30th September marks Boipuso, otherwise known as the Independence Day of Botswana. Botswana is formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland. It was named as such when the leaders of the Tswana people negotiated with the British to give them protection from the Boers, whom the British were fighting in South Africa. Upon independence in 1966, Bechuanaland changed its name to Botswana. 

To understand the history of Botswana, it’s worth examining both the flag of Botswana and the national coat of arms. On the first Independence Day on 30th September 1966, the Botswana flag replaced the British Union Jack.  

Botswana national flag

The colours on the Botswana flag are the same colours as those on the Botswana coat of arms. The light blue or sky-blue background - also known in the country as Botswana blue - represents water and particularly rain, which is known as ‘Pula’. The black and white stripes of the flag symbolise the racial harmony present in the country of Botswana. 

Each element of the Botswana coat of arms represents part of the country's rich heritage. The cogs at the top of the shield represent industry. The three blue stripes represent rivers and water. The bull’s head at the bottom represents cattle, which is significant in a nation where almost everyone owns cattle - it is said that there are more cattle than people in Botswana.

Botswana coat of arms

The two zebras present on the coat of arms are holding a tusk (which symbolises the country’s natural wildlife) and sorghum wheat (symbolising agriculture). Zebra are the national animal of Botswana - they appear on the currency and the Botswana national sports teams are called Zebras.

The Botswana national currency is named ‘Pula’. This name can also be seen on the coat of arms; ‘Pula’ can be translated as ‘Let there be rain’. This is particularly important because Botswana suffers from frequent droughts. This is due to the fact that Botswana is located in the Kalahari Desert. 

Xigera palm trees at sunrise

Botswana is a multi-party democracy. Ever since independence, Botswana has enjoyed being a shining example of sound civilian and democratic leadership. Batswana have coexisted peacefully, despite the pluralistic nature of the society and multiplicity of languages. The Batswana people uphold the values of peaceful existence, championing negotiation and dialogue as a means of conflict resolution. 

‘Pula’ is also a common salutation in Botswana, said in place of ‘Cheers’. Today, we extend a warm 'Pula!' to our friends, teams, partners and guests in Botswana.  

Learn more about our magical hotel, Xigera Safari Lodge, located in Botswana's Okavango Delta.