Sir Seretse Khama Day

Observed as a public holiday in Botswana, Sir Seretse Khama Day is annually observed on July 1st. This holiday commemorates the country’s first president, who was born on this date in 1921. Seretse Khama remained president of Botswana until his death in 1980 at the age of 59.

In 2008, his son Ian Khama became the fourth president of Botswana and served two full terms. It is celebrated within the country by citizens enjoying music, traditional dances, and speeches. Official ceremonies are also held in the capital of Botswana, the city of Gaborone.

The History of Sir Seretse Khama Day in Botswana

On July 1, 1921, in the Protectorate of Bechuanaland (now Botswana) in Serowe, Seretse Khama was born. He was the grandson of King Khama III. The king died in 1923, and in 1925, Seretse Khama was made king with his uncle acting as regent due to Seretse’s young age. While training as a barrister in London after WWII, he met Ruth Williams, a white English commoner who would become his future wife.

When Seretse married Ruth, it caused a great stir that resulted in his exile in 1951. South Africa’s apartheid government attempted to persuade Britain to remove Seretse’s chieftainship. In 1956, Seretse returned to Bechuanaland as a private citizen. He then entered politics and founded the Bechuanaland Democratic Party.

He won the elections and led the country on the path to independence. After the country became independent Botswana, he served as its first president. He remained president until his death at the age of 59 in 1980.

Observing Sir Seretse Khama Day in Botswana

This holiday is observed with official ceremonies taking place in the capital city of Gaborone. Other activities occurring on this holiday include parades, fairs, and even religious ceremonies. Traditional music and dance are also enjoyed by the local population.

Where is it celebrated?
Botswana (Public holiday)
When is it?
This year (2024)
July 1 Monday
Next year (2025)
July 1 Tuesday
Last year (2023)
July 1 Saturday