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The Cultures of Botswana

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The Cultures of Botswana

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By Antoinette Booyse

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Travelers greeting local Batswana will notice that the spoken “dumela rra/mma” (man/woman) is accompanied by a handshake with the right hand while the left-hand moves to grasp your right forearm gently. This greeting is commonly shared between locals, and tourists are welcome to participate in the tradition.

Many people from Botswana (and indeed southern Africa) belong to a religion called Zionism, which is based on a fusion of African traditions and the Christian faith. Members of the ZCC (Zion Christian Church), by religious guidance, do not eat pork, drink alcohol, or consume drugs, while some solely consume the white meat of chicken and fish, eradicating red meat from their diets altogether.

Zionists can be recognized by some items of clothing, which on days of worship consist mostly of yellow and green. At the same time, most members often wear a lapel or badge of green cloth adorned with a metal badge indicating which branch of the church they belong to. Men also wear hats to show their religious affiliation.

Another thing to note is that it’s not in alignment with the Botswana custom to wash other peoples’ undergarments, and guests at lodges will notice that laundry service is provided for all clothing items, excluding personal underwear.

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