A Reflection on Setswana Proverbs in Botswana’s National Psyche and Nationhood

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Rosaleen OB Nhlekisana


Botswana’s fi ftieth anniversary of Independence, celebrated in 2016, is indeed a milestone achievement worthy to be celebrated. This paper argues that Setswana proverbs are one of several factors that have contributed to peace and democracy in Botswana. Other factors include but are not limited to good governance, economic stability, domestic political dynamics, and international relations. The paper analyses a few Setswana proverbs to show how they have been used to express the Setswana world-view, values, beliefs, norms, and attitudes which contributed to the peace and democracy which has prevailed in the country for the fi fty years after attaining Independence. It should be noted that the development plans of Botswana have always been based upon the four national principles of democracy, development, self-reliance and unity. The fi fth principle of botho was added later. It is also acknowledged that the development of the country has also had some negative impact on people’s attitudes, such as the erosion of the traditional extended family values/system giving way to individualism. Nevertheless, the role of proverbs in nation-building is still fundamental.

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