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The HIV/AIDS epidemic in Southern Africa is perhaps the world’s deadliest. Again, despite highly contrasting responses by the national governments of South African and Botswana respectively, there were significant similarities in how the private sector actors in these two countries responded to that epidemic. While many (if not most) firms provided little by way of a constructive response to the epidemic, a number of high-profile firms, notably within the mining and financial subsectors, rolled out a variety of remarkably constructive responses to the epidemic, programmes that at their most comprehensive included the provision of free antiretroviral drugs to their staff, and support for broader societal initiatives to combat the epidemic.
In this article, two white, Western female researchers reflect on the methodological, ethical, and practical dilemmas experienced while conducting social science fieldwork in Botswana for their doctoral degrees. In addition, their shared research assistant examines her role as a social and cultural interlocutor, which was essential to the researchers’ successful navigation in their various field sites. Drawing on distinct but common experiences conducting research in northern and western regions of rural Botswana, the authors reflexively consider a series of interwoven issues tied to their positionalities: the disparity in benefits and return on research investment between the researcher and research participants; the nature of commodified or transactional relations, especially in an impoverished region highly dependent on foreign tourists; the complex nature of researcher–research assistant relationships; and the contradictory dynamics of being female researchers in a patriarchal society while also embodying privileges of whiteness and Western nationality. Building on these reflections, the authors engage with current debates in the social sciences to argue that researcher reflexivity is not an adequate end point and should result in engagement with ethical and epistemological questions regarding the decolonization of research practices more broadly.
Human–wildlife conflict is one of the most pressing issues in conservation. Low-income rural communities are disproportionately affected by negative interactions with large predators, which often leads to retaliatory killings and persecution of the animals. To overcome this, socio-ecological studies that merge existing knowledge of large predator ecology with long-term livestock depredation monitoring are required. We examined patterns and drivers of livestock depredation in northern Botswana, using a mixed effects model of the government's long-term monitoring data on human–wildlife conflict, to identify ways to reduce depredation at key spatial and temporal scales. We compared the results to farmers’ understanding of their personal risk within the landscape. We analysed 342 depredation events that occurred during 2008–2016, using variables measured at different scales. The variables affecting the locations of depredation events at the 2-km scale were distance to protected areas and predator and herbivore density, with increased depredation in the wet season. At a 1-km scale, herbivore density did not have a significant effect, but the effect of other variables was unchanged. The 4-km scale model was influenced by livestock and herbivore density, with increased depredation in the wet season. Livestock depredation could be reduced by establishing an 8-km livestock-free buffer along the protected area boundary. There was disparity between government data on human–wildlife conflict, depredation reported by farmers in interviews and farmers’ risk awareness. Farmers would benefit from workshops providing tools to make evidence-based decisions and minimize their risk of negative interactions with wildlife. This would ultimately contribute to wildlife conservation in the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area.
The article analyses various cases of captivity in a region comprised within modern-day South Africa and Lesotho in the late precolonial period. Focusing on a single social institution, bohlanka, the article follows its traces scattered among the Batlhaping, the Basotho, the Barolong, the Bataung, and other smaller precolonial communities. Generally considered by scholars as a form of clientship based on cattle-loans, bohlanka is here redefined as originating from warfare and captivity, and later expanding to include the destitute. The fundamental elements of the institution — violence, natal alienation, and suspended death — lead to the conclusion that bohlanka constituted a local form of slavery that pre-dated colonial influences.
In June 2012, the Botswana Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW; Gaborone, Botswana) initiated a national Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system in response to significant morbidity and mortality associated with prehospital emergencies. The MOHW requested external expertise to train its developing workforce. Simulation-based training was planned to equip these health care providers with clinical knowledge, procedural skills, and communication techniques.
The objective of this study was to assess the educational needs of the pioneer Botswana MOHW EMS providers based on retrospective EMS logbook review and EMS provider feedback to guide development of a novel educational curriculum.
Data were abstracted from a representative sample of the Gaborone, Botswana MOHW EMS response log from 2013-2014 and were quantified into the five most common call types for both adults and children. Informal focus groups with health professionals and EMS staff, as well as surveys, were used to rank common response call types and self-perceived educational needs.
Based on 1,506 calls, the most common adult response calls were for obstetric emergencies, altered mental status, gastrointestinal/abdominal pain, trauma, gynecological emergencies, and cardiovascular and respiratory distress-related emergencies. The most common pediatric response calls were for respiratory distress, gastrointestinal complaints/dehydration, trauma and musculoskeletal injuries, newborn delivery, seizures, and toxic ingestion/exposure. The EMS providers identified these same chief complaints as priorities for training using the qualitative approach. A locally relevant, simulation-based curriculum for the Botswana MOHW EMS system was developed and implemented based on these data.
