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Some of these were public figures who might not be surprised to find themselves in the pages of fiction as well as the pages of history.Sir Seretse Khama, Botswana's first president, was mentioned, as were his successors, President Masire and President Mogae.
In the first volume, which I wrote in blissful unawareness of what would happen to the whole story, I put in a few real people, and I have continued to do so ever since.
The American was an HIV specialist, one of those brave people who struggle to so something about the illness that is cutting a swathe through sub-Saharan Africa, and he had come to work for a while in Botswana after reading about Precious Ramotswe and her colleagues in the No. He had hoped to find Mma Ramotswe herself, I suspect, but had settled for finding the places described in the novel. Since I started to write these books, I have met numerous people who have gone to Botswana in search of the world described in them.
Some take the tours, which an enterprising local operator has organised, visiting the sites associated with the books.
The children's village on which I based the fictional orphan farm is an attractive collection of small cottages, each of which is run by a house mother.
As you enter each house, your are immediately struck by two things – the highly-polished floors and the smell of cooking.
So when it came to describing the illness sof Mma Ramotswe's father, Obed Ramotswe, it was natural that the doctor who should look after him should be Howard Moffat.
After the publication of the first two books, Howard's wife, Fiona, pointed out to me that while Howard was given something to say, she was not.
There is always something bubbling away on the stove, no matter the time of day.
When I first visited the village, the matron of the children's home – in real life – was a very traditionally-built lady by the name of Betty.
Others pursue a private search for the woman herself, convinced that behind every fictional character there stands a real person.
When I meet such people I wish that I could direct them to a cheerful, traditionally-built private female detective with a taste for red-bush tea, but I cannot.
1 Ladies' Detective Agency, my series of novels set in Gaborone, the capital of what is for many people a rather remote place, Botswana.