Since 1989, the National Museum has been transplanting 144 species from 54 families of indigenous flora onto a land in Gaborone. Unbeknown to herbalists, the vegetation they sought afar, for medicinal remedies, has been sprouting under their noses opposite the Rugby Club in Village, Gaborone.
Unfortunately for the alternative healing practitioners, the foliage at the National Botanical Garden will remain out of bounds.
The Botanical Garden is sponsored by the Government under the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and the University of Botswana, and holds documented collections of living plants for scientific research, conservation, display and public education.
The Head of Natural History at that The National Museum, Nonofo Mosesane, said at a press briefing, as part of the museum’s mandate of preserving Botswana’s cultural and natural heritage, the National Botanical Gardens will finally be launched next week on the 2nd of November.
“We have to meet the international conventions to promote indigenous knowledge, in this case botanical knowledge,” Mosesane said.
The National Museum has tried to collect all plants, including common weeds, because some negligible plants have been discovered to have unique properties. Though the Botanical Garden is among the smallest in the region, it will serve, among other purposes, as a back up for all floras in Botswana. If the need arises, vanishing plants may be propagated back into the wild.
The Botanical Garden will also host researchers from various institutes to increase the knowledge base on the collection of plants.
The garden will be open between 0800 and 1630hrs from Monday to Friday. Also available at the Botanical Garden is a rock amphitheatre that is hailed to give Btv’s own a run for its money.
The public is invited to the launch that will start at 0730hrs and run till 1200hrs. The launch will be preceded by a day-long pre-launch seminar at the Museum’s Little Theatre auditorium on the 1st of November. The National Botanical Garden’s challenges will be discussed at the seminar by officials from relevant organizations such as the Department of Forestry and Range Resources, the University of Botswana Herbarium, Blooms Garden Centre and Dingaka Association.