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March 5, 2008

Sights of Africa

Gaberone, Botswana
Before 1969, the city was known as Gaberones[1]. Gaberones replaced Mafeking as the capital of the Bechuanaland Protectorate in 1965. Mafeking (now Mafikeng) was outside the Bechuanaland Protectorate, in what is now the North West Province of South Africa, an odd arrangement that dated from the early colonial period. When the Protectorate became independent, Botswana needed a capital city within its territory; earlier it had been thought Lobatse might serve as capital but it was decided that it would be too limited, and instead a new capital city would be created adjacent to Gaberones, a small colonial administrative settlement. The original name, Gaberones, is from Gaborone's Village, following the early practice of referring to African tribal capitals by the name of the chief, in this case Chief Kgosi Gaborone of the BaTlokwa, whose village, now called Tlokweng, was just across a river from the "Government Camp" (colonial government headquarters). "Gabs" is still a common abbreviation for Gaborone, sometimes used in casual speech. A newer nickname for Gaborone is 'GC' or 'Gabz' as the city has grown in leaps and bounds over the last decade. Continue reading

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