NEWS 2005

 

THREE-YEAR EVICTION ANNIVERSARY: 

BUSHMEN FIGHT BACK AS BOTSWANA'S PR EFFORTS FLOUNDER

 

11 February 2005

Three years after the Botswana government evicted the Gana and Gwi Bushmen from their ancestral land, over 200 Bushmen have returned home in spite of attempts to stop them, while Botswana faces increasing criticism in the international press. Recent articles in the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, the Seattle Times and the well-known US magazine Mother Jones all slam the evictions.

The Los Angeles Times calls the eviction site New Xade a 'desolate' place. 'There are no wild desert melons and roots to be gathered anywhere nearby, no work, nothing to do. At night, young people slouch around as tinny distorted music blares out at the Cool Way BarŠ New Xade is a place where drinking can leave scars.' The Mother Jones correspondent, also visiting New Xade, found 'garbage-strewn streets and loitering drunks', and a mounting HIV/AIDS death toll. 'This is the place of perishing', one Bushman told him.

The Botswana government and De Beers have spent huge sums of money paying international PR firm Hill and Knowlton to defend the evictions.

Survival's director Stephen Corry said today, 'It's incredible that the Botswana government still pretends that the Gana and Gwi moved voluntarily and are happy with life in the eviction sites. Every independent journalist comes back with the same story of alcoholism, despair, and the people's desperation to go home.'

SURVIVAL INTERNATIONAL NEWS RELEASE