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Botswana: Choice and Opportunity: A Memoir 1963 to 2018
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By Grant, Sandy. With an Foreword by Jan-Bart Gewald
ISBN 9781846220708
Paperback  426 pages
Published 11 January 2020
UK Price £19.95   
US Price $27.00   

Mochudi is in the Kgatleng District, where novelist and campaigner Naomi Mitchison was the adopted mother of Chief Linchwe II. Mochudi, the ninth biggest town in Botswana, is the home of the fictional Mma Ramotswe, of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. Mochudi is where Sandy Grant, escaping a desk job in a London publishing house, arrived in 1963, three years before independence, and before either Mitchison, from her journalism in the 1960s, or Mma Ramotswe, in the millennial years, raised the profile of this new country. In Mochudi he found a community in the midst of a famine, one whose life-style had changed little during the previous 20 or 30 years and where the ox-drawn sledge and wagon were commonly in use. He describes the beginnings of his forty-three years working understanding with the young Chief Linchwe and the oppressive weight of apartheid South Africa. When Independence came in a rush, the government of the new Botswana was technically bankrupt, and its very survival seemed in doubt. In its newly created capital, Gaborone, Sandy worked to provide relief and to foster local development initiatives and combat social injustice. As a long-standing newspaper columnist, he comments on the country as it emerged from poverty. His account gives insights of tribal life, rain hills and rain making, the initiation of young males and his conversion of an abandoned hilltop school into a multi-faceted museum. As a hands-on participant, he describes with a deft hand, his involvement with the democratic process, a range of intriguing personalities and events, amusing, personal, perplexing and disturbing.

With 346 black-and-white photographs.

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