Cultural and religious traditions among the Shona, Ndebele and smaller groups of Tonga, Shangaan and Venda have similarities in regard to marriage practices and the belief in supernatural ancestors.
This double meaning allows for both the expression of strong civic national sentiments and debate about the dominance of Tswana people and ideology over the broader population.
Most of the country is a high to middle veld plateau with extensive areas of wooded savanna and a temperate climate; the low veld of the Limpopo and the Zambezi Valley is hotter and has less rain.
On the Mozambique border, the only mountainous area, the Eastern Highlands, runs from Nyanga in the north to Chimanimani in the south.
The double meaning has also permitted the fiction, widely accepted in outside reporting, that Botswana's success as a multiparty liberal democracy is based on an ethnically homogeneous population, when abundant state resources based upon diamond mining, responsibly and equitably distributed, are the more likely source of stability. Bordering on South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Zambia, it is 224,607 square miles (581,730 square kilometers) in area, about the same size as France.
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.