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Beth  Christen

Alexander McCall Smith: Building a Bridge between Traditional and Modern Botswana
Sir Seretse Khama Rules the Independent Republic of Botswana

Alexander McCall Smithís world famous series, The No. 1 Ladiesí Detective Agency, takes place in the mysterious deserts of Botswana, located at the southern tip of Africa. These stories illustrate how old ideas, customs and values are as hard to change as the people who believe in these old ways. One of the exceptions to this reluctance to change is Mma Ramotswe, the ideal Batswana women, who is able to preserve the important ideas of morality and respect while also allowing new, more modern ideas to play a part in her life. She is the bridge between tradition and modernity and appreciates the value that both worlds offer.

Botswana went through a different kind of change in the mid 1960s. Before Botswana was made into an independent nation, the country was under a British protectorate. Under foreign rule, the Africans were neglected, abused and made the victims of unnecessary discrimination. After they gained independence in 1966, Sir Seretse Khama became their nationís first president. As ruler, he was able to free his people from despair and create a nation based on tolerance and acceptance. Under Khama, Botswana experienced a great transformation and grew in prosperity.

Major Works Consulted:

Dutfield, Michael. A Marriage of Inconvenience: The Persecution of Seretse and Ruth Khama. London: Unwin Hyman, 1990.
Sillery, Anthony. Botswana: A Short Political History. London: Methuen, 1974.
Smith, Alexander McCall, Morality for Beautiful Girls. New York: Anchor, 2001.
---. The No. 1 Ladiesí Detective Agency. New York: Anchor, 1998.
Photo Credit: Smith, Alexander McCall, The Kalahari Typing School for Men. New York: Anchor, 2004.

Alexander McCall

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