Survival responds to Radio 4 Crossing Continents programme

Has Survival's campaign for the Gana and Gwi Bushmen ‘made things worse'? What do the Bushmen think? A response from Survival to Radio 4's Crossing Continents programme. (You can download this article as a pdf at the bottom of the page). h2. Has Survival's campaign for the Gana and Gwi Bushmen ‘made things worse'? ‘Survival, keep campaigning. Don't listen when people say it's only Survival, it's not, it's the Bushmen!' First People of the Kalahari The accusation that Survival's Bushman campaign has actually made things worse for the Bushmen was first made by Alice Mogwe of Ditshwanelo, Botswana's Centre for Human Rights, in 2001. It has also been made by the Botswana NGO Kuru. The allegation is two-fold: that pressure from outside Botswana caused the government to ‘harden its attitude' towards the Bushmen, and that foreign intervention wrecked negotiations between the government and the Bushmen when they were on the point of succeeding. h2. The history of Survival's Bushman campaign We like Survival's campaign, and we want it to continue, so we can go back… Please, we need Survival's campaign, and others to support us on this issue. Maybe with this support we will get the chance to have our land.' Speed Gaothobogwe Survival's involvement with the Bushmen of the central part of Botswana dates back to 1976, when Survival raised thousands of pounds to fund both a handicraft centre to provide an income for adult Bushmen, and the construction of a primary school hostel for Bushmen children. That year government officials wrote to Survival saying, ‘I would like to take this opportunity to express, on behalf of the Botswana government, our great appreciation for your help in contacting potential donors on our behalf… Thank you again for your effort and we hope to continue our good relations with Survival International in the future.' And that same month, ‘No mean part of the capital we have received has arrived as a result of Survival International's efforts – thank you very much.' In the early 1980s Survival first alerted the world to the fact that government policy towards the Bushmen was becoming increasingly heavy-handed in an article entitled, ‘Botswana policy changes are increasing the threat to the Bushmen.' By 1988 Survival was protesting to the President at reports of forced removals. During the1980s Survival published more articles about the threats to the Bushmen, met Botswana's High Commissioner in London, Margaret Nasha, to make representations in support of Bushmen rights, met one of the mining companies exploring for diamonds in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), and issued an urgent action bulletin entitled, ‘Kalahari peoples threatened with expulsion from game reserve.' The Botswana government wrote to Survival promising that ‘it does not intend to move them [the Bushmen] by force.' Survival continued throughout the 1990s to publicize government statements that it intended to move the Bushmen out of the reserve. Several letters were sent to the Local Government Ministry (the department responsible for the Bushmen's welfare), meetings were held with both the permanent secretary in the Ministry and the Minister himself, and various articles and press releases were published. In 1997 the government carried out the first wave of mass Bushman evictions from the reserve, moving out around 1,000 Bushmen, demolishing the Bushman community of Old Xade, and closing the school and health clinic there. Shortly afterwards, Survival wrote to Margaret Nasha (then Minister of Local Government), supporting the conclusions of a recent workshop of Botswana NGOs that there should be a moratorium on relocations. h2. The start of ‘negotiations' ‘There is no room for negotiating with them [the government] because whatever we negotiate, they dump it and do a different thing.' Castro In March 1998 a Survival press release welcomed the promise of outgoing President Masire to meet with a ‘Negotiating Team' formed the previous year, saying ‘Survival is encouraged that the government of Botswana is prepared to negotiate with representatives of the CKGR residents.' The main members of the team were Ditshwanelo (the Botswana centre for human rights), Kuru (a Botswana NGO funding development projects with largely landless Bushmen), the Botswana Council of Churches, WIMSA (Working Group of Indigenous Minorities of southern Africa), and the organization of the central Kalahari Bushmen, First People of the Kalahari (FPK). Its legal advisor was a South African lawyer. Although two Bushmen from each of the seven CKGR communities were also nominally members of the team, in practice they were rarely involved in the negotiations. Survival provided financial and logistical support to the team in the hope that it would provide the government with a face-saving way out of what was already a public-relations disaster. An early indication of likely government attitudes towards the idea of allowing Bushmen to stay in the reserve was the fact that the British consultant brought in to devise a management plan for the reserve was threatened with expulsion by the government for being seen to push too hard for this objective; he was only reprieved when his funders, the European Union, intervened. Throughout the rest of that decade, Survival issued press releases, bulletins, petitions and articles, highlighting the government's intention to exploit both the reserve's diamond wealth, and its potential for tourism. (The rich diamond