
In 1885 the British declared the area the Bechuanaland Protectorate, and in a famous visit to Britain in 1895, three of the Tswana kings petitioned to remain under the British instead of being governed by the British South Africa Company.
The traditional Tswana residential area is a compound, often housing several closely related family groups.