Located in Southern Africa, Botswana is an independent, landlocked nation. The country attained its independence to become a democracy on September 30, 1966. Botswana has a land area of 581,730 square km and houses a population of 2,250,260 individuals. It is one of the world’s most sparsely populated countries.
Christianity is a religion of the majority in Botswana. About 77% of the national population of the country are Christians. The most popular denominations of Christianity in the country are Anglicans, Methodists, and the UCC of Southern Africa. Islam, Hinduism, Baha’ism are some of the other religions practiced in the country.
Christianity In Botswana
The religion was introduced in Botswana by the European colonialists in the mid-1870’s. The conversion to Christianity was relatively fast in Botswana than in the neighboring countries since the hereditary tribal chiefs of the region were quick to adopt the religion and spread it among their followers. Initially, the tribal chiefs converted when they were convinced that the missionaries would protect them from the imperialist white foreigners. As Christianity gained popularity in the country, Bible schools were established and attempts were made to eradicate some ancient indigenous traditions like the initiation ceremonies of boys and girls in the country. However, such attempts bore little fruit and the locals continued with such ceremonies in private. Following the country’s independence, a number of traditional pre-Christian practices were re-instated and revived. However, school curriculums still focus on Christian ideologies and terminologies.
Badimo In Botswana
The traditional indigenous religion of the country is termed the Badimo. Although the CIA Factbook mentions that only 6% of the population of Botswana practices Badimo, in reality, a much larger percentage of the national population follow at least some of the Badimo traditions despite them being affiliated to other major world religions.
Islam In Botswana
Islam is a minority religion in the country and was introduced to the country by the Muslim immigrants who came from South Asia as indented labors of the British colonists. Less than 1% of the population of Botswana adhere to Islam.
Hinduism In Botswana
The country also has a small percentage of Hindus in the population with most being of Indian descent. The Selebi-Phikwe and Gaborone areas host the greatest percentage of Botswana’s Hindus. Five Hindu temples exist in the country.
Religious Tolerance And Freedom In Botswana
Botswana’s constitution allows the people of the country to practice the religion of their choice and no religion is recognized as a state religion. Although proselytizers and missionaries are allowed to work freely, forced conversion is not tolerated. Christian holidays are celebrated nationwide and are the only religious holidays to be recognized as public holidays. Unlike many other African nations, there is little conflict between the different religious groups in Botswana.