Business | 03 Oct 2014 | By Sun International

Explore Gaborone’s Unique History

There is a wealth of tourist attractions in Botswana, from the Okavango Delta to the Chobe National Park. Botswana is undoubtedly one of Southern Africa’s most popular destinations. Its capital city, Gaborone, however, is often overlooked as a destination in its own right and serves mostly as a convenient stopover en-route to Botswana’s famous hotspots.

Whether you’re a tourist on a layover in the city and have some time to spare, or a business traveller attending a seminar at one of the hotels in Gaborone, such as the Gaborone Sun's conference facilities, there are some interesting monuments to see and things to do in Gaborone to tap into the city’s unique culture.

For tourists interested in history, and even business travelers in search of tourist attractions in Botswana, a visit to the Three Dikgosi Monument (Three Chiefs Monument) provides an absorbing insight into the country’s history. Conveniently located in Gaborone’s central business district, you can easily schedule a visit to this local tourist attraction between meetings, or squeeze it into your conference lunch break.

The bronze sculpture, which is the most visited tourist attraction in Gaborone, depicts the three dikgosi (tribal chiefs) who played pivotal roles in Botswana’s independence: Khama III of the Bangwato, Sebele I of the Bakwena, and Bathoen I of the Bangwaketse.

In 1885, the three chiefs travelled to Great Britain to ask Joseph Chamberlain, Secretary of State for the Colonies, and Queen Victoria, to separate the Bechuanaland Protectorate from Cecil Rhodes’s British South Africa Company and Southern Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe). Permission was granted, propelling Botswana towards independence.

In an effort to preserve its history, the Botswana government has also listed a number of historic buildings and ruins as national monuments. Visitors to Gaborone now have easy access to some of the city’s protected sites, such as the MOTH Hall, which is said to be of a great significance to President Ian Khama who celebrated his 21st birthday there. There are also historical ties between this monument to the War Memorial near parliament and other war related historic sites further afield in Botswana, such as Lesoma in the Chobe District. Other monuments of important historical and architectural value in Gaborone are the Old Prison and Bonnington Farm.

But for travellers with limited time to spare, the imposing Three Dikgosi Monument sums up Gaborone’s culture in its carved panels, which depict the country’s national virtues: “Botshabelo” (refuge), “Bogaka” (heroism), “Boitshoko” (endurance), “Maikarabelo” (global responsibility) and “Boipuso” (independence).

Tell us: Have you ever seen the Three Chiefs?