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The capital city today, Gaborone, was built on a village site in the southeastern corner of the country at independence, near the borders of several of the Tswana polities that dominated the country. Botswana's population has grown from 600,000 people in 1971 to an estimated 1,600,000 in 2000.
While very high growth rates in the 1970s and 1980s have declined, high birth rates and declining infant mortality have led to a population structure heavily skewed toward young people: 43 percent of the population was under fifteen in 1991.
In government rhetoric, it refers to all citizens of Botswana.
But the word also refers to ethnically "Tswana" people, as distinct from the other ethnic groups present in the country.
Into the 1990s, much urban housing was financed and built by the government, and repeated a few basic patterns, including one that retained a courtyard structure, which later became unpopular.
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.
This fiction may indeed have supported the building of an officially nonethnic, state-oriented society, but has come under sharp challenge in the 1990s, as minority groups request the privileges of official recognition. Two-thirds of the country is comprised of the Kalahari Desert, which is covered with grasses and scrub but has scarce surface water.
Prior to independence, the British administered the Protectorate from Mafiking in South Africa.
Bot swana means "place of Tswana" in the dominant national language ( Set swana), and the citizenry are called Bat swana, or Tswana people.
The term Batswana, however, bears a double meaning.
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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).