Social change is the foremost indication of revolution in a civilisation or culture with its enduring influences. These noteworthy alterations in social values yield insightful social significances. Some of these chief variations include Industrial Revolution, emergence of the feminist movements, and attempts to obliterate all kinds of oppression and discrimination. The inspiring members of the society contribute highly to social change. This has given birth to corresponding theories of change, including the evolutionary, functionalist, and conflict theories. Each of them encompasses resistance to change, as a fundamental aspect, where many people feel discomposure and defenceless due to potential changes. Today, social problems around humanity include alcoholic abuse, impudence towards elders, rash driving, and use of abusive language in public places, wastage of inadequate resources, disparagement with false media statements, and vandalising of properties. Botswana, a landlocked state, is hit by several social issues. HIV is the most threatening issue for the country today. The region is on top in terms of lethal infections rates; it experiences declining marriage rates, alcoholic abuse. The new laws by the government, in turn, promise to improve the women status by implementing modern economic patterns. Urbanisation is another pattern of socio-economic factors that plays a significant role in social change. In Botswana, social factors are highly disturbed. It is notable that cultural ideas, ideologies, norms, and values set the direction for social change in the modern times. This essay illustrates how Botswana is fighting the war against freedom, self-determination, growth, and security. Generally, traditional ideas and values play an integral role in social change or sometimes act as a barrier in the way of successful change. Promotion of equality and democracy is influenced by ideational culture that is the traditional basis of Botswana. Another pattern of interest that this essay addresses is highlighting the contradictions and social problems of today’s Botswana, like racism, gender inequality, and their corresponding outcomes that affect the social change negatively.
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In the modern times, three most influential factors of social change are credited to ideas, technology, and associations. In broader terms, sources of social change can be ideological, material, or structural. It has been assessed that the process of social change is influenced by internal and external factors. Botswana has been rated as the world’s highest HIV prevalence country with a most recent figure of 350,000 infected individuals out of 2 million citizens, representing 17% of the general population (Kebonang, 2012). This demonstrates a drastic social change in Botswana’s society. In contemporary times, the illegitimate birth rates have mounted in the region. Although, no statistical figures are available, there is evidence for increased number of single mothers in Botswana. The government of Botswana amended the country’s Criminal Code of 1998 to halt the spread of HIV. According to Casimir (2009), AIDS and problems related to urbanisation and modernisation have relatively taken a little but rapid time period to swing in the region. In Botswana, situations have highly been changed in past decades due to environmental conditions, posing a big threat to livelihood of citizens. Factors, like poor soil and unreliable rainfall, have forced people to adapt to drastic ways of living. Rural-urban disparity is another factor that triggers people to change their existing patterns of living. Furthermore, the Government has initiated various programs to cope with this life threatening disease, but no significant outcomes are achieved. Ranging from a number of programs, like National Antiretroviral Program and free ART (Antiretroviral Therapy), the government has been continuously making efforts to bring this social bug into control, but all in vain. Like other constitutions, a bill of right is covered with the Constitution Note (22) of Botswana. HIV has posed big challenges for the nation where other consequences are multiplied by macroeconomic factors, like labour, human development, and budgetary issues (Kebonang, 2012). This alters the whole setup and lasting impacts of social change, ultimately leaving their imprints. Thus, Botswana requires collective efforts and leadership to bring a positive societal change. Besides, for a progressive social change, momentous changes are needed on systematic level. Money is not the only indicator of bringing change and neither may it be carried out by individuals alone. For a progressive social change, collective efforts are required, and similarly, to cope with HIV only collaborative attempts may be fruitful.
Large scale surveys conducted in the region, in 2004 and 2005, revealed compelling evidences of HIV and found ‘gender inequality’ as one of the causes behind the today’s situation in the country. The instilled thought that males are superior to female counterparts have drastically changed the social scenario in Botswana. This has ultimately developed lack of confidence in women, as they view themselves as a separate part of society with no capability of influencing the economy. Food insecurity and poverty are critical assertions of Botswana society with over 70% families headed by women. Gender inequality makes this situation even more complicated. High unemployment rates and inadequate access to jobs are observed more in women than men. Food insecurity is a highlighted issue for rural areas, and the government fails to cope with this issue despite several social and economic programs (International Monetary Fund, 2010). The social change in Botswana is also endorsed to the high prevalence rate of HIV/AIDS, most frequent droughts, underprivileged governance, and feminine discrimination. Despite being the world’s largest diamond holder, the social condition of the region is not admirable. Individuals suffering from HIV are either those with low incomes, or others who manage to generate revenues to pay for medication as long as they live. In short, division of labour by gender uproots social disturbance in Botswana. It has been found that upholding women’s right may gradually bring a positive social change. In politics, women are giving productive outcomes; however, gender inequality and bias in Botswana are persistent. Women’s movements are quite tenacious in the country, and the reason behind is identified as the borders set for them by the party bosses. Despite all this, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is encouraging female workers to participate in politics if they are competent (Geisler, 2004). The potential issues and consequences of HIV in Botswana are as serious as in neighbouring countries. It poses a great threat to country economy and societal situation. AIDS education program to prevent the epidemic disease has been introduced by the government. Interestingly, art and music are used as remedial tools, to cope with drastic situation in the region. The struggle for freedom and social change is also attributed to musicians.
