Botswana is one of Africa’s best wildlife watching destinations. The country receives hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world annually, which include a significant number of Indian travelers as well. We contacted Taffiny Kablay, a Motswana-Indian YouTuber from Gaborone, Botswana – and asked her about Botswana, India and Indian food. Here is our conversation with her.
*Motswana – person from Botswana, Batswana – people of Botswana
A: I was born in Botswana, my dad is from India and my mom is from Botswana. I lived here for 15 years of my life and the other 9 were spent in the USA.
A: I was in India when I was about 2/3 years old, since then only my dad visits India every few months. One day I want to go with him. Spices. That was the first word I could think of.
A: There’s a huge Indian population here, in relation to our overall population there are a lot of us. The majority are Muslim. Botswana is a mostly Christian country, however we are tolerant of any and all religious beliefs. We don’t have those (separate Indian areas, shops or markets), the culture is ingrained so much that we don’t really have to separate.
A: Indian people are treated very well here, the only issue arises when Indian people look down on Batswana. Hence, there can be a rift but it is not huge. Botswana is very peaceful and welcoming.
A: The influence of indian culture has mostly affected the food scene. We have a lot of Indian restaurants. Also, the fabric stores, car sales and rental properties are mostly owned by Indians. Almost all of our beauty spas and such are owned by indians. We also have a lot of mosques that stand as landmarks in the city, so if you want to find where something is close to, sometimes you have to point people to the nearest mosque.
A: I have tried Saffron (a fancy indian restaurant in Gaborone) and it was really good! There are other Indian restaurants like Chutney Restaurant, Ashoka Palace or Embassy restaurant in Gaborone, but I have not tried them. I have had Chola Batura and Dosa before at home, but I haven’t had Vada Pav. I don’t usually go to the indian restaurants because I can just have roti at home😂
A: Batswana are very simple, we are not fast paced. Batswana are very relaxed and that may be different from the hustle and bustle of India. Our population is also very small so we don’t have a lot of crowded places. Batswana are the most welcoming people ever, if anything sometimes it feels like Batswana like foreigners more.
A: People should know that Botswana is not just wildlife reserves and animals, the culture and the people in the cities and towns are worth exploring!
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