Botswana

MSP MISSION IN BOTSWANA

Botswana is in south-central Africa, bounded by Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Most of the country is near-desert, with the Kalahari occupying the western part of the country. The eastern part is hilly, with salt lakes in the north.  The earliest inhabitants of the region were the San, who were followed by the Tswana. About half the country today is ethnic Tswana. The term for the country's people, Batswana, refers to national rather than ethnic origin.  Although Botswana is rich in diamonds, it has high unemployment and stratified socioeconomic classes, yet Botswana remains one of the wealthiest and most stable countries on the continent.

The Missionary Society of St Paul of Nigeria began her missionary activities in the Southern African country of Botswana in 1990. The move to get MSPs into Botswana was initiated in 1989 by Monsignor Godwin Akpan who was Acting Superior General of the Society, together with two members of the council, Frs. Joseph Ehi Otoide of blessed memory and Christian Alimaji. These three men visited Botswana. There was only the Diocese of Gaborone in the country at the time and they discussed with the bishop of the Diocese, Bishop Boniface Tshosa Setlalekgosi and that opened the way for the Missionary Society of St. Paul into Botswana.

The Missionaries of St Paul arrived in Botswana on October 3, 1990 and they were four in number.  These four were Frs. Andrew Toyinbo, Edward Obi, Bernard Ngwu and Noel Effiong. At their arrival they were sent to the language school to learn Setswana, the language most widely spoken and which is used very often for communication.  Other MSPs joined the mission over the years from 1992 to 2000.  They were Frs. Anietie Ukanide, Peter Paasse, Innocent Mbeagbu, Emmanuel Efodigbue, as well as Gervase Mbanude and Donatus Mgbeajuo who came here in 1989.  On 27 June 2001 Fr Paul Dadson arrived Botswana Mission. This was followed by the arrival of Fr Camillus Ogaraku on 5 January 2007 and Fr Augustine Nwagbologu 19 October 2009.  Every MSP who has worked here has had to learn Setswana language in order to do his missionary work.  At his arrival, every MSP is sent to a language school for a period of between four and six months to learn Setswana before he is assigned to a parish.

MSP ministry in Botswana is primary evangelization, meaning by that, that the Missionaries of St. Paul work in parishes and try to build faith communities.  This we do through retreats and our strong involvement in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in the Diocese of Gaborone where we work.  We are also involved with trying to raise local vocations in parishes as the young people are not very interested in the priesthood or religious life.