English as a Form of Neo-colonialism in Botswana

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Andy Chebanne


English is by practice an official language in Botswana. This role means that it takes all significant
functional roles in the economy, administration, politics, and education. Since this practice is not
based on a language policy, it is difficult to understand the rational of favouring English in Botswana,
where Setswana is spoken by 75% of the population and it is understood by even a higher percentage.
There are also other languages that have an important regional communication role. The arguments
made in this article are that the English language hegemony is tantamount to linguistic imperialism
and is a permutation of apolitical colonialism in a sovereign country such as Botswana. The arguments
raised here seek to contribute to fresh debates of linguistic decolonialization in Africa. It is the view
of this article that promoting Setswana and other local languages will make sense in the educational
domain and in the construction of a national linguistic and cultural identity.

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