deposits in the reserve are believed to be the principal reason for the government's resolute determination to force the Bushmen out. Government ministers and other officials who visited the reserve to tell the Bushmen to leave gave as the reason the fact that diamonds had been found there. The largest deposit found so far in the reserve is held under licence by De Beers, which also owns all Botswana's existing diamond mines. The company is intimately associated with the Botswana government, and its managing director in Botswana publicly backed the Bushmen's eviction. For this reason, the company has been targeted by Survival and other organizations.) Survival continued to raise issues of concern with the Botswana authorities, writing to Botswana's UK High Commissioner, for example, in September 2000 about reports of Bushmen being tortured by wildlife scouts, and calling for an independent investigation. Despite the fact that comprehensive information on this incident (in which twenty men and four women were beaten up, and some tortured, over a period of several days) was sent by Survival to the government and Ditshwanelo, no investigation ever took place. One of the men died a week later. In March 2001 the District Council nearest the reserve, which had been funding basic provision of water and rations to Bushmen in the reserve, voted to stop all such services. (In fact, the water supplied to the communities in the reserve came from the Bushmen's own borehole in their community of Mothomelo; the government simply trucked some of this water to other Bushman communities in the reserve.) The following month Local Government Minister Nasha announced that she would not approve such measures. h2. The results of the ‘negotiations' We were trying to negotiate and solve the issue locally. That has failed… FPK tried, but the government did not listen. So that's why we asked Survival to help.' Roy Sesana, First People of the Kalahari By now, the ‘Negotiating Team' discussions with the Wildlife Department had produced a ‘third draft management plan' for the reserve. Under this plan, the Bushmen would have been allowed to continue to hunt and gather in parts of the reserve. However, these ‘usage rights' could have been cancelled by the Director of Wildlife at any time, with no appeal. By May 2001 the ‘negotiating team' had finished its work - there were no further meetings. At the final meeting, the Director of Wildlife and the negotiating team agreed the boundaries of the ‘community use zones' that were to be dedicated to the seven Bushman communities that remained inside the reserve. A detailed map was prepared to define these boundaries. Crucially, only now were government ministers made aware of the plan's contents. The negotiating team's strategy of holding discussions only with the Wildlife Department had been against the inclinations of the Bushmen themselves, who knew that such talks were pointless without the involvement of high-ranking ministers. In June 2000 the team's South African lawyer had written to the Bushmen saying, ‘I must seriously urge you to reconsider the position adopted at our meeting on 10 June 2000, namely that you will not meet with DWNP [Wildlife Department] without ministers Nasha and Kwelagobe being present. I am sincerely of the view that if negotiations with DWNP are played correctly, we may be able to conclude an agreement with the department that is binding on the government.' This view was also held by Alice Mogwe of Ditshwanelo. Writing to Survival on 1 August 2001 she voiced her concern at the danger that ‘politicians [might] ‘wake up to the fact' that negotiations are still going on and ‘something has been happening'!' This advice, against the Bushmen's own instincts, was fundamentally flawed. If the plan had been allowed to proceed any further, it would have made a nonsense of the Government's policy of ‘encouraging' the Bushmen to leave the reserve. (The government has always maintained the fiction that it is simply ‘encouraging' Bushmen to leave the Reserve, not forcing them out. All independent journalists who have talked to the Bushmen have seen through this.) The plan would have ‘encouraged' residents to remain in the Reserve rather than to leave it. On 13 August 2001, shortly after the full implications of the ‘negotiations' became clear, the government announced that it would, after all, withdraw all services to the Bushmen living in the reserve. In an apparent attempt to ‘bounce' the government into reversing its position, the contents of the third draft management plan were leaked by the negotiating team to the South African paper the Mail and Guardian. In an article published on 31 August 2001 entitled ‘Going back to their roots', the agreement was described as ‘revolutionary', and a ‘stunning victory for the Bushmen'. The strategy did not work: despite countless historic government promises to the contrary, in February 2002 the ‘basic services' being provided to the Bushmen were cut off, and their borehole rendered unusable. The vast majority of the Bushmen still in the reserve were trucked out, and all hunting in the reserve was prohibited. The Department of Wildlife was told to shelve the draft plan, and did. It later produced a ‘final draft management plan' in which all references to the Bushmen being allowed to stay in the reserve were taken out. Survival was doing nothing throughout this crucial period that it had not been doing for many years before, namely attempting to garner as much worldwide publicity as possible to the