Sir Seretse Khama Day is annually observed on July 1 in Botswana. It is a public holiday that commemorates the first President of Botswana on the anniversary of his birth date in 1921. Seretse Khama was the heir and grandson of King Khama III, who died in 1923. He officially became king when he was only four years old, but his uncle ruled as regent at first. Khama also studied abroad, married a British woman, and returned home to start and lead an independence movement in Botswana.
History of Sir Seretse Khama Day
Seretse Khama was born at Serowe, the Protectorate of Bechuanaland. He was the heir of the Bangwato family, which were hereditary rulers of the Protectorate. In 1925, Khama was crowned king at the age of four, so his uncle acted as his regent. He would later travel to study abroad and train as a barrister in London. After the Second World War, he met and married Ruth Williams, a white English commoner.
The marriage caused great difficulties for him at home, and he was exiled in 1951. In 1956, Kahama returned to Bechuanaland as a private citizen, free to enter politics. He formed the Bechuanaland Democratic Party, won the elections, and led the way to independence, becoming his country’s first President until he died at the age of 59 in 1980. He is considered one of the great successes of this era of African politics as he fostered a multiracial democratic society.
Under his policies, Botswana’s economy greatly improved. When he first became president, Botswana was one of the poorest countries in the world, but he helped it become one of the fastest-growing of all economies. One of the key components of his policies was low and predictable tax rates. He also invested tax revenue in healthcare, education, and transportation in Botswana. His son, Ian Khama, became Botswana’s fourth president in 2008, serving for two terms.
Sir Seretse Khama Day timeline
He is born on July 1, at Serowe, the Protectorate of Bechuanaland (now Botswana).
Seretse’s grandfather passes away at 88.
At the age of four, he becomes king with his uncle acting as regent.
He dies at the age of 59.
Sir Seretse Khama Day FAQs
What was the name of Botswana?
It was once called Bechuanaland Protectorate.
How did Botswana become rich?
Botswana’s economy is mostly dependent on diamond mining. This contributes 50% of the government revenue.
Does Sir Seretse Khama Day change?
No, it does not. It is celebrated on July 1 annually.
How to Observe Sir Seretse Khama Day
Attend a festivity in Botswana
If you can travel to Botswana, that would be perfect. The holiday is celebrated with the gathering of musical and religious groups, speeches, and ceremonies in the nation’s capital, Gaborone.
Learn Botswana's traditional dances
There is a wide range of Botswana dance styles and routines. The common ones being borankana, phathisi, setapa, tsutsube, andazola, Kalanga hosana, chesa, huru, mokomoto, selete, and the most popular San or Basarwa Dance.
Share a post online
Share a post to inform friends and followers about the life of Seretse and how important he was to Botswana. It is an opportunity to show off your writing skills and knowledge of the world.
5 Facts You Didn’t Know About Botswana
Africa’s highest concentration of elephants
If you want to see elephants in the wild, Botswana is definitely the best place to go.
70% of Botswana is desert
The semi-arid sandy savanna of the Kalahari Desert occupies over 70% of the country.
Meerkats in the wild
Botswana is also a perfect place to see meerkats in the wild.
One of seven natural wonders of Africa
It is called the Okavango Delta, a massive inland delta located in the Kalahari Desert, Botswana.
Botswana is a big diamond producer
It is the world's second-largest producer of diamonds.
Why Sir Seretse Khama Day is Important
We remember Khama’s contributions to his nation
Seretse Khama is one of the most important people in Botswana’s history. He contributed to the liberation of Botswana as a nation.
A day to enjoy traditional dances
Botswana traditional dance stands heads and shoulders above most African dances. It is unique, rhythmic, and expressive. Sometimes, it is used for healing and storytelling.
We remember the importance of democracy
Living in a democratic country is so important, and we mustn’t take this fact for granted. We tend to forget that there were people who fought for this independence in many countries.
Sir Seretse Khama Day dates