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Hastings Alumni Mag-Fall 2012

{ in brief } BOtsWAnA: tHe VieW frOM My WindOW UC Hastings faculty member the cattle have free rein of the left, the De Beers Corporation naomi roht-Arriaza spent the roads, highways, or wherever discovered diamonds. spring semester as a visiting else they like to go. This is a The country has lived professor at the University cattle-centered culture. Wealth largely from diamond wealth of botswana. now back at is measured in cattle, not ever since and has built itself UC Hastings, roht-Arriaza money. Wherever cattle roam, into a middle-income coun- shares a dispatch from the everything else stops and goes try. You can see the wealth: field, in which she describes around them. They even some- BMWs and Audis whiz past my the context, challenges, and times get onto the airfield. door. Not everyone is wealthy, rewards of her assignment. I have been teaching of course. Driving down my human rights law at the street, I see makeshift barber- T back. The monkeys— January. It’s been a challenge: driving schools set up on theshops, car washes, and evenUniversity of Botswana sincehe monkeys and cows are they’re Botswana’s squirrels— no books, little guidance, side of the road, under the swing through the thorn acacia and names I find hard to trees. But I haven’t yet seen the trees outside my window while pronounce. Still, my students grinding poverty of parts of the are interested and eager to African continent. learn, and when I can get Of course, there’s trouble them to overcome their shy- in paradise. Diamonds are ness and talk, they always say running out, and cattle and something interesting and tourism aren’t enough to make surprising. up for the lost revenues. There Botswana is a bit of an are rumblings from traditional anomaly in Africa. Due to chiefs who want to reinstate some brilliant maneuvering the old ways (including cor- by its traditional chiefs, it poral punishment of wayward was never formally colonized youth) and from lawyers by either the British or neigh- who argue that the country’s boring South Africa. It was 1960s–era constitution needs zA A considered a backwater, an updating. But while change is r r i A almost empty expanse of scrub coming, I’ll bet the cattle will t - O H desert with nothing to recom- keep wandering through the i r mend it. As soon as the British capital, just as they do now. n A O M f O The author in Africa at, yes, a warthog crossing. u r t e s y O c 6 fAll 2012


Hastings Alumni Mag-Fall 2012
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