‘Plagiarism is a Great Insult’: Politics and Discourses of Intellectual Property Rights Infringement in Botswana, 1970s to 2016

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Christian John Makgala
Maitseo Bolaane
Andy Chebanne


Primarily utilising information in the public domain in the form of media reports on claims of plagiarism, this paper explores issues of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) infringement in Botswana since the 1970s. Particular attention is given to the country’s politics, academia, parastatal corporations, entertainment industry, and the Botswana’s 50th anniversary of Independence logo. It seems the plagiarism plague affects every society at all levels and Botswana is not an exception. We also observe the different measures put in place by the government of Botswana and key stakeholders in a bid to combat plagiarism. However, while plagiarism is a high risk undertaking that has led to many prominent personalities falling from grace and some careers ruined, human nature is such that the practice will continue despite the availability of digital
detection technology and stringent policies meant to combat plagiarism. In most cases, people accused of plagiarism did so knowingly and were aware of the consequences. However, the deterrence measures did not prevent them as they do it for survival or misguided pursuit of personal glory.

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