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Language identity and multicultural diversity in Botswana

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Abstract:

This study explored the common wisdom that sees Botswana as inherently ethnically homogenous. It used the existing Afrobarometer survey data drawn from Round 1 (1999), Round 2 (2003), Round 3 (2005) and Round 4 (2008). The findings of this study revealed that when using language spoken mostly at home, common wisdom is confirmed. However, it is disconfirmed when using disaggregated home language. This is more apparent when language is broken down according to district and rural-urban location. The implications of this study are that multicultural and linguistic diversity of Botswana compels us to view every group as heterogeneously unique and important in its own ways. While Botswana is generally viewed as a shining example of a successful African democracy, its policies towards language, especially within the education system, leave much to be desired. The education system should move beyond the homogenous-thinking doctrine and embrace multicultural diversity.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02601370.2013.814725

Affiliations: Department of Languages and Social Sciences Education, University of Botswana, Botswana.

Publication date: 2013-11-01

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