• Maureen Buschek


It is probably safe to say that most Americans don't know much about Africa. One of our patrons lived in South Africa in the 1960s and says that Zimbabwe (the former Rhodesia), now embroiled in so much controversy, was a gorgeous country at the time she lived in Africa. It was a place to visit while on holiday.

Trine University sponsored free movies this semester and one of the best was "A United Kingdom". It is based on a real king, Seretse Khama of Botswana. He studied in England as a young man and fell in love with a white woman. Of course, this was a huge controversy and "brought his country and title to the brink of civil unrest". England was in power and exiled Khama for five years. The movie is a powerful few hours as well as being sweetly romantic. It uses actual news footage from the time and features Botswana citizens as extras. Khama finally received vindication. When his country gained independence from Britain in 1966 his people swiftly elected him as their first president. His son is the current president.

For more about Botswana check out the best selling series "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" by author Alexander McCall Smith. McCall Smith was born in Bulawayo in 1948 in the British colony of Southern Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe) but has since settled in Scotland. He is a prolific author with many series but this one is set in Botswana and features a character named Precious Ramotswe, a lady detective. The series is named for the first novel in the series. The books are charming but do discuss important issues such as domestic violence, adultery, AIDS and most importantly the beauty of the country and its gentle people.

One critique that sums up this delightful series is from Anthony Daniels of the Sunday Telegraph who says “The author’s prose has the merits of simplicity, euphony and precision. His descriptions leave one as if standing in the Botswana landscape. This is art that conceals art. I haven’t read anything with such alloyed pleasure for a long time."

If you are looking to be entertained but also learn about this remote country check out "A United Kingdom" and "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series.


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