Bonus Material: Gaborone’s No. 1 Ladies Opera House

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

The city of Gaborone, Botswana has become known to many readers through Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith’s popular No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency novels and some local entrepreneurs had started the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency tours. It’s odd to think of this very sedate, business minded capitol as a popular destination for tourists — when I was stationed there as a reporter in the late 90s, most tourists merely used the city merely as a  transfer point to fly to Maun in the north, the gateway to the safari camps of the Okavango Delta.


Last year, McCall Smith expanded his franchise by helping to open the No. 1 Ladies Opera House and Coffee Shop on the outskirts of the city. The coffee shop has already proven popular, providing locals with a good latte  and tourists with authentic cups of Rooibos tea. What’s more, as demonstrated in this video shot last month (courtesy of Al Jazeera), it has given some local opera singers and traditional dancers the dream of making it big.

Could it be only a matter of time before we get first album from the Three Tswana Tenors?

VISIT: The Web site for the No. 1 Ladies Opera House

READ: McCall Smith’s own tale about how the house was opened.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.