Bushmen's plight, whilst at the same time making representations to  government ministers and officials when possible. In 2005 the government pushed through Parliament a bill to delete from the Constitution the clause that protected the Bushmen's rights to live in the reserve. Towards the end of the year it sealed off the reserve, sent in armed wildlife scouts and police, removed the Bushmen's goats, removed many Bushmen who had returned to the reserve, and arrested and jailed all the Bushmen's leaders. It also confiscated for a second time the radio transmitters used by the Bushmen in the reserve to communicate with the outside world. All hunting and gathering in the reserve were banned. Survival continues its 25-year-long campaign, in close consultation with the affected Bushmen. In recent months it has held meetings with government officials and De Beers executives, and helped the Bushmen take the government to court for the right to return to their land. Its work has resulted in the account of the Bushmen's expulsion from their ancestral land becoming the most widely-known story concerning indigenous people anywhere in the world. h2. The Bushmen's view of the ‘negotiations' ‘We, FPK, represent the CKGR people. We tried negotiations but they failed. We did our level best, that's why we are asking Survival to campaign. We mandate you. Carry on!' Qose Xhukuri Apart from First People of the Kalahari (the organization representing the central Kalahari Bushmen), the only other organization involved in the CKGR case that is actually run by Bushmen is WIMSA-Botswana. Its Coordinator has said, ‘The government of Botswana does not recognize Basarwa [the Botswana term for Bushmen] at all. That is why none of the negotiations were ever of any value that took place with government', and ‘We dismiss as false any claims that the Survival campaign has directly hardened attitudes of the Botswana government in dealing with the CKGR issue.' h2. Were the ‘negotiations' actually negotiations? ‘I'm giving Survival the mandate to carry on supporting and lobbying on the issue of CKGR and the Bushmen until we get our land.' Molathwe In its evidence given during the continuing court case between the Bushmen and the government, the government witnesses have repeatedly denied that there were ever any ‘negotiations' at all. ‘Negotiate' means a process in which the parties confer to come to a mutual agreement. The Government itself says that it never had this in mind. Rather, it has always said that it merely ‘consulted' with the CKGR communities, just as it ‘consulted' with a number of other parties interested in the future of the Reserve. It remained free to reject the views of those it consulted. This is exactly what it has done. (It may have only consulted with the Bushmen at all because this was a condition of a large EU donation, and the consultation may have been a sham from the start.) This attitude was clearly put by Mr E.S. Mpofu, permanent secretary at the Foreign Affairs Ministry: ‘Government took a decision after it felt it had adequately consulted. I don't think anyone can talk about talks breaking down.' h2. Who is making the accusation, and why? ‘Survival please work hard on this issue. Don't stop talking about this issue. We will tell you when to stop. I thank and am happy about the work of Survival. Survival is helping us and it's talking about our life. If Survival was our government, it could have been very, very nice.' Mogolodi Moeti The allegation that there were ‘negotiations', and that Survival's work to publicise the campaign of forced relocation wrecked them, has been made by two organizations, Ditshwanelo and Kuru. Both have a financial interest in attacking Survival's work. None of them has produced any evidence at all to back it up, despite requests by Survival to do so. Kuru has been in negotiations with De Beers to receive a very large sum of money for its work. At a meeting between Survival and Braam LeRoux, the Dutch Reformed Church missionary who is Kuru's coordinator, the sum mentioned was $5 million. Mr LeRoux and Bushmen from his organization toured Europe and Africa on a PR trip organized by De Beers ‘to announce that De Beers has recently become one of our major donor partners'. As De Beers is, together with the Botswana government, the target of the Survival/ Bushman campaign, Mr LeRoux is clearly, at the very least, not a neutral observer. Kuru's Patron is Mr Ponatshego Kedikilwe MP, one of the most powerful members of the ruling elite. Mr Kedikilwe has held several ministerial posts, and was until 2003 the chairman of the Botswana Democratic Party, the party that has ruled Botswana since independence. Mr Kedikilwe has accused Survival of wanting the Bushmen ‘to continue leading a primitive life', and has said the idea that Botswana discriminates against Bushmen is ‘a myth'. Ditshwanelo is run by the daughter of an ex-Minister for Minerals who is still a special advisor to the president, and who is also the director of a diamond exploration company with concessions covering a large part of the Bushman reserve. The organization received an enormous amount of money from European donors for the purpose of conducting the ‘negotiations'. In addition, Ms Mogwe requested $660 ‘consultancy fee' per meeting for attending ‘negotiations'. Why the director of a human rights NGO was charging consultancy fees for carrying out human rights work was not explained. Ditshwanelo clearly had a vested interest in alleging that an outside body such as Survival was responsible for