Evoking Memory: A Curatorial Perspective on Botswana’s Presidential Heritage

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Keletso Gaone Setlhabi


The aim of this paper is to start a dialogue on how the heritage of Botswana’s heads of state can be preserved after their term in office. It was inspired by the private cataloguing of the second president of Botswana, Festus Mogae’s farewell memorabilia in 2010, after his term ended in 2008. The documentation of his collections revealed an existing gap of the curation of presidential heritage and memory in Botswana based on the lack of systematic preservation of the three former presidents’ collections. A presidential museum in Botswana can be established as one of the specialised museums recommended by the 1983 Oram and Nteta Report. Museums are places where past memories can be evoked and contested through collections and stories. The questions that this paper asks through the case study of Mogae’s collection are: What happens to the collections of Botswana’s presidents post-term? How can their heritage be preserved? Are their memories personal or national? Lastly, who is supposed to create and preserve them? In conclusion, we recommend the establishment of a presidential museum that can become a place of national memory.

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