Your experience of culture shock in Botswana


Living in a foreign country implies to discover its culture, to learn and master the cultural codes.

How did you deal with that? Share with us your culture shock stories where you experienced a funny or awkward moment in Botswana.

What is your advice regarding the don’ts and what would you recommend to avoid any mistake?

Thank you in advance for sharing your stories,


When I first came to Botswana 16 years ago, I didn't like it. I was shocked to discover myself in calm, peaceful place. People had no rush to do anything. Friendly, helpful. I started enjoying myself.
But then situation started to change fast.
I think in Botswana now there is two types of people. One group is very hostile while some are still very friendly and polite. People have become more ambitious. Higher education has opened their eyes. This country is developing beautifully. New construction, shopping malls, drastically changed Capital city Gaborone's look.
At this point, some opportunist immigrants using their power to making money.  Bribery has become an open secret thing. Young generation is addicted to social media and partying at night. Insecurity , physical harassment, rape case has become a part if their life.
at the end, all I can say that for me its a mix emotional experience.

I am  Godwin  from  kenya  i  intend  to  move  to  Botswana  for a job  placement  as hotelier. Right now  i haven't  move  to  Botswana, so i have not  experience  any  culture  shock  in Botswana. Thanks

In my opinion Botswana is battling between tradition and modernising. The older generation are reluctant to change, either through fear or just simply happy with the status-quo. The younger generation are far more progressive, but it seems to be a mixed bag.

When I first visited Botswana in 2006 there was a culture of "botho" which generally means helping others and being nice to each other. This culture is all but gone and buried, which is really unfortunate. There's now a culture of people who want to be noticed and associated with success, whether that involves deceit or otherwise. The post above mentions bribery and corruption, which is a part of life here these days. I keep mentioning in other post that Botswana is a "who you know" culture and this is a key element to life here. It is the biggest problem we have and will be for anyone moving here.

There is still a traditional culture and respect for certain elements of cultural practises. Elders are treated with respect. Batswana are still proud of their heritage, but they have also become submersed in the greedy and shallow aspect of society. Drinking and partying is a problem (this isn't exclusive to the younger generation neither). Lots of drink driving issues resulting in deaths - sadly no one seems to be learning. It's actually quite odd as alcohol in Botswana is very expensive and the cost rises every year.

The city is modernising fast, but I'm not sure the logic is there. They build malls, but every mall seems to house the same stores. Offices are being built, but there's mass unemployment. Thing do seem to be improving, but like most operations, it will take time.

When you have a bad experience, it will make your blood boil. However, and thankfully, when you experience the good and the friendly, it will remind you why you fell in love with the country.

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