Season 2 Episode 15

The people of Botswana are a diverse group of people which consist majorly of an ethnic group known as the Tswana tribe.

We’d be looking at the major tribes which you can find in Botswana where other minor tribes are broken from.

  • Tswana
  • Bakalanga
  • Basarwa


This is the largest ethnic group in Botswana which makes up over 70% of the total population of the country. The word Botswana is refers to the people of Tswana which means ‘Land of the Tswana People’.

The Tswana ethnic is divided into eight sub-groups which includes; Bamangwato, Bakwena, Bangwaketse, Batawana, Batlokwa, Bakgatla, Barolong and Balete.

The Tswana people are majorly farmers and great cattle rearers as the size of cattle owned determines the wealth. The native language of the Tswana people is Setswana language which is part of the Bantu family language.


The Bakalanga ethnic group of Botswana is the second-largest having about 11% of the total population of Botswana.

The Bakalanga tribe can be found in Botswana and Zimbabwe as they are also believed to have descended from Rozwi empire which is believed to have been the tribe which built the Zimbabwe.


The Basarwa ethnic group of Botswana is the third largest tribe and they are also known as the San people or Bushmen. The Basarwa people are believed to be one of the first inhabitants of the northern part of Botswana and are one of the oldest inhabitants in the southern part of Africa.

They were majorly hunter-gatherers who are skilled with the use of bows and arrows. In recent times, they are into the practice of farming like growing crops and rearing livestock. 

The native language of the Basarwa tribe of Botswana is Khoisan.

Other tribes that can be found in Botswana are minor tribes, they include Basubi, Bakgalagadi, Bayei, Bambukushu, and Baherero.

Thanks for checking out today’s episode of Learn Africa. Stay tuned for the forthcoming episode where we’d be looking at the traditional attires of the major tribes of Botswana.

Written and edited by Ebenezer Oladokun

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