the fact that the ‘negotiations' did not achieve political results, rather than admitting that a great deal of time and money was spent on a process which government ministers torpedoed as soon as they became aware of what it had produced. Curiously for a human rights organization, it has always downplayed the threat to the existence of the central Kalahari Bushmen. In 1996, for example, less than 12 months before the total eviction of the Bushman community of Xade, it declared that reports of a planned ‘mass forced removal were overstated.' Both De Beers and the Botswana government employ a multinational PR company called Hill and Knowlton to counteract the Bushmen's campaign. The company is highly controversial, having reportedly previously worked for, amongst others, the military dictatorship of Guatemala during the 1980s, the Chinese government shortly after the Tiananmen Square massacre, the (pro)-Asbestos Council and Idi Amin. Hill and Knowlton set up and paid for a UK Parliamentary all-party group on Botswana, which has organized several visits to the country, with itineraries organised by the government. (The group was chaired by Nigel Jones MP (now Lord Jones) who recently announced that he was moving to Botswana, to live in a luxury golf resort. His house there is owned by a company of which he is a director called Dolce Vita – 'the Good Life'.) In 2005, in the face of continuing, extensive international coverage of the Bushmen's plight, the company's key ‘account handler' for the anti-Survival/Bushman campaign moved permanently into the offices of the Botswana High Commission, at an apparent cost to the government of £50,000 a year for three years (a sum that, by the government's own figures, would have funded the continuing provision of basic services to the Bushmen inside the reserve for 27 years). It is not hard to see a coincidence of timing, at the very least, between the escalation of Hill and Knowlton's campaign, De Beers's decision to donate $5 million to Kuru, and the increasingly public attacks on Survival and the central Kalahari Bushmen, such as the recent BBC Radio 4 Crossing Continents programme. h2. What do the Bushmen of the central Kalahari say about the attacks on Survival's work? ‘Ditshwanelo says Survival has been interfering and caused the relocation. That is not the truth.' First People of the Kalahari As the attacks on Survival's campaigning work became more public, the central Kalahari Bushmen responded. In a press release entitled ‘The Bushmen of the CKGR say - Survival please continue to help us' First People of the Kalahari said, ‘Some NGOs are making conflicts between the Bushmen of this country because they take the decisions of the Bushmen away from them… People were taken from CKGR and now they are dying of HIV/AIDS [many Bushmen in the relocation camps have been infected with HIV, and some have already died of AIDS]. Is that development? FPK says that is genocide. They [the government] take people to places like New Xade and Kaudwane [relocation camps], where they are killing us with AIDS and killing our culture. What they have done to the Bushmen is wrong. People should be saying that is wrong… ‘Instead of trying to help us they [Braam LeRoux of Kuru, etc] try to ruin our campaign. And they have also sabotaged us with the donors. Those people that claim they work on our behalf, if they really represent us, they would help with our court case. ‘Those guys want to sell our rights because of money given to Kuru by De Beers. But our rights cannot be sold for money. We know about the money De Beers has donated to Kuru. That money has been used to buy our rights. ‘Because it has been to the CKGR many times and talked with the Bushmen… the campaign of Survival is correct and Survival is doing what the people have asked them to do… FPK and the affected Bushmen of CKGR still continue to say that the work Survival has done is really a good thing and everyone in the CKGR can see that and we do appreciate it and want Survival to continue with the campaign.' h2. Conclusions • Survival's work to make the persecution of the central Kalahari Bushmen better known, and focus the attendant concern into pressure on the Botswana government to change its policies, has been at the specific request of hundreds of the Bushmen concerned. • Survival has gone to enormous lengths to ensure that everything we do has the backing and consent of the people concerned. • Unlike those NGOs (Ditshwanelo and Kuru) who have criticized Survival's work, Survival has spent a great deal of time over many years in the communities themselves, both inside the reserve before the evictions, and in the resettlement camps since. It has countless hours of video and audio recordings of interviews with affected Bushmen. • There is no evidence whatsoever to back up the claim that Survival's campaign wrecked the negotiations. On the contrary, the government took the decision to cut off all services to the Bushmen living in the reserve once it became aware in the middle of 2001 of the contents of the plan its own Wildlife Department had been negotiating. • Survival has made numerous attempts, in meetings with Ministers and government officials dating back to the early 1980s, to convince the government to amend its relocation policy. Numerous public promises by the government (made also to both the Bushmen and Survival) that the Bushmen would not be forced out have been broken. • Survival has made a commitment to the Bushmen of the central Kalahari to continue campaigning with them