The title of this column is an overgeneralization. However it does speak to a problem which confronts minority language activists: the concern with the position of Setswana, and the silence with the position of English, while English dominates all spheres of social contact in Botswana. Let us first outline the challenge. In Botswana Setswana is spoken by at least 78.2% of Batswana as a home language; an expression almost synonymous with mother tongue. English on the contrary is spoken by about 2.2% of the population as a home language. While this is the case, English dominates much of Botswana’s written texts and official discourse. Though spoken by a minute percentage at home, English is Botswana’s official language. It is the language of education from primary school to university. The Revised National Policy on Education (1994) states the following (page 59) “With respect to the teaching of languages in primary school, the Commission recommends that: a) English should be used as the medium of instruction from Standard 1 by 2000. c) in the meantime: i) the Ministry of Education should ensure immediately that the present policy on using English as the medium of instruction from Standard 5 is adhered to in practice. ii) the change from Setswana to English as the medium of instruction should take place in Standard 4 from 1995. iii) an accelerated programme of in-service training should be undertaken to improve the teaching of English as a subject from Standard 1 with emphasis on oral communication. iv) teachers should increase the use of English from Standard 1 onwards in teaching Mathematics and Science. With respect to the teaching of languages in primary school a) English should be used as the medium of instruction from Standard 2 as soon as practicable.” Therefore all Botswana government schools are English medium schools contrary to the village legend that Botswana has English and Tswana medium schools. The distinction is not really on the language of instruction (the medium), the distinction is between private and government institutions, both of which are English medium schools. English also dominates Botswana radio stations. On any given day listen to Gabzfm, Dumafm, Yaronafm, and RB2. The dominant language is English. Radio Botswana, though it has a fair amount of English, it largely uses Setswana. The print media is also dominated by English. Consider our newspapers: Mmegi, Monitor, The Botswana Guardian, The Botswana Midweek Sun, The Sunday Standard, The Telegraph, The Weekend Post and the Botswana Daily News; they all report in English. Check the magazines whether international or local, they are dominated by one language only: English. Go to parliament and take a number of copies of parliamentary hansards and see that parliamentary debates are predominantly in English. Consider our laws; you will find most here: http://www.laws.gov.bw/. All of them are in English. Cases in court are tried in English – the lawyers, judges, accused and witnesses interact in English. English has also become a dominant language in many churches. Churches like the Seventh Day Adventist, The Anglican Church and the Roman Catholic Church use both Setswana and English for sermons, notices and songs. A similar pattern may be observed in various evangelical churches like Apostolic Faith Mission, Assemblies of God and Pentecostal Holiness Church where church notices and sermons are given either in English or Setswana with interpretations. The English Bible is much more common than the Setswana one. The point with this linguistic characterisation is that although English is spoken by about 2.2% of Botswana’s population it is used in most of her domains. While Setswana is spoken by over 78.2% of Botswana’s population it is used in very limited domains and is seen by some as an impediment to the development of minority languages. I have heard the complaint that speakers of minority language raise; that they have been thrust into the education system which is alien to them since it teaches in Setswana which they do not speak at home. I find this contention most bizarre because these concerns emanate from persons who do not complain about English, which does not only dominate the curriculum, but also dominates all spheres of their lives. The teaching of Mathematics, Agriculture, Social Studies and Science is not in the Setswana language in schools – actually the Setswana terminology for such subjects is still rudimentary. It is in English. But why is it common for minority language activists, including some researchers, to overlook the English problem/challenge and zoom on the matter of Setswana as an impediment? If you listened to their arguments, or read their research papers you would assume that the English language was far much easier to grasp for students than Setswana. You will also assume that instruction in Botswana schools was in Setswana and not in English. How are we to explain this fixation and bitterness towards the Setswana language? It appears the problem is in part an ethnic one. Those who complain against Setswana and not English are in effect complaining not against the language per se, but against the Tswana speaking people. That is why some of them in language debates seize on matters of constitutional provisions which recognise certain tribal groups to the exclusion of others. Language in this case for them is just the face of a tribe or tribes. But how are we to explain the activists’ insatiable love for the English language since their children go to English medium institutions? Perhaps they do not perceive English as a threat to their languages as much as Setswana since they see English as a neutral language – as a language which has been detribalized. This sentiment is not new. Alidou (2004) has argued before that in post-colonial Africa, in avoidance of ethnic wars, African governments ironically retained colonial languages which were viewed as neutral means of communication. Perhaps with constitutional reviews that many are calling for, we may see Setswana being marginalised as a national language as English dominate our discourse completely. Perhaps that would be considered a fair scenario when Setswana is no longer used as a national lingua franca, and in its place English takes over. That would be a dark day, when Africans cannot use one of their languages to communicate between themselves but instead prefer a European tongue.