Right before Seretse Khama became the President of Botswana, he was the vice president. Also, before he got onto the vice-presidential seat, he was the first prime minister of Botswana. Seretse (the name means “the clay that binds together”) Khama was born in Serowe, British protectorate of Bechuanaland, on 1 July 1921.
Seretse Khama used his influence with the country’s various ethnic groups and traditional chiefs to create a strong, democratic government where the people were majorly involved in the decisions taken by the government. During his rule, Botswana had the most rapidly growing economy of the world (remember it started very low) and the discovery of diamond deposits allowed the government to finance the creation of a new social infrastructure. The country’s second major export resource, beef, allowed for the development of wealthy entrepreneurs. Agriculture was also one of the numerous sectors he boosted to become an out-flowing source of income to the citizens.
He was well-known for his quotes and words of wisdom to the people at numerous gatherings and speeches that were held in his honour. Some of his quotes that were largely recognized among his people and yonder are:
- “I think that the trouble we now face in the world is caused mainly by the refusal to try and see another man’s point of view, to try and persuade by example — and the refusal to meet a rather passionate desire to impose your own will upon others, either by force or other means.“
- “It should now be our intention to try to retrieve what we can of our past. We should write our own history books to prove that we did have a past, and that it was a past that was just as worth writing and learning about as any other. We must do this for the simple reason that a nation without a past is a lost nation, and a people without a past is a people without a soul.“
- “We are convinced that there is justification for all the races that have been brought together in this part of Africa, by the circumstances of history, to live together in peace and harmony, for they have no other home but Southern Africa. Here we will have to learn how to share aspirations and hopes as one people, united by a common belief in the unity of the human race. Here rests our past, our present, and, most importantly of all, our future.“
He was very passionate about fighting racism, playing his nationalistic roles responsibly and developing the standard of living of his citizens. On 13 July 1980, Seretse Khama died in office of pancreatic cancer.
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