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Central Africa Time Zone UTC+02:00

 Capital City Gaborone

Currency Botswanan Pula BWP

National Day  30 September

His Excellency Mr John G. Ndebele Seakgosing
High Commissioner
Botswana High Commission
6 Stratford Place
London W1C 1AY
T: 020 7499 0031/020 7647 1000
F: 020 7495 8595/020 7409 7382
E: bohico@govbw.com

BOTSWANA HIGH COMMISSIONER John G. Ndebele Seakgosing arrived in London in December 2018 with his wife Lulu.  The following day, many relatives including his three daughters arrived for the holidays helping to ease them into UK life. Raised in a Christian environment, he confesses to enjoying “journeying through the Bible preparing Christian sermons,” although he doesn’t have any “pulpit assignments” on the agenda while in the UK.  Having also published a drama book in his language, Setswana, he also loves writing short stories and novels.

Mr Seakgosing and his siblings “enjoyed a tender upbringing” with his uncle, a Reverend of the United Congregation Church of Southern Africa, and his wife. “Our mother died when I was about four years old, but the love I enjoyed from my guardians… never gave me any reason to miss the love of a biological parent.”  Growing up in a low-income family in a small village, he attributes his educational achievements as “consequences of personal perseverance.”

After completing secondary education, the High Commissioner got a job in Lusaka in Northern Rhodesia (as it was then known), later progressing to become the Records Supervisor under the office of the President. While in Lusaka, he had an opportunity to study Medicine in Moscow, followed by a post-graduate diploma in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, “a profession [he] loves dearly to date.”  After three years working as a young doctor in the main hospitals in Gaborone and Francistown back home, he left public service, venturing into a private clinic and a pharmacy.  During this time, he became very active in politics as a Counsellor in Francistown, and later as a member of Parliament when he became Botswana’s Minister for Health, a post he held from 2009–14. Working “ably and humbly in an ever-challenging political environment, he visited many countries, gaining exposure to people of different walks of life, and enjoyed opportunities to exchange ideas with leaders of various different thoughts.”

As a healthcare professional for over 40 years, Mr Seakgosing gathered a great deal of experience at local and international levels, but in 2015, he began to enjoy his retirement, “cattle and small stock farming.  But this was not meant to be, as in 2018 the President appointed me to this diplomatic post. I was happy to accept the challenge.”

As High Commissioner in the UK, Mr Seakgosing’s portfolio is full: he is accredited to 11 countries, as well as the Commonwealth. “Botswana has a long standing relationship with Great Britain,” he declares, “right from the days when our Three Chiefs came here to ask for the protection of our country and people against annexation by the Boers and Cecil John Rhodes, an appeal that ended with our country declared a Protectorate. We remain thankful to the British for this brotherly and sisterly gesture.”

He’s quick to “pay tribute to [his] predecessors with their vast diplomatic experience. Along with the professional, energetic and hard-working members of my staff, I have a reliable base from which to share knowledge and experience for the future growth and expansion of the mission.” 

He “intends to maintain the harmonious and good working relationship with the UK.  I will be on the lookout to harness new opportunities, mainly to boost Botswana’s economy in trade and tourism. I also plan to explore other valuable avenues with countries who have bilateral agreements with Botswana.”

In terms of Brexit, Mr Seakgosing says the “one main connecting issue between Botswana and the UK is trade, which we are going to have to re-visit.  But I am hopeful that Brexit will be an amicable steppingstone between Botswana and the UK for better things to come.”

So what does the High Commissioner think is Botswana’s greatest diplomatic challenge? “Management of international relations is a tricky exercise; it needs trained staff to perform their duty with all the perfection needed,” he notes. “My country has limited qualified personnel to drive the diplomatic engine.  But the shortage is receiving satisfactory redress, and we are hopeful that soon it will be a problem of the past.”

Presenting credentials to Her Majesty at Buckingham Palace has certainly been a career highlight for the High Commissioner, made all the more special by his vivid childhood memories as a member of the Boy Scout Association. “Our parades began with the national anthem God Save our Gracious King, which in 1952 changed to God Save our Gracious Queen.  This transformation from the British subject to the Botswana citizen was a metamorphosis I will never forget.  These are outstanding historic events that remain unforgettable in one’s mind.”


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