Nata, in Botswana, is a village of 5000 people located on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Pans. Unfortunately, HIV/AIDS is having a devastating effect on the people of this small village. Botswana has the second highest HIV infection rate in Africa. The current rate of infection is 37% nationally and Nata's rate of infection is even higher. The pandemic has left Nata with over 400 orphans. Currently, nearly 50% of all pregnant women in Nata are HIV positive. Thankfully, Botswana has free Anti-Retroviral Therapy available for those with low CD4 (t-cell) counts. We also have a Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission program that has reduced the rate of infection from mother to child to about 5%. This website is dedicated to the people of Nata who despite enormous losses and challenges still have the courage and determination to fight the ravages of this pandemic.
This is where Botswana is located in Africa. (click map for larger image)
Rondavels in Nata.
The Nata river.
Geographically, Nata sits near the famous Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. These pans are one of the worlds largest breeding grounds for the greater and lesser flamingo. After the rains begin, up to one million flamingos return to the pans to breed. Nata is located 200km northwest of Francistown and 300km east of Maun and 300km south of Kasane. About 75% of the residents of Nata are from the Basarwa tribe. This tribe is also known as the bushmen or the san. The Basarwa speak the Sesarwa language while the national languages of Botswana are English and Setswana. Most residents live from farming maize, beans, sorghum and melons along with raising goats and cattle. Nearlly 80% of the homes do not have water and the villagers must walk to community stand pipes to collect water. Electricity is available in the village but most cannot afford the P9000 ( US$1,800) for the connection.
Formerly the British protectorate of Bechuanaland, Botswana adopted its
new name upon independence in 1966. Four decades of uninterrupted
civilian leadership, progressive social policies, and significant
capital investment have created one of the most dynamic economies in
Africa. Mineral extraction, principally diamond mining, dominates
economic activity, though tourism is a growing sector due to the
country's conservation practices and extensive nature preserves.
Botswana has one of the world's highest known rates of HIV/AIDS
infection, but also one of Africa's most progressive and comprehensive
programs for dealing with the
note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2006 est.)