Unfairness seemed to be an inescapable feature of life, at least if you were Mma Makutsi from Bobonong in Northern Botswana, daughter of a man whose cattle had always been thin.

We all had to come from somewhere, and most of us came from somewhere not particularly impressive.

You could be proud to be a Motswana, because your country had never done anything of which to feel ashamed. It had conducted itself with complete integrity, even in times when it had to contend with neighbours in a state of civil war. It had always been honest, too, without that ruinous corruption that had shamed so many other countries in Africa, and which had bled away the wealth of an entire continent

‘See,’ said Mma Potokwani. ‘If you want to understand the world, just look out there. Those boys are just playing, but it’s very serious to them. They’re finding out who the leader is going to be. That tall boy there, you see him, he’s the leader. He’ll be doing the same thing in ten, twenty years’ time.’ ‘And the girls?’ asked Mma Ramotswe. ‘Why are they just standing there ?’ Mma Potokwani laughed. ‘They think the game is silly, but they would like to join in. They are watching the boys. Then they will work out some way of spoiling the boys’ fun. They will get better and better at that.’

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