Gobe Matenge’s Social Engineering Through Milestone Independence Anniversary Celebrations in Botswana, 1975-2016

Main Article Content

Christian John Makgala
Maitseo Bolaane


Utilising archival records this paper argues that the coordinator of the Tenth Anniversary Independence Celebrations Unit (TACU), Gobe Matenge, tried to use the process to transform what was considered deplorable social and professional attitudes of Batswana into positive and desirable behaviour to be appreciated
by international visitors to Botswana in 1976. Some of the embarrassing behavioural attitudes Batswana were accused of included fi ghting over food in public places, disrespecting the national anthem, and being discourteous in providing service particularly telephone operators. Matenge’s social engineering
was also meant to be a long term change in attitudes of the citizenry. After the country celebrated its 30th anniversary of Independence in 1996, a presidential task force was set up to devise a long term vision for the country. The result was a document known as ‘Vision 2016’ which envisaged Botswana to be a prosperous country by 2016 when the country celebrates its 50th anniversary of Independence which was attained in 1966. Vision 2016 also raises similar concerns of Batswana not being patriotic and lacking pride in national symbols among other issues. Ironically, while in 1976 undesirable attitudes of the country’s overwhelmingly rural populace was blamed on lack of contact with the ‘outside world’ or foreign cultures, by the turn of the new millennium globalisation or ‘too much’ international influence was now blamed for people’s negative attitudes.

Article Details