Botswana is populated by no less than 20 different tribes with some originating from the neighbouring countries of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola and Namibia, giving the country a rich diversity of cultures. It is therefore not easy to make a comprehensive description of the cultures of all these tribes within the limited scope of the web-site. There are, however, common cultural features and practices, particularly amongst the tribes of "Tswana" origin, which have a common ancestry.

As in many countries, urbanisation and exposure to other cultures have greatly influenced Botswana's culture. Many key features of Botswana's culture have, however, survived negative influences. In some instances, cultural practices which clashed with the objectives of colonial administrators were either suppressed or significantly curtailed.

Other cultural practices, which tend to assign women a peripheral role in the family and society, are constantly being challenged. The latter have no place in a modern democratic society based on gender equality, amongst others.

In order to fully understand a people's culture and traditions, it is necessary to look into their past to gain insight into their present "ways of doing things". It is in the latter context that some of the tribal ceremonies and practices, which are no longer widely practised in Botswana, have been included. Such practices were, after-all, based on fundamental values which, to this day, still hold Botswana society together.

The sections which follow will highlight the past and present features of Botswana's culture and provide a quick glance into Setswana "way of life".

People of Botswana
The people of Tswana origin or citizens of the country, Botswana, are called Batswana. 'Motswana' refers to a citizen of Botswana or a person of Tswana ancestry. 'Setswana' refers to the national language of Botswana, also spoken by other people of Tswana descent in the neighbouring countries. It also refers to the way of life or "of doing things". People of BotswanaThe foregoing terms, therefore, have both specific and generic references in the web-site.

The patterns and influences found in the present day culture(s) of Botswana were due to mergers and divisions of different tribal groupings, interaction with other groups of non-African descent, coupled with movements over vast territories at different historical periods. For History, distribution and composition of the different tribes, see THE PEOPLE.