Mbaiwa (2004) argues that one of the major causes behind adverse social change in Botswana society lies in the way of living that is adopted by the local inhabitants. Natural disasters, like floods, droughts, and fatal diseases, pushed the society toward poverty. People are rushing toward cities, and the burden on government is increasing. Some alternative methods are used by the government, including an inclination toward unconventional approaches, like diversification of rural revenues from agriculture production. Mbaiwa (2004) further revealed that basket making may prove to be a turning point in improving the rural financial situation, which, in turn, may improve the living standards. Botswana may adapt the challenging dynamics of the world if only the country successfully sacrifices the negative influences of modernism without losing cultural identity and values. Bringing a progressive social change is not a task to be accomplished within a glimpse of an eye. It would require hard work, commitment and acceptance of some mandatory adjustments that may prove to be painful. After passing through a critical situation like this, Botswana may successfully undergo the progressive social change by combating the current social issues.
Alcohol abuse is another underlined social issue in Botswana. Government intervention and alcohol levy are some measures to bring society to balance. Levy is imposed to discourage and fight against the alcoholic abuse and minimise its severe influence. In 2010, the government increased alcohol levy rate by 10% that was 30% in 2008 on its inception. Alcohol levy is encouraged by the government and channelled by the levy on Alcoholic Beverages Fund Order, 2008 that was amended in 2010 (Pitso, & Obot, 2011). In another attempt to reduce alcoholic abuse and support cultural roots, the country administrators initiated some active interventions, like cutting off operation hours in the drink bars, awareness campaigns to disseminate the deadly impacts of alcohol and modest tariff rates to discourage local drinking patterns. In Botswana, the festive season is marked as increased alcoholic consumption period. It has formed a tradition that is passed on from one generation to another. Botswana’ government is criticised because of poor administration; however, the alcohol control measures are rationale. As illustrated, government made an attempt to prevent alcohol abuse to reduce delinquency, accidents, and stop HIV. National survey findings in 2008 identified that the alcohol addiction in young children of 13 years old was as high as 18% that further rose to 72% by the time they reached 17 (Mbaiwa, 2011). All these evidences show clearly that drug addiction and related social ailments in Botswana is a big threat to nation’s being anti-social and developing a criminal society. Women homicides, child abuse, death on the road by accidents and violence also take their roots in alcohol abuse. The government, therefore, has been taking serious note of declining social status of the country and announced levy acts for a balanced society.
Casimir (2009), however, contended that environmental risks and their transitional processes play a major role in social change. The environmental sociologists evaluate that environmental sources are also linked with social changes. For example, the author illustrated that social change from Botswana’s perspective may be divided into two broad categories. The first - the adoption of the drought-affected situation by rural households, and the second - varying impression of risk in rural and state communities that leads to growing reliance on external support and relief schemes. These changes are further followed by the most highlighted issues of Botswana, like rapid modernism, HIV, and urbanisation. This has led to the most radical alteration of Botswana’s society in decades. Increase in morality and decline in life expectancy are hindering the social reconstruction of the state. The rate of capable workforce is declining, and urbanisation proves to become an important factor in social change. Traditional rural ways are gradually immersed by the urban modern discernments, and life styles are also altered. It is obvious that urbanisation encompasses a rapid growth of cities. Casimir (2009) further states that the annual growth rate of only the capital city of Botswana is recorded at 8%. However, in terms of social change, the qualitative nature of life either in cities or villages matters largely. Another serious note has been observed in increasing orientation toward employment, training, and progression on job competition in Botswana. For nation building, skill development has become very critical. Botswana has remained an uneven society with gender inequality in traditional culture and control of livestock. In Botswana, rural-urban disparities are on their increasing levels where urbanisation situation is improved more rapidly than the rural parts. Increased mortality rate in villages, scarcity of job opportunities, and less access to amenities stimulate people to seek their livings in cities. According to statistical figures and evidences, target saving rates are not yet acquired by Botswana. Majority of people are suffering either from TB or AIDS, so those trying to save an amount for hard times fail to accomplish their plans. As an addiction of alcohol, combating the severe diseases and bad consumption habits has lowered the chances for savings. Botswana requires an enduring vision to ensure long term survival. At this time, a decision like this may appear to be very effective. The country can build a successful nation only if shared cooperation is maintained and assured. Botswana was among the poorest regions of the world at the beginning of its freedom, but today, abundant mineral resources are explored and sound financial management tactics are implemented in the country’s affairs. Substantial expenditures are spent on contending the current economic ailments and social issues. In order to protect the security of nation, sound policies are needed today.
