When the world was in the throes of the pandemic, Botswana had it relatively easier. Yes, our lives changed with lockdowns, alcohol bans, home-schooling, mask-wearing and frequent sanitising, but looking at what was happening in other countries, we were luckier. But this year, cases have increased and alongside them, devastating losses. Ironically, as many countries in the world have started to find a glimmer of hope in the vaccine, we have continued to experience heartache with many hospitals and mortuaries filled to capacity, daily funerals, for the young and old, and still too few vaccines to go around. The last few months have felt dark – our smiles are less bright, our laughs hollow, our condolences empty. I have to keep reminding myself how important it is to stay positive and focus on what I can control. And to have faith that things will improve, that we will get vaccinated and that one day the pandemic will be over.
In need of some upliftment, a few weeks ago I designed a 25K route that took me past various places of worship. I tried my best to incorporate different faiths. What I love about Botswana is that although it is considered a Christian nation, there is no state religion and its constitution allows people to practice the religion of their choice. There is no conflict between different groups and the curriculum in many schools provides an overview of varied faiths as well as celebrations of special days. The first stop on my run was the beautiful Sri Balaji Hindu Temple in Marapoathutlhwa. The early morning sun was shining on it, highlighting its intricate carvings.
I then headed towards the Sebele Mall, where there is an unfinished temple. I don’t have more information on it but I can’t wait to see how it looks when complete – already, it seems majestic.
As I ran past Sebele Mall, I could see one of the glistening golden domes of the Sikh Temple. It disappeared as I crossed the railway, but soon emerged again – always such a gorgeous sight to behold. This is close to my dad’s house so I took a quick pit stop before continuing on my run.
From here, I headed into town where there are several churches/ mosques in close vicinity of each other. First up, was Christ the King Roman Catholic Cathedral which is the church my father belongs to and also where my daughter Kaia was a flower girl twice – first at my friend’s wedding and then at my cousin’s a couple of years later. The Anglican Cathedral sits at the corner of the Princess Marina Circle and down the road from it towards the UB Circle is one of the older (if not oldest) mosques in Gaborone – the Jamia Masjid.
I then made my way to Independence Road, to the newer Lutheran Church. I say “newer” but it’s been there for maybe 15 years now? The smaller, older one is where I was confirmed when I was 15 years old, my mum being Lutheran.
Then there is the Methodist Church – I love it’s structure, with its high pitched roof and generous overhang. Close by, there’s the very simple church – the St. Paul’s Apostolic Faith Mission Church, the Seventh Day Adventist Church (no photo as there were several worshippers heading into church), as well as Trinity Church with its prominent bell tower.
The more traditional church structures, are most definitely my favourite. But the tour wouldn’t be complete without inclusion of the more modern buildings of the newer Christian denominations – Assemblies of God and the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God.
There are several other churches, mosques and temples around town, but those would have to be covered in another tour. In fact, even on this route, there were a few more churches, but stopping for photo ops would have made my 3-hour run even longer! I’m not sure what I expected to feel – but my head and heart felt a bit lighter after this run.
“Faith is unseen but felt, faith is strength when we feel we have none, faith is hope when all seems lost.” – Catherine Pulsifer
I hope you enjoyed this tour of different places of worship in Gaborone! Is your church represented here? Do you prefer traditional or modern architecture? Does your city boast religious diversity? Which church/religion did you not see that you would like me to look for?
I’m joining Kooky Runner and Zenaida on their link up, Tuesday Topics. I’m also joining the Runner’s Roundup with Mile By Mile, Coach Debbie Runs, Confessions of a Mother Runner, Runs with Pugs, and Laura Norris Running! Be sure to read their blogs and catch up with other runners from around the world.