Arrested Bushmen win 'Alternative Nobel Prize'.

September 29, 2005

This page was created in 2005 and may contain language which is now outdated.

Five days after their leaders were arrested and beaten, there was a dramatic turnaround today in the fortunes of the Kalahari Bushmen as they learnt they have won the ’Alternative Nobel Prize'.

First People of the Kalahari (FPK), the grass-roots organization of the Gana and Gwi Bushmen of Botswana, who are fighting for their right to return to their ancestral homeland, today won Sweden's Right Livelihood Award, known as the ’Alternative Nobel Prize'.

The award has been given for the Bushmen's ’resolute resistance against eviction from their ancestral lands, and for upholding the right to their traditional way of life.'

Five days ago the FPK leaders were amongst a group of 28 Bushmen who were arrested by police firing tear gas and rubber bullets. The Bushmen were attempting to take food and water to their relatives still inside the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, from which most of the Bushmen have been evicted. The Bushmen leaders were badly beaten after being handcuffed.

FPK has been fighting a long battle for the right of the Gana and Gwi Bushmen to live peacefully inside the reserve, which is their ancestral homeland. The reserve's rich diamond deposits have been widely blamed for the government's expulsion of the Bushmen. De Beers, which runs all Botswana's diamond mines, is now the subject of a global boycott.

For more information about the award go to:

For more information about the Bushmen please contact Miriam Ross on +44 20 7687 8731 or email [email protected]

Notes to Editors:

Past winners of the Prize include Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai (who went on to win the Nobel Prize), and Nigerian Ken Saro-Wiwa.

The FPK's leader Roy Sesana is the first Botswana-born winner of the prize.