Mahalapye — Kgosi Ethasetse Tlale of Phaleng ward in Shoshong describes the late, First President of Botswana, Sir Seretse Khama was respected as a man of principle and integrity.
Reminiscing about life in Botswana, during Sir Seretse Khama's presidency, in an interview on Tuesday, the 86 year old Kgosi Tlale, a retired village head of arbitration, said during Sir Seretse Khama's presidency Batswana cherished their sense of origin, values, norms and had strong cultural and ethnic identity.
He said Botswana was among the poorest countries at the time of independence, in 1966.
"Despite that the country underwent rapid economic and social progress thanks to the spirit of self-reliance that Sir Seretse Khama instilled in us, as Batswana, through his visionary leadership and the faith he had in Batswana that we have the ability to do things for ourselves.
'Sir, Seretse Khama really embraced the spirit of self-reliance and unity and despised racial discrimination, because he acknowledged that Botswana was a multiracial democratic society," he added.
Another village elder, Mr Moduane Teo, of Marulela ward, aged 84 years said during Sir Seretse Khama's presidency; there was no corruption, as he instituted strong measures against corruption. Sir Seretse Khama'
"Seretse truly believed in people being hired based on merit, not race or lineage. Ke gore, ka nako eo, go ne go sa lebiwe bo gore o mokae, o ngwana wa ga mang? Go ne go lebiwa bokgoni ba motho le gore o ka sologela lefatshe molemo jang, fela," he added.
Due to his dedication to the country's transformation and development, Mr Teo said it was during Sir Seretse Khama's presidency that the University of Botswana was built through soliciting donations from the locals.
"This did not only promote self-reliance amongst Batswana, but those sacrifices and generous donations also formed as a nation building strategy, because despite our diverse backgrounds as Batswana, we were united in achieving that goal of building our own University," he added.
For his comment, Shoshong chief, Kgosi Felix Kgamane said he admired Sir Seretse Khama's extraordinary strength of character, as he was visionary, inspirational and believed in national unity.
"Seretse had a unique determination to see every Motswana prosper, because it was during his presidency that programmes such as drought relief and Arable Lands Development Project (ALDEP) were introduced. Those are the programmes that helped instill and promote self-reliance, as our economy did not rely more on imported food," he added.
Sir Seretse Khama was born in Serowe.
Source : BOPA