• Indigenous peoples in Botswana

    Indigenous peoples in Botswana

    The San, the Balala, the Nama, and their sub-groups are the indigenous peoples of Botswana. Although Botswana has adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the country's indigenous peoples are not recognised by the government. The indigenous peoples are among the most underprivileged in Botswana.
  • Peoples

    3.3 per cent of the population identifies as belonging to indigenous groups, but are not recognised 64,000 belong to the San peoples, while 1,750 belong to the Balala peoples, and 2,200 to the Nama peoples
  • Rights

    2007: Botswana adopts the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Current state

    Although Botswana has adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the country's indigenous peoples are not recognised by the government. Also, they are among the most underprivileged peoples in Botswana.

Country Facts

Capital Gaborone
Area 582,000 sq km
Population 1.7 million
The citizens of Botswana are called Batswana (Motswana in singular)
Indigenous population Approx. 55,000 San and approx. 4,000 Nama
Legal recognition of indigenous peoples None. The San (also known as Bushmen or Basarwa [Mosarwa]) and the Nama (Khoe) are usually referred to as "Remote Area Dwellers" (RADs)
Language Setswana (national) and English (official)
GDP per capita (purchase power parity) $8,500 (2002 estimate)
Population below poverty line 47%
Life expectancy 36 years
HIV/AIDS-adult prevalence rate 37% (2003 estimate)
Education 10-years free and universal until 2005. Fees in secondary schools introduced in 2006.
Political system Parliamentary republic / multiparty democracy
Key sectors Diamond mining, tourism, cattle raising and subsistence farming

Sources: various sources including CIA World Fact Book, The World Bank and UNDP

About IWGIA

IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights. Read more.

Indigenous World

IWGIA's global report, the Indigenous World, provides an update of the current situation for indigenous peoples worldwide. The Indigenous World 2019.

Contact IWGIA

Prinsessegade 29 B, 3rd floor
DK 1422 Copenhagen
Denmark
Phone: (+45) 53 73 28 30
E-mail: iwgia@iwgia.org
CVR: 81294410

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