NEWS 2006

 

14.12.2006

BOTSWANA:

Bushmen give their reaction to historic court win  14 Dec 2006

Bushmen involved in Wednesday’s historic court victory in Botswana have today been giving their reaction.

Bushmen from the organisation First People of the Kalahari said, ‘We are all laughing and dancing. We are so happy that finally we can be set free to go back to our beloved land, the land of our ancestors.

‘Now we can go home. We have not seen our land for many years. We are so excited we cannot put it in words.

Bushmen leader Roy Sesana hears the verdict in court on Wednesday

‘The animals are waiting for us. Our ancestors are waiting for us. We are very happy!’

Tshomarelo Segootsane said, ‘I can't express my happiness. Our ancestors advised us not to give up without a fight and that helped us get rid of the fear we had of challenging the relocation. The ancestors protected us all the time. Our children would have been robbed of the opportunity of knowing their roots.’

Xukuri said, ‘We are singing songs of praise. We are praying and thanking our ancestors for being with us through this difficult time. We are happy to be going back to our home. We are pleased that the judges too were able to see that we need to be reunited with our ancestors.’

A Bushman woman dances in the street outside the court in Lobatse after the verdict

From inside the CKGR, Gabo Sediswe said, 'We are happy about the court and that our people are coming back. We are so few that we cannot bury our dead here. The honest truth is we didn't want to leave our land. We are glad that everything is now under our control. If you were not so tall we would be carrying you on our backs. We were not so hopeful we would talk about our land being ours. Now we know it's ours we are so happy. We will dance and celebrate.'

The judgment confirmed that the Bushmen had been unlawfully evicted from their ancestral lands in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. It said they have a right to live there, to hunt and gather, and should not have to apply for permits to enter it.

To see images of the scenes at court yesterday, click here

An online press file about the court case, including summaries, biographies, legal precedents, photos and video clips, is available at http://www.survival-international.org/bushmenpresspack

For further information contact

Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email mr@survival-international.org