Photos of Gaborone and the south east, Botswana

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Gaborone and the south east

Gaborone is Botswana’s capital and largest city, situated in the country’s south-eastern corner, only 15 kilometres from the border with South Africa. Before independence, the capital was located outside the country, in Mafeking (or Mafikeng, now Mahikeng, South Africa). In the mid-1960s, it was decided to build a city in the area called Gaborones (short for “Gaborone’s Village”, named after the chief of the Tlokwa tribe who lived nearby) on land without tribal claims and nearby fresh water. It was built quickly, and labourers built settlements just to the south, called Naledi; in 1973, “New Naledi” was created by the Government to house more people, but in 1975 this became an industrial area, and “Old Naledi” is now a low-income housing area. The city has grown spectacularly since: it is one of the world’s fastest-growing cities, and around 10% of Botswana’s population lives here.

Parliament building, Gaborone
The Mall shopping centre, Gaborone
The Mall shopping centre, Gaborone
In the Mall shopping centre, Gaborone
Girl plastering a house, Naledi
Old Naledi, Gaborone
New Naledi, Gaborone
Mosque of Lobatse
Street in Lobatse
Village of Kanye
Girls with buckets of water, Kanye
Woman preparing maize beer, Kanye
Traditional houses, Kanye
Behind a fence, Kanye
Village of Kanye
Herding cattle, Kanye
Between Kanye and Moshupa
Boys collecting water, Moshupa
Village of Moshupa
Boys playing football, Molepolole
Boys playing football, Molepolole
Little girls, Molepolole
Late afternoon, Molepolole
Girls fetching water, Molepolole
Boys carrying buckets, Molepolole
Boys into the village, Molepolole
Traditional houses, Molepolole
Village square, Molepolole
Children of Molepolole
Boys striking a pose, Molepolole
Woman with bucket, Molepolole
Duststorm over Mochudi
Woman sifting grain, Mochudi
Women preparing grain, Mochudi
Entrance to Moshupa
View of Moshupa

Lobatse, 70 kilometres south of Gaborone, is a town of around 30,000 people and, upon independence, was another possible candidate for the country’s capital; it had an abattoir, a mosque (serving Indian workers) and 5 kilometres of bitumen road, the only stretch in the country. While Gaborone became the seat of the Government, Lobatse was selected as the seat of the judicial system. About 50 kilometres northwest of Lobatse is Kanye, home to the Bangwaketse people, one of the largest growing villages in Botswana and the administrative centre of the Southern District, with a population of over 45,000. It was established in 1790 by Makaba, the paramount chief of the Ngwaketse, after a battle he lost with the Bakwena (another Tswana-speaking group living further north). About 32 kilometres north of Kanye is the village of Moshupa (Mosopa), with around a population of 20,000. The people of Moshupa are called the Bakgatla-ba-ga Mmanaana. A unique sight is huge mountain outcrops, rocks balanced on top of each other.

Almost 60 kilometres further north is Molepolole, the capital of the Kweneng district and one of the largest traditional villages in Africa with a population of about 70,000 people: these are the Bakwena people, who moved into the area in 1864. Molepolole is on the road leading from Gaborone to the Central Kalahari and about 60 kilometres to the northwest of Gaborone. And about 37 kilometres northeast of Gaborone is Mochudi, one of the larger villages in Botswana, in Kgatleng District, the Bakgatla tribal region. It has a population of around 45,000 people and was settled by the Tswana people in 1871. It lies several kilometres from the main Gaborone–Francistown road.