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Languages in Botswana

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Languages in Botswana

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By Antoinette Booyse

Safari Travel Planner

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The national language of Botswana is Setswana, spoken by the Tswana people in the region. English is recognized as a second official language and is spoken widely throughout the country.

People in remote and rural areas that tourists do not frequently visit are not likely to speak English well, so some basic Setswana will go a long way in communicating here.

There are also about 20 unofficial dialects spoken by people belonging to less dominant tribal groups, such as Hambukushu, Seyei, Herero, and Kalanga, while only about five of the original 13 Bushman dialects remain, known collectively as SeSarwa.

Local Culture in Botswana
Local Culture in Botswana

“Pula” is a word that is revered in Botswana. Not only does it appear on the national coat of arms, but it embraces other meanings too. In its literal sense, it means ‘let there be rain’ – in a primarily semi-arid country, rainfall is precious and considered a blessed event.

The local currency is Pula, and it’s also the country’s motto and rallying cry (in this context it means ‘shield’) and is shouted out by crowds at football matches whenever the national team, ‘The Zebras’, scores a goal.

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Copyright © Discover Africa Safaris | Languages in Botswana | Last Updated: 29 September 2023