This national flag was adopted in 1966 to replace the Union Jack, as Botswana gained independence. The blue represents the precious rain-water. The black and white band represents the harmony between the different races of people who live in Botswana. The band also symbolises the stripes of the national animal, the Zebra.
DishesSeswaa, Malva pudding
Time 1 hour total
Effort 4/10
Rough cost £10 (using v good quality beef)
COUNTRY Botswana
Capital Gaborone
Population 2, 254,000 (145th largest)
Land mass 581, 730 km2 (47th largest)
Languages English, Setswana
Religions73% Christian


Botswana is a land-locked nation, bordering South Africa. It gained independence from the Commonwealth in September 1966 and since then has been a representative Republic, with consistent democratic elections. It has had the lowest perceived corruption rating in Africa since 1998 and has one of the highest GDP of African nations. Botswana has a large land-mass area with many national parks and is home to several endangered species. We were already a big fan of Botswana, thanks to Alexander McCall Smith’s book series ‘The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency’.

We cooked Seswaa, which is Botswana’s national dish. It is traditionally prepared by the men in the community as the beef is often pounded before it is cooked over the open fire. We served it with polenta mash as an ode to pap, which is the maize porridge eaten in Botswana for breakfast. We also cooked some of the Swiss chard from our garden! This was SO EASY to make as you literally just bung all the ingredients in the slow cooker. However, it developed a very rich flavour and the meat was so tender. Mwara recommends getting as good a cut of beef as your butcher has – just ask in the shop!

Bridget made a vegan version of Malva pudding. This is a jam, syrup-soaked sponge cake and it was, again, very easy to make and very tasty. We recommend up-ing the jam content for a bit more of a fruity taste. The dish was a lovely, gooey finish to the meal, reminiscent of school dinners hot syrup sponge.


Seswaa (beef stew)


  • 8OO grams of slow-cooking beef (go ask your local butcher!), in chunks
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 cups of water, enough to cover beef
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 5 bay leaves


  1. Chop up the steak into 2 inch cubes and place into your slow cooker (if you don’t have a slow cooker, you can use a large metal pot on the stove or an oven-proof dish with a lid).
  2. Add the other ingredients and pour the water over the top, until it just covers the other ingredients.
  3. Cover with the lid and cook on high for 4-5 hours. Check the beef at 4 hours – the Seswaa is cooked when the meat falls apart easily.
  4. Serve with polenta mash (pap) and greens!

Malva pudding (jam syrup sponge) *vegan option


  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb
  • 1 large egg *can substitute flax-seed egg
  • 1 cup milk *can substitute plant milk
  • 1 tbsp butter, melted *can substitute dairy-free butter/spread
  • 1 tbsp jam (any flavour!)
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar (cider vinegar works too)
  • Sauce = 1/4 cup butter *dairy-free, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 cup milk *plant milk


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F / 180 C.
  2. Cream the sugar and egg together with a whisk until the mixture is pale and fluffy.
  3. Sift all the dry ingredients into a large bowl.
  4. Mix the milk, jam, melted butter and vinegar together until well combined.
  5. Add both the dry ingredients and the wet into the original sugar/egg mixture and beat it well until fully incorporated.
  6. Pour into an oven-proof dish and bake for 25 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, stir the sauce ingredients together in a saucepan on a low heat.
  8. Take the cake out and use a skewer to poke holes in the top. Then pour the sauce over the top and bake for a further 20 minutes.
  9. Serve warm with cream. YUM!

Ke a leboga and see you in Brazil ! M + B x

#botswana #seswaa #malva #vegan #globalcuisine #travel #food

2 thoughts on “BOTSWANA

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