With a population of two million people, the Republic of Botswana is positioned in the center of Southern Africa. It is situated in a sand-filled basin consisting of plains and gently sloping hills that rise into the highlands of its neighboring countries. Botswana is lush with animal life and is home to more than 800 different species of mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles. Before its independence from British control in 1966, Botswana was one of the most undeveloped, poverty-stricken states in the world. However, since gaining independence, the peace and prosperity of this republic has greatly increased. Botswana is now internationally renowned as one of the most peaceful, stable democratic states in Africa.
Currently, Tswana is Botswana’s dominant ethnic identity. Although English is the official language of Botswana, Setswana is widely spoken in the republic. The culture of Botswana is a mixture of Tswana and English heritage. Traditional music in Botswana is largely based around stringed instruments. Though interest in traditional music and dance declined in popularity during Botswana’s colonial period, it revived after the republic gained independence. This can especially be seen in music on the radio.
Botswana’s climate is marked by months of dry weather. The rainy season is limited to sporadic downpours in December through March. Botswana suffers from cyclic droughts which occur every two decades and frequently last up to six years. As such, very little soil is suitable for cultivation, harvests are often destroyed and livestock frequently die of starvation. Due to drought, the population of Botswana is entirely dependent on groundwater. Although the use of groundwater eases the effects of drought, it has greatly harmed Botswana’s land. Drilling in order to retrieve groundwater is commonplace. Such drilling leads to harmful erosion and desertification. Out of all Southern Africa, Botswana is one of the countries most severely affected by desertification in the Kalahari Region.
Botswana’s government is a multi-party democracy. The republic has very little corruption and has a good record of defending human rights. Botswana’s current president is Sereetsi Khama Ian Khama.
Radio is an important medium in Botswana as the circulation of media is limited outside the urban sectors of the country. Botswana has a tradition of unimpeded, public debate via radio. In fact, the republic’s constitution provides for the freedom of expression–a freedom that is generally respected by the government. Satellite pay TV is available in the republic along with the state-run Botswana Television (BTV). By 2011, there were about 167,000 internet users in Botswana.