Unity Dow

Motswana politician, Lawyer and Activist

Unity Dow (née Diswai, born 23 April 1959) is a Motswana lawyer, human rights activist, specially elected member of parliament, and a writer. She formerly served as a judge on the High Court of Botswana and in various government ministries.

Dr Unity Dow in 2011


  • It has turned out to be the most expensive and longest-running trial this country has ever dealt with. It has also attracted a lot of interest as well as a fair amount of bandwagon jumpers, both nationally and internationally, than perhaps any other case has ever done.'The Bushmen belong to an ethnic group 'that has been historically looked down upon,', said the judge - the names for them 'common terms of insult in the same way as nigger' and kaffir'.
  • On a personal level, that was hard. It wasn't just my case, my issue, but the focus was on me personally. At the time I was young and thought everything was possible but there was a real cost both financially and emotionally. I always say at the start I was driving a BMW and by the end of the case I was in a pick-up truck. I had to take my kids out of private school and put them in public school.
  • I was born into a Botswana where there was no tarmac road, no telephone, where you had to hold water on your head and firewood as well. I think I saw my first refrigerator when I was a teenager.
  • Reforming the African Union, will open great opportunities in areas of trade, employment and economic growth in Africa.
  • 'ultimately about a people demanding dignity and respect.[1]
  • Botswana is emerging from a 'national shutdown'.
  • The language of law is very masculine. The culture of law is so masculine. At one point, I started to think that it shouldn't be like this and that I have a right to be where I am.
  • It wasn’t that simple. But in the end, I won. It not only changed the law on citizenship, so that men and women were equal in citizenship, it actually influenced other laws.
  • "I think I’m a nomad at heart, I’m just always moving. I need to be challenged, intellectually challenged. My legacy is to challenge myself"
  • It is a people saying in essence: "Our way of life may be different, but it is worthy of respect.[2]
  • We may be changing and getting closer to your way of life, but give us a chance to decide what we want to carry with us into the future".'[3]
  • “I’m a lawyer and I’ve been a judge, but there’s one thing that I have not done so far and that is to make laws, I would love a plan to join politics and to run for a political office as a member of parliament and therefore join the legislature.”[4]
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