until they can live on their land in peace. Survival will not be diverted by attacks on its character, or dirty tricks campaigns by PR companies. If the Botswana authorities wish to resurrect their country's reputation, rather than employ spin doctors, they should simply allow those Bushmen who wish to return to their ancestral land, to do so. • The forced expulsion of indigenous people from their land was commonplace in the 18th and 19th Centuries. It has no place in the 21st, and such a policy cannot be allowed to succeed, or we will have learnt nothing from history, and the countless quiet genocides of now-vanished indigenous people that passed unnoticed. Survival will do everything in its power to ensure that history does not repeat itself. h2. APPENDIX: Extracts from just some of the countless interviews conducted by Survival with Bushmen from the central Kalahari 'We are saying to those people who can help with campaigning not to stop campaigning, talk to the government, make a hell of a noise, and maybe it will change its policies. Organisations like Survival have to carry on making campaigns, and making noise, and informing the whole world what is happening with the Bushmen…. Please, if there are people who are clever like the government, make campaigns, and help us, rescue us from the government. The only thing we are doing now is asking for support internationally from people who have ideas for helping us, with what the government is doing. We do praise what Survival is doing, because always on the radio we get news about Survival, so what Survival is doing, please do it.' Mongwegi Gaoberekwe 'We like Survival's campaign, and we want it to continue, so we can go back… Please, we need Survival's campaign, and others to support us on this issue. Maybe with this support we will get the chance to have our land.' Speed Gaothobogwe 'When Survival offered us radio communication, we were very glad. We could communicate with the other settlements. It was really nice. We thought even our grandparents might come out from their graves… Thank you for coming, and for all the good things Survival is doing. We mandate you to continue.' Molathwe Digobe 'I say, Survival, keep campaigning. Don't listen when people say it's only Survival, it's not, it's the Bushmen! Survival has to work hard and make a lot of noise. Every day when you go back to London I want to hear the words of Survival talking about the CKGR issue. We will be busy here turning on our radios as we know that the government will be talking more about Survival if Survival does more campaigning. Roy Sesana 'We really need support, and we need to go back. We want to be in our own land, we want help to be where we originate, in our ancestral land. We are sending Roy, and asking for help from Survival. People say its from Roy and Survival, but we send you. We say that.' Gakebaralwe Thankane 'Thanks for your support. I say with all my heart, I don't like this area [relocation camp]. You're doing the right thing.' Mokwaledi Sesana 'We want to go back. That's the only thing we want but the government is reluctant to let us go back… Don't draw back. Carrying on campaigning – you are reinforcing us. Go on campaigning. ‘The message for Survival and Survival supporters is carry on with the campaign, increase the pace of the campaign – I think you have been doing nothing. Survival still has to make more campaigns. I disagree with what I heard about what Ditshwanelo is saying. Ditshwanelo says Survival has been interfering and caused the relocation. That is not the truth… Only when we have found our land is when we will tell you to stop doing the campaign. 'Some people say that the government is being stubborn because of Survival's campaign. But Survival is doing the right thing. We, the community, have asked Survival to campaign… My last word is, keep on campaigning, and let the campaign go higher now. I say, CAMPAIGN!' Dauqoo Xukuri 'We are really happy about Survival's campaign, and we want more support and more campaigning from Survival… We thank Survival for the help we have. Survival is standing up, and doing all these things in the TV and papers, campaigning. Let that information be passed all over the world. Moeti Gaoberekwe 'I'm giving Survival the mandate to carry on supporting and lobbying on the issue of CKGR and the Bushmen until we get our land.' Molathwe So you outside must help because the situation is getting tight. The government officials are saying Survival won't help us any more but we told the government, 'You are not asking for Survival, we are ones who are asking for help from Survival, so you can't interfere with us and Survival. We are asking for help because we can't manage ourselves, that's why we are asking for help from Survival because you the government will never help us.' Kumaneko 'Survival shouldn't be scared of what the Batswana [majority population of Botswana] say because they know they are surviving well where they are. You shouldn't be stopped by Batswana, by Alice [Mogwe, of Ditshwanelo] and the government officials. They know they are living well but we Bushmen are starving here. There is discrimination. Botswana says it's a free country but what's happening to the Bushmen you can see it's discrimination. My father Moeti is inside CKGR and he's sick [he has since died] but I'm not allowed to visit my parents. If I go there they chase me out and that's war. The San people are not in a peaceful place we are not rested. It's war. Survival please work hard on this issue. Don't stop talking