Friday, July 12, 2024

Political fights, PR stunts over Seretse Khama dishonour his legacy 

Save for Jesus, Sir Seretse Khama is the only individual that the Botswana national calendar honours with a national holiday. However, Sir Seretse Khama Day stands out as being the only holiday with a provincial character.

While he was never ceremonially garbed with the royal skin coat, Sir Seretse (born July 1, 1921) was recognised as the kgosi (supreme traditional leader) of the Bangwato tribe – whose capital is Serowe. Following his death in 1980, some of his subjects lobbied long and hard for the government to declare a national holiday in his honour. That wish was finally granted by President Festus Mogae in 2005 but with the explicit understanding that while Sir Seretse Khama Day was a national holiday, it wouldn’t be commemorated nationwide but in Serowe only. Resultantly, on July 1, 2006, the very first Sir Seretse Khama Day was commemorated at the Serowe main kgotla.

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