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Title: Kgotla  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Moot hall, Community, List of Botswana-related topics
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


A kgotla is a public meeting, community council or traditional law court, especially in villages of Botswana, usually referred to as a customary court. It is usually headed by the village chief or headman, and community decisions are always arrived at by consensus. Anyone at all is allowed to speak, and no one may interrupt while someone is "having their say". In fact there is a Setswana saying that the highest form of war is dialogue (ntwa kgolo ke ya molomo). Because of this tradition, Botswana claims to be one of the world's oldest democracies.

The custom of allowing everyone their full say is carried over into meetings of all kinds, from discussing a bill to a staff briefing, and can mean meetings last many hours.

Kgotla can also refer to the place where such meetings are held. This can range from a few chairs under a shade canopy to a permanent ground with covered seating. In both senses, the term is a loan word in Botswana English from Setswana, where it means court.

In South African English, a lekgotla is a meeting called by government to discuss strategy planning. The term is a loan word from Sesotho, again meaning court.


  • Botswana Embassy, Japan Botswana culture
  • Company providing management trainings with Kgotla

External links

  • [1] Retrieved 21 May 2008. Example of use in South African context


  • (2002) Oxford Dictionary of South African English
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