Se Ke Seromamowa Sa Botswana

Royal Visit

We'd embarked on a big expansion plan, but these things take time to get through the system. We went through a tendering process for massive log-aperiodic aerials and 50 kilowatt transmitters and then placed the orders. Meanwhile broadcasting went on as usual - well, not exactly as usual.
Queen on steps of Botswana Housing Corporation In 1979 the Commonwealth Conference was held in Zambia and while Britain's Queen Elizabeth II was in the region she came to Gaborone as Head of the Commonwealth. Here she is coming down the steps of the Botswana Housing Corporation building with the Mayor of Gaborone at the start of her State Visit.

As well as attending the usual round of VIP receptions I had an official role to fulfil for Radio Botswana. At one point I found myself setting up microphones and public address at the State Banquet, held in Gaborone's Holiday Inn - but then I had to stand hungrily behind the Queen while the meal was consumed!

The visit coincided with the annual Gaborone Trade Fair and boy, were we busy! The whole place was cleaned up. We'd seen plenty of Heads of State before but somehow a little bit more effort was put in this time. Gaborone Trade Fair ground, 1979
Sian and Sir Seretse Khama One of our treasured moments is captured here. I happened to have the camera ready when our daughter Siân (who was just coming up to two years old) decided to go for a look round on her own. In the process she walked up to His Excellency President Khama (dark jacket, on the left) whilst he was relaxing at the Trade Fair after the Queen had left the country. Everyone was quite unconcerned - security was a very low-key affair.
A regular feature of occasions like this was the appearance of the Botswana Defence Force band. They didn't confine themselves to merely playing their instruments, but would perform dances and formation marching to the delight of the crowd. Botswana Defence Force band at GTF, 1979

More celebrations

1979 was the year when our son, Michael, was born. We gave him the name "Kagiso" as well, which means "peace" or "blessings" in Setswana. It's a lovely name and now I could legitimately be called "Rra-go-Kagiso" rather than "Rra-go-Siân". Mind you, people used both anyway. Ted and his wife Rita gave us a sheep to celebrate the new arrival. I'm ashamed to say that we were a bit non-plussed by this, as it's not something one is used to in England. In the end, we took the sheep to the local abbatoir and froze the meat for future use. What we should have done is have a large feast, inviting all the neighbours and our friends. Ted, if you ever read this, I apologise for not really getting to grips with that. We never really got to grips with the need to leave meat in the fridge for three weeks before cooking it, either - the local butchers didn't hang it!

By this time I'd been in Botswana five years, three of them as Chief Engineer of Radio Botswana. Pru had done some teaching before giving it up when we had the children. We were half-way through our time in the country, although we'd never expected to be there that long and certainly didn't think we'd still be there for yet another five years!

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