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  1. Adrian Wills*,
  2. Howard Moffat
  1. *Consultant Neurologist, Queens Medical Centre, Nottingham;
  2. Consultant Physician, Princess Marina Hospital, Gaborone, Botswana; E-mail: adewills61{at}


The state of Africa is a scar on the conscience of the world.

(A. Blair)

Men make their own history, but under conditions directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past. The traditions of dead generations weigh like a nightmare on the brains of the living.

(K. Marx)

Literature has the power to change lives, and having read about the adventures of Mma Ramotswe, Botswana’s only fictional female detective, one of us (AW) was inspired to visit the country of Mma Ramotswe’s birth – almost unique amongst African nations by virtue of prolonged post-independence political stability and lack of civil strife. Imagine his surprise to discover that the fictional Dr Moffat, who was instrumental in hastening Mma Ramotswe’s recovery from severe depression, was based on a real character (HM)!

Botswana gained independence from Britain in 1966. The imperial legacy consisted of a couple of schools and a few miles of tarred

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