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A new initiative aims to preserve Botswana’s history in a series of mobile apps.
The Heritage Series of apps, by Botswana’s own Intellegere Media, delivers an app for each major tribe in the country, telling their story and charting their history.
Itumeleng Garebatshabe, Intellegere Holdings founder and CEO, explains in a statement that acquiring digital information is a cornerstone of the project:
The idea began in 2012 when we launched the Project 120 which was aimed at creating mobile applications which were fully focused on Botswana. The idea was to preserve our culture through mobile apps, first; for the future generations to know their history and heritage and secondly; to share our Setswana heritage with the world because there isn’t enough digital information about the Batswana tribes readily available.
The initiative saw Intellegere Media team up with historian Dr Jeff Ramsay to gather information about Botswana’s tribes, then packaging the info into a series of apps.
The result is that the BaKalanga, BaNgwaketse, BaKgatla baga Mmanaana and BaSubia tribes all have free apps, available for Android and Windows Phone. Intellegere Media confirmed that iOS versions were in the works too.
The company said that the apps were closing a “big information gap” in Botswana’s history as the gathered information was only available via books, “many of which are not readily available any longer”.
As for the apps themselves? Well, they’re pretty much glorified ebooks, delivering text and nothing in the way of multimedia (photos, audio or video clips). Baby steps, then?
Garebatshabe acknowledged the shortcomings of current apps, but revealed plans for the future:
Mobile apps are making learning about our own culture much easier, for instance Botswana has mobile penetration of 150% which potentially means more Batswana can read about their own history. We however face the ever looming challenge of financing these initiatives.
Intellegere Media has funded all development and publishing this point, however to take the Heritage Series to the next stage we are looking for more support. Future developments of the Heritage app series will include pictorial and video apps of some of the monuments and heritages sites in Botswana. These new apps will add to the existing galaxy of Heritage Series Apps.