Botswana dress code is another attempt of social influence that has presently been inferred by the government. Women are said to dress modestly and graciously instead of turning up in clothes that uncover body and can attract the opposite gender. The nation is fighting against sustainable human development and societal issues. Strict actions are taken against clothing that exposed back, cleavage, or belly. Likewise, men dress code has also been applied in a similar way. According to Botswana legislation, short and tight skirts are strictly disregarded. The dress code for men is ordered as long-sleeved shirts. Religious and traditional headgears are allowed for females, and torn, wrinkled or sleeveless dresses are sternly forbidden. Employees in breach of dress code are said to get ready for unspecified disciplinary actions. The President’s strict rules show decision making by impulse and directive reliance. By addressing the social behaviour, the President declared that public service employees are bound to dress decently that illuminates credit on the public service.
Government policies toward dress code, alcohol abuse prevention, and orientations at the workplace and other fields are justified by higher authorities as social development plans to inspire positive movements in the society. These administrative parties, ruling authorities, and many other members vindicate that cities are promoting modernism out of boundaries. They maintain that the dimension is not positively directed, rather disappointedly narrowing the societal norms and denigrating the culture. Botswana government has, therefore, initiated a range of rural development projects to encourage citizens and to prosper rural parts. Two common reasons and justifications are presented by the higher authorities for this act. First, increasingly damaging social condition on the name of ‘modernism’, which is in turn engulfing people in a negative way; and second, for reducing the burden and high density of population in cities (News 24, 2010). The government has, therefore, upgraded rural area development program to fill the gap and provide access to fundamental social amenities. Agriculture, road plans, land, livestock, and labour have been the major focal themes for administering bodies to develop rural areas. Rewards at the workplace should be increased to motivate the existing workforce. Another aim should be to increase the food productivity and plan policies for rural areas where lack of access to fundamental facilities have made the life stiff. Since, technological advancement is also a persistent part of social change, Botswana needs to adopt high technology practices and promote research and development facilities. Government is encouraging citizens to work and prosper in the rural parts. To bring progressive change, development of service industries can prove to be a turning point. Media can be used as an important source of information delivery, to boost the social condition of the region.
One of the causes of social change carries materialistic purpose. Economic production and technological advancements are few examples of materialistic perspective of social change. Technological change also brings significant change for a nation as a whole. In Botswana, the Environmentally Sound Technology (EST), biogas benefits; and other similar techniques and technologies may be well adopted by the region. In Botswana, there is an abundance of solar energy, wind and water resources. Potential of this source utilisation is still open if technology is implemented. The government is encouraging citizens to find their livings in rural areas; such rural development projects are under consideration today. Agricultural technologies are not yet highly prevailing in villages, poverty level is high, and energy sectors are not prioritised. A great deal of work is required to evaluate the potentials of energy efficiency that may change the situation to a commendable level (The Government of Botswana, 2004).
Throughout this essay, it has been examined that social change alters civilisations and cultures significantly. In case of Botswana, the social change has been a dominated part of individuals’ lives, as well as social institutions. For past few decades, some rapid social changes have taken place in Botswana, but, unfortunately, these social changes have generated social dilemma. AIDS, alcohol abuse, urbanisation, and swift modernism are few examples. Botswana has passed through social changes with the passage of time, including environmental catastrophes, social variation, mounting population, and cultural diffusion. It is the responsibility of the government to lure people away from the traditional perception of alcohol. The Botswana government needs to construct recreational, and entertainment centres, promoting healthy activities instead of adopting far-reaching ways to compel them for a change. The process of change is interlinked with psychological progress that comes by consistently provided education and patience. The social issues of Botswana are, however, alarming. Increased HIV/AIDS, alcohol abuse, declining marriage rate and increasing the number of the single mother cases are some awful facts. To be more insightful, the social condition of Botswana demonstrates male dominance where women are of the second class status, leaving them powerless. This racial and ethnic behaviour has interpreted the social terms for Botswana residents in a different way shaping a society where change usually directs negative influences. The violence issues are the most burning problem for today’s women. Educational opportunities for women are lower, gender bias is higher, and the society desperately needs strong leadership. Besides, the government can use effective drought management techniques to cope with economic condition that has deep roots in social circumstances.
To conclude, this century has witnessed amplified advances in science and technology. Life on other planets is explored, fatal diseases are eradicated, atomic power is unleashed, yet culturally some societies failed to pace with the sophisticated ways of life. Botswana, just like many other underdeveloped or poor regions on the globe, is enriched with natural resources and the intellects, but it lacks social order that has persistently created the worst scenario. To cope with the situation, not only social aspect of life, but economic, political and cultural roots should be refined to develop the nation. It is a major fact that revolution originates from the common people of society and not political elite; these ordinary people change the way they live and think.
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