Lady Ruth Khama was the wife of Botswana’s first president, Sir Seretse Khama. Sir Seretse Khama was the Paramount Chief of the Bamangwato tribe who was educated in South Africa and the United Kingdom (Botswana was a UK Protectorate at the time). During his time in England he met Ruth, a white British woman. He married her which proved a contentious issue as South Africa was in the midst of apartheid and could not stomach the thought of an interracial couple ruling the country directly to the north. Thus, the UK exiled the couple, allowing them to return several years later. Shortly after their return Khama entered politics and peacefully negotiated Botswana’s independence from England.
Lady Khama was immediately popular among the Batswana, and became even more so when her husband died in 1980. Many expected she would have returned to England, but she considered Botswana her home, and remained here until her own death in 2002. She is also the mother of Botswana’s current president, President Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama.
After her death, her son, Ian founded the Lady Khama Charitable Trust to continue her legacy. Since she was particularly dedicated to women’s and children’s needs and helping the disadvantaged, the Trust hosts events and raises funds for those causes. This past weekend the Trust held it’s annual Family Fun Day.The event was just like any other you would expect in the U.S. There was a half marathon and urban assault obstacle course, which everyone, including the President himself and his extended family took part in. The BDF (Botswana Defense Force) band played. And there were probably about 50 or so vendors selling food and goods. Overall, it was a great time. Here are a few pictures for the curious:
The winners of the obstacle course competition:
President Khama watching the awards being distributed:
Me posing with Miss Botswana. You can definitely tell who is the professional here: