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Department unveils national symbols

National symbols are an iconic representation of the people’s values and history, acting director of department of forestry and range resources, Mr Joshua Moloi has said.

Speaking at the launch of four national symbols in Gaborone on May 12, Mr Moloi said the four fauna and flora symbols were Morula tree, Sengaparile flower, Motshikiri grass and national bird Kgori (Kori Basturd).

He said the national symbols were selected after consultation with the stakeholders, looking at their cultural heritage and usefulness to the nation. “National symbols promote unity in a country in ensuring conservation of species associated with Botswana,” he said.

The Morula tree (Sclerocarya birrea), he said was found in most areas around the country also known as ‘tree of life’ due to its substantial benefits.

He said historically Morula was useful as its fruits were used to make juice, beer and medicinal attributes from the tree barks as well as making furniture like sledges. Mr Moloi said Motshikiri grass (eragrotis pallens) was used in Botswana to thatch traditional huts, nowadays the grass was mainly used for thatching and decoration in lodges while some harvest the grass for sale to get some money for a living.

The national flower, Sengaparile (Harpagophytum procumbens) or devil’s claw, which was found in the arid parts of the country symbolised Botswana as a strong nation, he said.

Mr Moloi noted that Sengaparile was famous for its medicinal capabilities in dealing with ailments such as Athritis, gout, muscle pains, liver, gall bladder and others.

For his part, the deputy director, department of Wildlife and National Parks, Dr Cyril Taolo, said Kgori (Kori Bustard) is one of the two species of these birds found in Africa with the scientific name Kori derived from the tswana name Kgori.
Kgori (Kori Bustard), he said was regarded as an iconic bird species with its amazing flying capabilities though large bird.

Dr Taolo said Kgori (Kori Bustard) was associated with royalty in Botswana since it was eaten by royals only and it was believed that if consumed by ordinary people they would suffer mental illness.

However, Dr Taolo said the Kgori (Kori Bustard) was experiencing conservation challenges and nearly threatened globally.

He stressed that conservation was primarily at the forefront for making species national symbols as well as branding purposes, and also highlighted that the zebra was now a brand in Botswana and internationally as one of Botswana’s national symbols.

He said the national symbols must be protected for the future generation by Batswana at large not government only. ENDS

Source : BOPA

Author : Kedirebofe Pelontle

Location : GABORONE

Event : National symbols launch

Date : May 13 Tue,2014

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