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Atlas Botswana

K.A Former Pupils Worldwide

If you are a former pupil of Kilmarnock Academy
and you currently live or work in this country (or have lived in it for a period of time), then e-mail us at kaworldwide@kilmarnockacademy.co.uk with your details. The essential details are: your name; the years you attended Kilmarnock Academy; where in the country you live or work (if you no longer live or work in this country, please state the years you were in residence there).

If you want to - and it does make things a lot more interesting - you can also provide us with a brief account of a favourite place or fond memory or favourite anecdote or local customs or local cuisine (or anything else about this country that you'd like to share with us). You can, if you wish, also include one or two photographs of places you lived in or visited during your stay in this country.

K.A. International - Worldwide Learning Network
If you know of a school in this country (possibly one that your own children have attended) that would be interested in developing links and engaging in joint projects with pupils at K.A., then please e-mail kaworldwide@kilmarnockacademy.co.uk with contact details. You can get more information on this initiative by clicking here.

N. McIlvanney 2005

K.A Former Pupils in Botswana

Name                                                   Years attended K.A.                                   Area, City or Town of Residence

K.A. Pupils' Postcards
If you are a pupil or former pupil of Kilmarnock Academy
and you have visited this country, then e-mail us at postcard@kilmarnockacademy.co.uk with your details. The essential details are: your name; the years you attended Kilmarnock Academy; where in the country you visited.

If you want to - and it does make this page a lot more worthwhile - you can also provide us with a brief account of a favourite place or fond memory or unusual experience or local customs or local cuisine or first impressions or lasting impressions. (You can, if you wish, also include one or two photographs of a place you visited in this country).

N. McIlvanney 2005

K.A Pupils' Postcards from Botswana

Name                                                   Years attended K.A.                                    Area, City or Town Visited

Country (long form)

Republic of Botswana
Total Area
231,804.15 sq mi
600,370.00 sq km
1,576,470 (July 2000 est.) note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS
Estimated Population in 2050
English (official), Setswana
69.8% total, 80.5% male, 59.9% female (1995 est.)
indigenous beliefs 50%, Christian 50%
Life Expectancy
38.63 male, 39.93 female (2000 est.)
Government Type
parliamentary republic
1 pula (P) = 100 thebe
GDP (per capita)
$3,900 (1999 est.)
Labor Force (by occupation)
100,000 public sector; 135,000 private sector, including 14,300 who are employed in various mines in South Africa; most others engaged in cattle raising and subsistence agriculture (1995 est.)
diamonds, copper, nickel, coal, salt, soda ash, potash; livestock processing
sorghum, corn, millet, pulses, groundnuts (peanuts), beans, cowpeas, sunflower seed; livestock
Arable Land
diamonds 72%, vehicles, copper, nickel, meat (1998)
foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, textiles, petroleum products
Natural Resources
diamonds, copper, nickel, salt, soda ash, potash, coal, iron ore, silver
Current Environmental Issues
overgrazing; desertification; limited fresh water resources
Telephones (main lines in use)
78,000 (1998)
Telephones (mobile cellular)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
2 (1999)

The San people (Bushmen) are believed to have inhabited Botswana for at least 30,000 years. They were followed by the pastoral KhoiKhoi (Hottentots) and later by Bantu groups, who migrated from the north-western and eastern regions of Africa sometime during the 1st or 2nd century AD and settled along the Chobe River. Different Bantu groups, including the Tswana, lived relatively amicably in small groupings across the Kalahari until the 18th century. Disputes were solved through fragmentation: the dissatisfied party simply gathered together and tramped off to establish another domain elsewhere.

By 1800, all suitable grazing lands around the fringes of the Kalahari had been settled by pastoralists, and peaceful fragmentation was no longer a feasible solution to disputes. Furthermore, Europeans had arrived in the Cape and were expanding northward, and aggression after the 1818 amalgamation of the Zulu tribes in South Africa made the scattered Tswana villages highly vulnerable. In response, the Tswana regrouped and their society became highly structured. Each Tswana nation was ruled by a hereditary monarch, and the king's subjects lived in centralised towns and satellite villages.

The orderliness and structure of the town-based Batswana society impressed the Christian missionaries, who began to arrive in the early 1800s. None managed to convert great numbers of Batswana, though they did manage to advise the locals, sometimes wrongly, in their dealings with the Europeans who followed. Meanwhile, the Boers began their Great Trek over the Vaal, crossing into Batswana and Zulu territory and attempting to impose white rule on the inhabitants. Many Batswana went into service on Boer farms, but the association was rarely happy and often marred by rebellion and violence. By 1877, animosity had escalated to such a level that the British finally stepped in to annex the Transvaal, thereby launching the first Boer War. The Boers dawdled after the Pretoria Convention of 1881 but moved back into Batswana lands in 1882, prompting the Batswana to again ask for British protection.

The British stepped in but didn't dance to the Batswana tune. Lands south of the Molopo River became the British Crown Colony of Bechuanaland, while the area north became the British Protectorate of Bechuanaland (which is now Botswana). Apart from a few years when it seemed Britain was going to cede control of Bechuanaland to Cecil Rhodes' British South Africa Company, Britain maintained control of Bechuanaland until 1966. Nationalism built during the 1950s and '60s, and as early as 1955 it had become apparent that Britain was preparing to release its grip. Following the Sharpeville Massacre of 1960, the Bechuanaland People's Party was formed with independence as its aim. General elections were held in 1965, and Seretse Khama was elected president. On 30 September 1966 the Republic of Botswana gained independence.

Botswana was economically transformed by the discovery of diamonds near Orapa in 1967. While most of the population remained in the low income bracket, this mineral wealth provided the country with enormous foreign currency reserves, pushing the pula to its position as Africa's strongest currency.

In 1999 the international diamond market slumped, which led to Botswana's first budget deficit in 16 years. However, compared to the rest of the African continent, it still has tremendous wealth and stability. Botswana's government is regarded as pragmatic and pro-western, although there are concerns about the country's increasing military expenditures. Currently, Botswana's biggest problems are unemployment, AIDS, urban drift and a rocketing birthrate, which has begun to slow in recent years due to the spread of HIV and AIDS through the child-bearing age groups.

The country suffered devastating floods in 2000 that left 70,000 people homeless, while droughts in recent years have caused considerable suffering, especially in the western part of the country. Despite these challenges, Botswana remains a peaceful nation.