'ALTERNATIVE NOBEL' LAUREATE:
WITHOUT OUR LAND WE
8 December 2005
Kalahari Bushman Roy Sesana will receive the 'Alternative Nobel
Prize' on 9 December, and will tell the world, ''My people love
their land, and without it we are dying.'
Sesana and First People of the Kalahari (FPK), the grass-roots
organisation of the Gana and Gwi Bushmen of Botswana, have won the
Right Livelihood Award for 'resolute resistance against eviction
from their ancestral lands.'
The Gana and Gwi have been evicted from their land by the Botswana
government. They have been arrested, beaten, tortured and banned
from hunting and gathering, and all the FPK's leadership were
arrested in September and are being charged for trying to enter
the reserve. At least one Bushman is known to have died of
starvation inside the reserve, which has been sealed off by the
Sesana will tell journalists and fellow laureates at the award
ceremony in the Swedish Parliament, 'They said we had to go
because of diamonds. Then they said we were killing too many
animals: but that's not true. They say many things which aren't
true. They said we had to move so the government could develop us.
'I say what kind of development is it when the people live shorter
lives than before? They catch HIV/AIDS. Our children are beaten in
school and won't go there. Some become prostitutes. They are not
allowed to hunt. They fight because they are bored and get drunk.
They are starting to commit suicide. We never saw that before. It
hurts to say this. Is this 'development'?
'We are not primitive. We live differently to you, but we do not
live exactly like our grandparents did, nor do you. Were your
ancestors 'primitive'? I don't think so. We respect our ancestors.
We love our children. This is the same for all people. We now have
to stop the government stealing our land: without it we will die.
'If anyone has read a lot of books and thinks I am primitive
because I have not read even one, then he should throw away those
books and get one which says we are all brothers and sisters under
God and we too have a right to live.'
SURVIVAL INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE
Past winners of the Prize include Kenyan environmentalist Wangari
Maathai, and Nigerian Ken Saro-Wiwa.
The FPK's leader Roy
Sesana is the first Botswana-born winner of the prize.
For more information contact:
Miriam Ross at
Survival at Survival on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email email@example.com
Kerstin Bennett at the Right Livelihood Award on (+46) (0)8702
0340 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For information about the award go to: http://www.rightlivelihood.org/news/event05.htm