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Sir Seretse Khama Day – July 1, 2023

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

1921
Seretse Khama is Born

He is born on July 1, at Serowe, the Protectorate of Bechuanaland (now Botswana).

1923
King Khama III Dies

Seretse’s grandfather passes away at 88.

1925
Seretse Khama is Crowned King

At the age of four, he becomes king with his uncle acting as regent.

1980
Seretse Dies

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  1. Africa’s highest concentration of elephants

    If you want to see elephants in the wild, Botswana is definitely the best place to go.

  2. 70% of Botswana is desert

    The semi-arid sandy savanna of the Kalahari Desert occupies over 70% of the country.

  3. Meerkats in the wild

    Botswana is also a perfect place to see meerkats in the wild.

  4. One of seven natural wonders of Africa

    It is called the Okavango Delta, a massive inland delta located in the Kalahari Desert, Botswana.

  5. Botswana is a big diamond producer

    It is the world's second-largest producer of diamonds.

Why Sir Seretse Khama Day is Important

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

YearDateDay
2023July 1Saturday
2024July 1Monday
2025July 1Tuesday
2026July 1Wednesday
2027July 1Thursday
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