Sir Sereste Goitsebeng Maphiri Khama was the founding father of Bechuana land present day Botswana. Khama originated from a royal family and his love life was controversial as he had married a white lady, but all in all he defeated all the odds and in the year 1966, he led Botswana in attaining their independence from the British, and at the helm, he laid successful ideologies that saw Botswana become the fastest growing economy in the world.
Sir Sereste was born in 1921 into a royal family. He did his early education in South Africa then later travelled to the United Kingdom for further studies. Khama breached the gap between his countrymen in Botswana and the British after he married a white lady by the name Ruth Williams. Their marriage sparked rage back in Bechuana land because he decided to marry a foreigner instead of one of their own. From UK, Khama went back to Botswana with his wife and immediately joined local politics that saw him become a leader of a local party called the Bechuana Land Democratic Party (BDP). This party got support from both progressive and conservative circles and so in 1965 BDP won the elections and Sereste Khama became the first prime minister of Bechuana land. In 1966, Botswana attained its independence and it changed from Bechuana to the present day Botswana as Sir Sereste became the President.
Sir Sereste’s first day in office was not rosy at all as Botswana was among the poorest countries in the world, with only 23 university graduates, and at least 100 secondary school leavers and so the vast majority of its people were illiterate. Botswana had no formal economy and so the citizens depended on cattle farming and subsistence farming as their only source of income. Botswana had only 12kms of paved roads. However, Sereste was born into the Botswana way of life and so he knew the problems that his people faced and how to go about them. And so he prescribed economic solutions that saw Botswana become one of the not only stable, but fastest growing economies worldwide. Sereste instituted strong measures against corruption that successfully worked in Botswana as other African countries are still battling it. And so to encourage growth, Sereste adopted pro- market policies on a wide front like the taxes were extremely low, he encouraged foreign investment in Botswana, and most importantly fostering National Unity which of course supersedes any kind of ideology for peace encourages business, and booming of business directly means growth of the economy, what a brilliant mind. Sereste was aware that his people were still illiterate and so he employed brilliant British mind to work as civil servants as his people started to go to school and after completing their studies, they would then replace the whites in higher offices and steer further development. The discovery of Diamond in Botswana played a major role in the growth of their economy for as of now, Botswana is the leading producer of Diamond in the world. By 1970, Botswana was already boasting of having a budget surplus.
Courtesy of the revenue raised by their mining industries, Sereste steered building of more learning institutions, infrastructure, and also health care services was largely improved. Botswana is also known for cattle farming as they export huge tones of meat worldwide. Tourism is also a major sector that has proved booming in Botswana. Botswana GDP per capita as of 2020 was recently estimated to be over 18, 500 USD ($) placing it with countries like Mexico and above Brazil, and in the latest conducted corruption perception index, Botswana was ranked the least corrupt in Africa even better than South Korea, Italy, and China. Botswana has enjoyed a good political system for they have never engaged in any form of war.
Sir Sereste Goitsebeng Maphiri Khama is credited for playing a major role in the negotiations that saw the end of Rhodesian bush war and the creation of Independence in Zimbabwe. He also took part in the formation of Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC) which later on changed to South African Development Community (SADC). Khama’s BDP party proved to be very competent and so they won three consecutive elections that is in 1969, 1974, and 1979. After he won his third term in office, Sir Sereste Khama never lived long to see the prosperity of a country he hardly worked for as he succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 1980 having lived for 59 years. His vice, Quett Masire succeeded him as Botswana’s President. Over 50, 000 people turned up for his final send off as he was buried in the country’s capital Gaborone.
Sir Sereste Khama legacy continued as 20 years later after his death, his son Ian Kharma was elected as the 4th President in 2008 and served up to 2018 when he retired. To date, Botswana continues to serve as a beacon of prosperity and development not only in Africa but across the other continents. Sir Sereste Khama is one of the best statesman Africa has ever produced.
Mokgweetsi Masisi is the current Botswana’s President. The country has several ethnic groups but the Tswana are the majority with over 80%. Botswana has a population of over 2 million people.