: Trauma, respiratory distress, gastrointestinal complaints, and puerperal/perinatal emergencies were common conditions for all age groups. Other age-specific conditions were also identified as educational needs based on epidemiologic data and provider feedback. This needs assessment may be useful when designing locally relevant EMS curricula in other low-income and middle-income countries.GlombNW, KosokoAA, DoughtyCB, RusMC, ShahMI, CoxM, GalapiC, ParkesPS, KumarS, LabaB.Needs Assessment for Simulation Training for Prehospital Providers in Botswana. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2018;33(6):621–626.
Jatropha curcas L. is a stem-succulent shrub that produces high concentrations of seed oils that are convertible into biodiesel. In this study, the incidence of four insect pests on Jatropha, Strabala rufa, Gnathamitermes tubiformans, Pempelia morosalis, and Acanthoplus discoidalis was recorded over three years in a semi-arid climate in Gaborone, Botswana. The occurrence of these insects was concentrated in the summer season from October to April, while lower numbers of all species were found in May as the temperature began to reduce towards the winter season, suggesting that insect pests of Jatropha exhibit a unique temporal pattern in this region. A considerable variation was observed among Jatropha accessions regarding the insect pest occurrence, indicating a vast difference in the susceptibility to insect pests among Jatropha accessions.
Crop loss to foraging elephants is one of the most significant causes of conflict between people and elephants in areas where wild elephants share resources with people. Effective solutions to reduce the effects of human–elephant conflict on local livelihoods are thus essential to foster coexistence between elephants and people. We assessed the effectiveness of chilli-briquettes (bricks made of dry chilli, elephant dung and water) in altering elephants use of space in the eastern Okavango Panhandle, Botswana. We burned > 600 briquettes during the night over a 2-month period to test five treatments: frequent burning of (1) chilli and (2) chilli-free briquettes, occasional burning of (3) chilli and (4) chilli-free briquettes, and (5) a control treatment. Using camera traps and footprint surveys we assessed the number of elephants that used experimental sites, and the times at which they did so. We found elephants changed their movement behaviour from predominantly nocturnal to diurnal in areas where chilli-briquettes were burned throughout the night; however, there was no difference in the mean numbers of individuals between treatments with and without chillies. In other words, chilli-briquettes had a repellent but not a deterrent effect on elephants, keeping them away only at times when chilli-briquettes were smouldering. Based on these findings we recommend the use of chilli-briquettes as a method to deter elephants in the short term. In the long term, chilli-briquettes should be applied in combination with other larger-scale mitigation approaches, such as land management and cooperative community-based tools.
This article explores the alchemy whereby ritual and political worlds invisible to Europeans were rendered visible on European maps. It begins with a puzzle: representations of southwestern Africa's rivers on those maps bear little resemblance to physical reality as the cartographers would have understood it. Using GIS technology to georeference a series of maps and highlight the placement of rivers on them illustrates the convergence of cartographers’ representations and regional political cosmologies linking power to control over water. Travelers’ accounts and colonial archives illuminate how knowledge was produced and why African ideas about geography were inadvertently embedded in those maps well into the twentieth century. This method opens a window into otherwise-obscured African intellectual history and demonstrates that even something as apparently and unambiguously ‘European’ as modern mapping was the result of on-the-ground negotiations well into the colonial period.
Rock art worldwide has proved extremely difficult to date directly. Here, the first radiocarbon dates for rock paintings in Botswana and Lesotho are presented, along with additional dates for Later Stone Age rock art in South Africa. The samples selected for dating were identified as carbon-blacks from short-lived organic materials, meaning that the sampled pigments and the paintings that they were used to produce must be of similar age. The results reveal that southern African hunter-gatherers were creating paintings on rockshelter walls as long ago as 5723–4420 cal BP in south-eastern Botswana: the oldest such evidence yet found in southern Africa.
Antiretroviral therapy (ART) affords longevity to patients infected with the human immune deficiency virus (HIV). Since little is known about the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) of persons who have been on ART for at least five years, the present study investigated the HRQoL of these patients in Botswana.
Medical records, structured interviews, and the World Health Organization Quality of Life–BREF (WHOQoL–HIV–BREF) instrument were employed to obtain information from 456 respondents.
Univariate and multivariate regression analyses showed that respondents' highest scores were in the “physical” domain (mean = 15.8, SD = 3.5), while the lowest scores were in the “environment” domain (mean = 12.9, SD = 2.5). Thus, the physical domain had the greatest impact on patients' overall HRQoL. Self-education about HIV-related issues was significantly correlated with all domains of HRQoL scores: physical (ρ = –2.32, CI95% = –3.02, –1.61); psychological (ρ = –2.26, CI95% = –2.87, –1.65); independence (ρ = –1.81, CI95% = –2.54, –1.06); social relationships (ρ = –1.40, CI95% = –2.13, –0.67); environment (ρ = –1.58, CI95% = –2.13, –1.04); and spirituality (ρ = –1.70, CI95% = –82.27, –1.13).
Significance of results:
HRQoL assessments can identify and address patients' needs, and it is important that guidelines be developed that will yield improved care to ART patients in Botswana.
