NEWS 2005

 

NO HAPPY ANNIVERSARY FOR BUSHMEN


24 February 2005

The Gana and Gwi Bushmen are marking the forty-forth anniversary today of the establishment of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana as a home for their people. Evicted from their homes in the reserve by the Botswana government, they are renewing their appeal for international support for their right to return to their land.

One Bushman said today, 'On our own land we are independent, and we know where to find food every day. But where we have been moved there is always alcohol, drinking and dancing. People's minds are dead. Where we have been moved into resettlement camps our death rate has gone up. Sometimes three or five people might die in one day. We didn't know such things inside the reserve. When we were staying on our own without the government there were no clinics, there were no doctors, but our health was good. We must be allowed to go back to our land. The campaign must continue.'

The Central Kalahari Game Reserve was established on 24 February 1961, 'to protect wildlife resources and reserve sufficient land for traditional use by hunter-gatherer communities of the Central Kalahari.' In 1986, the Botswana government announced its intention to empty the reserve of Bushmen, and almost all of the Gana, Gwi and Bakgalagadi were evicted in 1997 and 2002. Over 200 Bushmen are currently taking the government to court to fight for their rights to return to their land and hunt and gather freely.



Survival International