|On tour there will be a number of opportunaties to visit a Cultural Village: Traditional architecture in Botswana is distinguished from modern architecture in three domains: the use of materials (mud/dung, wooden poles, thatch) that may be manufactured by members of a household; the round house form and/or thatched roofing; and/or the presence of a courtyard known as a lolwapa where much activity takes place. By contrast, modern architecture uses purchased materials (cement and bricks and roofing products) and involves the labor of specialized and commercial craftsmen, is square, and features rooms for specialized activities (bedrooms, kitchens). The traditional Tswana residential area is a compound, often housing several closely related family groups.
Households in the Tswana polities often maintained three residential sites: one in a village, one at agricultural holdings around the village periphery, and one farther out at the cattlepost. Cattleposts, where livestock are kept, are today sometimes complex compounds with several houses and nearby agricultural fields, and sometimes just an animal pen or two and a ramshackle shelter for the herder(s). Many urban residents today continue to maintain a house in a village of origin, and many men and some women also develop cattleposts. Villages are distinguished from towns and cities by a significant engagement in agriculture by residents, and by the political structure of the settlement. At the heart of a village is the chief's central court and public forum, known as a kgotla. The village is divided into wards, each of which also has a kgotla where a headman hears lower-level disputes and matters of ward concern are aired.
Urban areas have grown rapidly in Botswana since independence. In 1991, 46 percent of the population was urban, a percentage that continues to grow. Cities are centered by a downtown area of shops, businesses, and government offices. Some larger villages have come to be known as "urban villages" or "agro-towns."
Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions: At large public events, such as the opening of a new government building, and at weddings and funerals, men prepare the centerpiece: meat cooked in large iron pots until in shreds. Women prepare porridge and/ or rice, pumpkin/squash, and often cole slaw or beet salad, and people are served heaping plates of food, arguing to get more meat for themselves. Beer is often served at weddings, and ginger beer at other events; tea and fatcakes are prepared for weddings and funerals that have all-night components.