The association between harmful use of alcohol and HIV infection is well documented. To address this dual epidemic, the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) developed and implemented a multi-pronged approach primarily in Namibia and Botswana. We present the approach and preliminary results of the public health investigative and programmatic activities designed, initiated and supported by PEPFAR to combat the harmful use of alcohol and its association as a driver of HIV morbidity and mortality from 2008 to 2013.
PEPFAR supported comprehensive alcohol programming using a matrix model approach that combined the socio-ecological framework and the Alcohol Misuse Prevention and Intervention Continuum. This structure enabled seven component objectives: (1) to quantify harmful use of alcohol through rapid assessments; (2) to develop and evaluate alcohol-based interventions; (3) to promote screening programs and alcohol abuse resource services; (4) to support stakeholder networks; (5) to support policy interventions and (6) structural interventions; and (7) to institutionalize universal prevention messages.
Targeted PEPFAR support for alcohol activities resulted in several projects to address harmful alcohol use and HIV. Components are graphically conceptualized within the matrix model, demonstrating the intersections between primary, secondary and tertiary prevention activities and individual, interpersonal, community, and societal factors. Key initiative successes included leveraging alcohol harm prevention activities that enabled projects to be piloted in healthcare settings, schools, communities, and alcohol outlets. Primary challenges included the complexity of multi-sectorial programming, varying degrees of political will, and difficulties monitoring outcomes over the short duration of the program.
Currently, feminist activists are engaged in problematizing and reframing “rights” claims in southern Africa. This article discusses three cases of such activism, all of which show the limitations but also the potential of using rights claims to transform gender cultures and gain economic and gender justice. These cases involve the successful challenge to the gender discriminatory 1982 Botswana Citizenship Act; the policy shift of Women and Law in Southern Africa from a focus on legal rights advocacy to a synthesis of rights and kinship-based claims; and initiatives by South African gender activists to confront the contradiction between the country’s constitutional guarantees of women’s rights and high levels of gender violence.
Finding ways for people and wildlife to coexist requires affording both parties access to critical resources and space, but also a behavioural change by both to avoid conflict. We investigated pathway use in a population of free-ranging African elephants Loxodonta africana in the Okavango Panhandle, Botswana that share their range with humans in a multi-use, heterogeneous landscape. We used detailed ground surveys to identify and map elephant movement pathways, and mixed-effect models to explore factors influencing elephant numbers and movement behaviour on and around these pathways. We found deviation in pathway use among the elephant population, suggesting behavioural adaptations to avoid human-associated risk: avoiding pathways near settlements, particularly near larger settlements; avoiding pathways close to cultivated land; and adopting a safety-in-numbers strategy when moving through areas of human use. Our findings suggest there is opportunity to capitalize on risk avoidance by elephant populations, to minimize resource-use overlap and reduce conflict between humans and elephants. We discuss a strategy that involves ensuring appropriate protection of elephant pathways in land-use planning, using development-free buffer zones, combined with mitigation techniques along the interface with agricultural lands to increase risk levels and reinforce human–elephant interface boundaries. We recommend further examination of the use of landscape-level mitigation techniques that encourage elephants to use pathways away from human activity and help define spatial boundaries for management of human–elephant conflict in multi-use landscapes.
The translocation of predators believed to be preying on livestock is often perceived as a more humane and desirable method of removal than lethal control. However, the survival of translocated predators and the effectiveness of translocation in reducing conflict at the removal site are often not documented. We assessed farmers’ perceptions of the efficacy of translocation at reducing livestock and game-stock losses in Botswana, and determined the post-release survival of translocated cheetahs Acinonyx jubatus, the most threatened large felid in Africa. Eighteen percent of translocated cheetahs survived 1 year (n = 11). The low survival rate was thought to be related to homing behaviour and wide-ranging movements post release. The majority of farmers who had translocated a problem predator from their farm within the 12 months prior to the study perceived that the translocation was ineffective at reducing stock losses, both in the short (59.1%) and long term (63.6%, n = 22). At least one of the monitored cheetahs continued to predate livestock after release. In light of the low survival, significant financial costs and failure to reduce stock losses, we conclude that the translocation of problem cheetahs in Botswana should no longer be conducted, and that conflict mitigation methods should focus on techniques that promote coexistence of predators and humans.
The later African Iron Age saw a shift to centralised polities, as seen in the expansion of hegemonies such as Great Zimbabwe. During this period, trade with the interior of Africa became increasingly centrally controlled. Excavations at the site of Kaitshàa, on the edge of the Makgadikgadi saltpans in Botswana, have revealed how a small settlement based on prehistoric salt trading was able to take its place in the Indian Ocean trade network before such centralised polities arose. Using compositional analysis of glass beads, the authors argue that this site in the central Kalahari Desert exemplifies the role of heterarchy and indigenous agency in the evolving political economy of the subcontinent.