Botswana: never aggressive, never espousing violence . . .

 An extract from page 61 in the paperback edition of Tea Time for the Traditionally Built (2009) by Alexander McCall Smith – a civilised man 

Mma Ramotswe reflects: 

“ Botswana had no enemies, a fact which was a source of both relief – who would want enemies? – and pride. 

Her country had never been aggressive, had never espoused violence, had never taken sides in the squabbles of others. 

She wondered how people could sleep if they knew that somebody, in their name, was dropping bombs on other people or breaking into their homes and taking them away somewhere.  

Why did they do it? 

Why was it necessary to kill and maim other people when the other people would be just the same as yourself – people who wanted to live with their families and go to work in the morning and have enough to eat at the end of the day?  

That was not much to ask of the world, even if for many the world could not grant even that small request.”


Alexander McCall Smith was born in Zimbabwe and educated both there and in Scotland. He worked as a Professor in Law in Scotland after graduating, also returning to the University of Botswana to work for several years in the Law Faculty he helped to set up there. He retired from his post as Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh in 2005, in order to concentrate on his writing career. He has been a visiting Professor at various other universities including in Italy and the USA. He is an international authority on genetics and advisor to UNESCO and to the British government on bioethics.

In 1998, he wrote The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, a novel about Precious Ramotswe, an amateur sleuth turned professional detective in Botswana. It became the first of a series of novels which have since become extremely popular worldwide, and have been translated into many languages.

Note: celebrating this country‘s civilised approach to defence does not imply that its social & economic practice is equally beneficial.


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