Thomas Tlou’s biography, fact, career, awards, net worth and life story

IntroBotswana politician
Was Historian
From Botswana
Type Social science

1 June 1932


28 June 2010
(aged 78 years)

Thomas Tlou (1 June 1932 – 28 June 2010) was a Botswana academic and historian, and former representative of Botswana at the United Nations.

Tlou studied at Luther College, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Wisconsin–Madison in the United States. In 1971 he joined the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland,(UBLS), the fore-runner of the University of Botswana, to teach history. He left academia to perform government service and from 1976 to 1980 was Botswana’s permanent representative at the United Nations.

Tlou was the first Motswana (Botswana citizen) to be vice-chancellor of the University of Botswana, serving from 1985 to 1998. Thereafter he continued at the university as professor of history, finally retiring in 2005.

Tlou was also chair of the Association of Commonwealth Universities and served on the executive board of the Association of African Universities. In Botswana he served on the Tertiary Education Council and as of 2005 he was chair of the Botswana Institute for Development Policy Analysis.

He was married to Professor Sheila Tlou, Botswana’s minister of health from 2004 to 2008 and a former associate professor of nursing at the University of Botswana.


In 2006 Tlou was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Cape Town

He also received the Botswana Presidential Order of Honour, and was made a Chevalier dans L’Ordre des Palmes académiques by France.


Tlou has written or co-written many of the standard texts on Botswana history.