Botswana Day, September 30, commemorates Botswana’s independence from the British on 30 September 1966. The Republic of Botswana is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. Formerly a British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its new name after becoming independent within the Commonwealth on 30 September 1966.
The earliest inhabitants of the region were the San, who were followed by the Tswana. About half the country today is ethnic Tswana. The term for the country’s people, Batswana, refers to national rather than ethnic origin. Encroachment by the Zulu in the 1820s and by Boers from Transvaal in the 1870s and 1880s threatened the peace of the region.
In 1885, Britain established the area as a protectorate, then known as Bechuanaland. When the Union of South Africa was formed in 1910 out of the main British colonies in the region, the Bechuanaland Protectorate, Basutoland (now Lesotho) and Swaziland (the “High Commission Territories”) were not included, but provision was made for their later incorporation. An expansion of British central authority and the evolution of tribal government resulted in the 1920 establishment of two advisory councils to represent both Africans and Europeans.
Proclamations in 1934 regularized tribal rule and powers. A European-African advisory council was formed in 1951, and the 1961 constitution established a consultative legislative council. In June 1964, Britain accepted proposals for a democratic self-government in Botswana. Self-government began in 1965, and on Sept. 30, 1966, the country became independent.
The Diplomatic Informer Magazine SA wishes the Government and the People of Botswana a Happy Independence Day.