Bots Focus: The History of Moviegoing in Botswana

Bots Focus: The History of Moviegoing in Botswana-1
Cinema History in Botswana - Botswana Weekly

Editor’s Note:  This edition of MOVIE TRIBE is where we chronicle our experiences seeing movies from a Botswana perspective.

You may be surprised to learn that cinema in Botswana has been around since the 70s. As a young kid in the late 90s, I saw something extraordinary and inspiring in the art of cinema. The images thrilled me but also sparked my love for motion pictures.

As the last century was wrapping up, movie theaters continued to open in droves across the world. The 2000s brought a whole group of new openings across Gaborone for moviegoers to consider as to where to go catch a flick.

Theatergoing experience has always been in good hands with early notably cinemas, namely Stardust in the Grand Palm and New Capitol Cinema which has established itself as the future of moviegoing.

Concession stands, arena smelling of popcorn and walking down the steps as I read the room in search of my seat has always been my favorite part just before the show begins.


However, paying for the experience has become somewhat dreadful today. Traditionally, a movie and popcorn would cost about P20. When I was very young, Stardust Cinema at the Grand Palm was a walking distance so I frequently dropped in for major blockbusters.

Popcorn from the past

New Capitol Cinemas building movie theater  positioned in Main Mall

In 1978, New Capitol Cinema used to occupy the space where there is now FNB in Main Mall.

The seating plans were based on a auditorium structure with multiple levels stacked vertically above or behind the stalls.

The best seats, located upstairs, were prices at up to P1.20t per admission.

Today you have to pay well over P50 just for the ticket alone. Both the rise of ticket prices and access to online-streaming services have curved my appetite for moviegoing.

In an era of streaming, there needs to be a more collaborative spirit to renew our sense of purpose for moviegoing and reconnect us with the history of cinema.

Look for Lesedi Ramahobo catching a flick at a local cinema, on Twitter at @LESH_ent, and email him at

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