'Botswana: Love, lions and democracy' talk
Botswana is the 'Switzerland of southern Africa': a stable, democratic country that has avoided the tragedies and upheavals of its neighbours. In this talk I shares insights gained from my first visit to the country, living for three months in the bush as a leader on a youth expedition. Close encounters with elephants (dangerously so), lions, cheetahs, giraffes, wildebeest, praying mantis, and chameleons are woven into the story of this endearing country. The struggle for survival in the harsh Kalahari is contrasted with the lushness of the Okavango Delta. But paradise is threatened and I will explain the challenges Botswana faces and the lessons to be learnt.
I will also tell the story of Sir Seretse Khama, the first president of Botswana when it gained independence in 1966. He was a true statesman, and much of Botswana's stability and welcoming character is due to him. But he was nearly prevented from leading his country by the British government who exiled him for marrying a white woman, Ruth Williams, who he met while studying law at Oxford. She became the first white first lady of an independent African state and was the patron of the expedition.
I have subsequently returned to Botswana, travelling solo and staying with its diverse peoples, to learn more about this fascinating country: its everyday life, its health, political and social challenges.
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