Botswana Symbolism

When visiting the Three Dikgosi Monument with Angela & co., our tour guide Samuel* explained the two major hallmarks of Botswana nationalism. I must say, I like the concreteness of the Botswana symbols – completely devoid of abstract, indefinable terms such as ‘bravery’ or ‘unity’ that often sound more like national aspirations than true reflections of a country anyway.

Flag of Botswana

Blue: representing rain and sky
White: the small population of white Botswana nationals
Black: the larger population of black Batswana
Horizontal stripes: harmonious existence between blacks and whites in the same country – in Samuel’s words: “to represent that no racism exists in Botswana” – alternatively, representative of the national animal, the zebra

Coat of Arms of Botswana

Zebra: National animal of Botswana, also the nickname of the national football team
Elephant tusk: Wildlife and Tourism
Sorghum sheaf: Crop agriculture
Bull’s head: Livestock agriculture
Blue stripes: rivers
Three cogwheels: Industry
Shield: Defense and resilience; the shape is evocative of the traditional Zulu shield, which was later adopted by the Sotho-Tswana people; the Sotho-Tswana word for shield, ‘Thebe,’ has become the name of the smaller Botswana currency division
Motto: ‘Pula’ – the Sotho-Tswana word for ‘rain’ – a valued phenomenon in such an arid environment; also translated as ‘blessing’ or ‘luck’ and taken for the name of the national currency unit

Botswana national crest

Botswana national crest

*Naturally, additional/alternative interpretations likely exist. Concerned parties should take this up with Samuel.


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