Unity Dow Botswana’s Trailblazer High Court Judge

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  • Born in 1959 outside the Botswana capital Gaborone 
  • In 1971 diamonds were discovered in Botswana and in 1977 and education became free
  • Studied in Swaziland and Edinburgh, Scotland
  • Worked as criminal lawyer, defense attorney in Botswana
  • Worked on a landmark case that pushed her to national stardom when she challenged the law that citizenship was based on paternity line rather than where the child was born or maternity line
  • Spurred new laws for gender equality
  • First woman appointed to the High Court in Botswana
  • Served on Botswana’s High Court for 11 years 
  • Dow ruled in the 2006 landmark case Sesana and Others v the Government of Botswana that the Kalahari Bushmen should not have to be resettled but could return to their ancestral land and hunt and preserve their culture and carry on their traditional way of life. The land question has been an issue in Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa.  
  •  Dow has authored several books:
    Judging Unity by Unity Dow (2006)
    The Heavens May Fall by Unity Dow (2008)
    Far and Beyon’ by Unity Dow ( 2002 )
    This is Dow’s novel set in rural Botswana and focuses on gender equality, traditional cultural conflicts in the modern world.
    The Screaming of the Innocent by Unity Dow ( 2002 )
    This book Dow explores the traditional practice of ritual killing and its implication in the twenty first century.
    Juggling Truths by Unity Dow ( 2003)
    Saturday Is for Funerals by Unity Dow and Max Essex (2011)
    This book highlights the effect of the AIDS scourge on Botswana’s cultural landscape. in Dow’s words “The problem is not scientific. It’s not medical. It’s everything,” Dow said. “It’s about how people live and love and the struggles people go through.”