According to Countryaah, Botswana is a sparsely populated country; In 2019, the population density was 4 residents per km2. However, due to the large climatic and ecological variations, about 80 percent of the population is concentrated in a belt in the eastern parts.
The proximity to South Africa has led to a strong labor migration. Most of the immigrants are looking for work in the South African mining industry. About 57 percent of the population lives in cities (2015). The larger cities are located in the eastern part of Botswana. In 2019, the capital Gaborone had 274,400 residents and Francistown 113,300.
For information on life expectancy and other demographic statistics, see Country facts.
Botswana’s savannah is populated by eight resident groups: tswana (batswana), bamangwato, bakwena, bakngwaketsi, bakgatla, barolong, bamalete and batlkokwa. They speak Bantu languages belonging to the Nguni languages and are culturally related to Sotho in South Africa. The people groups belong to the Southeast Bantu group and conduct large-scale livestock management alongside arable farming (millet, sorghum, maize, beans, vegetables). Together, they make up 79 percent of the country’s population.
In addition, they also include Bantu-speaking farming kalanga (60,000), closely related to the Shona in Zimbabwe. In the country’s southwestern parts, 40,000 kgalagadi live, which they also speak a bantu language. Furthermore, once there is a residual group of indigenous people san(former Bushmen), who are nomadic hunters and collectors. There are close to 55,000 san in the country. Nowadays San lives in the capital Gaborone. The San population disintegrates into a number of distinct groups with their own languages and traditions. In addition to traditional industries such as hunting and gathering, some are devoted to agriculture and crafts. In the southern part of the country there are also a small number, at most 2,000, of Khois-numbering nama who provide livestock. The white population accounts for 3 percent of the population. There are also 9,000 South Asians (Indians) in the country, and in recent years a rapidly growing number of Zimbabweans have moved in.
The largest bantu group is tswana, which carries a sacred kingdom and has incorporated other bantu groups. Relationship is counted on the patriarch (patrilineal) and is associated with clan systems and ancestral cult. The sacred king is believed to be in contact with the ancestors responsible for the fertility of the earth and man. He is also the highest judge and is at the top of a hierarchical ranking system, where clans and chieftains have their given, inherited positions. The settlement is designed as large family villages (kraals), where a fence for the animals forms the center of a circle of round huts for the members of the patrilineal large family. Often several such large family villages are built close together, so that large villages are formed, sometimes with up to 5,000 residents. The main food is agricultural products, milk and the meat you get from livestock, chickens and game. Cattle are slaughtered only for important rituals, such as at weddings, births, deaths, circumcisions and rain ceremonies. The ritual life and the ancestral cult are of great significance, even for the nominally Christian.
In Botswana, about 25 native languages are spoken, most of which belong to the Khoisans, who, however, have a total of only ten thousand speakers. Other languages, including the majority language tswana (spoken by 70% of the population), are bantu languages (zones K, S, M and R). Official languages are tswana and english. Compare Population above.
In 1816, the first Christian missionaries, sent by the London Missionary Society, came to Bechuanaland, ie. today’s Botswana. In 1966, Botswana became an independent republic from the United Kingdom. The same year, the Botswana Christian Council began its business and in 1977 an all-African Lutheran meeting was held in the country.
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The Christian presence is thus evident and according to current data (2010) 65% of the population is Christian, while 33% are stated to confess to traditional indigenous religion. The country has guaranteed religious freedom with a low degree of state control over the religious communities. However, all religious organizations must be state-registered and today (2012) there are more than 1,000 church groups in Botswana.