Seretse Khama: “A people without a past is a people without a soul.”
Sir Seretse Khama, KBE (1921-1980) was the 1st President of Botswana and one of Africa’s most successful 20th-century statesmen. Unlike the other countries in its volatile region, Botswana has for years been a beacon of racial harmony, democratic stability, and post-colonial progress. Much of the credit for this belongs to the enterprising Khama, who helped his nation achieve the world’s most rapid economic growth from 1966 to 1980. Despite controversies surrounding its most recent election, Botswana is still rated as Africa’s cleanest government.
You can learn more about Khama, “one of the 10 finest leaders in postwar history,” as well as his legacy as a statesman, from Ryan Cooper over at The Week.
“It should now be our intention to try to retrieve what we can of our past. We should write our own history books to prove that we did have a past, and that it was a past that was just as worth writing and learning about as any other. We must do this for the simple reason that a nation without a past is a lost nation, and a people without a past is a people without a soul.“
-Seretse Khama, first president of Botswana, speech at the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland, 15 May 1970, as quoted in the Botswana Daily News, 19 May 1970. (h/t About.com)
Biographies of Sir Seretse Khama at Wikipedia, The University of Botswana, and About.com