about this issue. We will tell you when to stop. I thank and am happy about the work of Survival. Survival is helping us and it's talking about our life. If Survival was our government, it could have been very, very nice. Survival gave us very good help with the radios because we communicated with each other over the radio. If we had them now we would know how our parents are. With the radios, we knew about our relatives in different areas, how they were feeling, who was sick, who was well. What the government has done to us is very bad and I give Survival the mandate to carry on supporting us and campaigning for the land of the Bushmen in CKGR until we have won it back.' Mogolodi Moeti 'I think Survival's campaign is great – it's very good. Survival has to take on doing the campaigning for the Bushmen inside CKGR, because right now we are sitting here in Botswana and nothing is done. The government keeps on doing whatever it likes. Like now people inside CKGR don't have food or water to drink. The government has said if you remain that's up to you but you can't gather and you can't hunt. It's killing them. They are not allowed to survive because they are punished so they feel pain so to they will go to where there is food where they can survive. That is not voluntary – that is force, not force by beating but force by deprivation – if you don't do this I will not give you this food. ‘So what I say to Survival is that you have to keep on campaigning, whatever the government is saying like 'Why is Survival interfering?'.  Survival is right. Survival is talking about the Bushmen who are asking Survival to talk about their rights and talk with the government of Botswana. So I give Survival the mandate to keep on campaigning for the Bushmen of CKGR. ‘I don't think negotiations can still work according to what I hear everyday from the parliament and the president himself. He's not going to go back on the policy they have taken. So that shows me that negotiations will not work. Jumanda Gakelebone 'I have heard a lot about Survival and I hear on the radio that you are trying to help us.' Gabusiso Thekiso ‘For us development is being on our land, being given water here on our land and a clinic and school built on our land, not outside on another person's land. New Xade [relocation camp] is not a place where a person can survive, like my wife she went there and nearly died of hunger. ‘You have tried to help and gave us the radios and now we can't communicate because the government people took away the radios and we don't know why they are keeping them and for what purpose. Those radios gave us a lot of help – we could talk to FPK in Ghanzi when we needed help and they could even talk to you people in London. ‘The government is doing this because they don't want the Basarwa [Bushmen] to live so that's why they are ripping everything from us. The government is just trying to kill the Basarwa. Every time Survival tries to help, the government tries to say it's not oppressing the Bushmen while they are doing just that. So Survival should continue to publicise this to the international world so they come here and see what the government is doing. The government of Botswana says we are trying to help these people and not oppressing them. They should come here themselves and see what's happening. What Survival has done so far is good and I think it would have been better if Survival was based here in Botswana.' Gakekgolele Gaoberewe 'Please carry on on with the campaign and talk to the government to let us stay on our home lands, our fathers' lands. Please help us with food and water as the government is reluctant to help.' Kgwatiso Gaorapelwe ‘I urge Survival and the international world to help us and tell the government to let us stay where we are and tell it whenever we want to be developed, we should be developed here [in the CKGR] and our children should go to school here so that they practice both their culture and the new culture of the school.' Bilathwe Phetladipou 'You shouldn't be afraid of people who say you shouldn't come here again, which is the government… Please, if you want to help, please tell the outside people to help us with water because that's all we need to survive – the rest we can take care of ourselves… You  shouldn't care about the government and what it says against Survival… I understand very well how you are campaigning and how you can't help because the government won't let you in [to the reserve]. Thank you to Survival for what you are doing.' Lenkagetse Tshotlego 'The government doesn't want the Basarwa to live, just to die. The government says we are doing well and are short of nothing, while we are starving. They should be prosecuted and go to jail because they are lying and stealing other people's money. When you go out tell the people that when the president goes overseas he's telling lies – he's throwing the Bushmen people around… He puts people in camps and says he will develop them but they are starving. We want to stay here where we were born. They are trying to force us out but even if we went to the camps we would not be given the chance to live the way we used to, the way we want to. The government is always on top of our heads. We don't know of any other place where we would live better. We only know how to live where we are. We don't think we will live better anywhere else. You should carry on with your campaign and the Creator will help you to achieve what you are trying to do with us.' Letsema Mohelwang ‘A lot of people now are saying Survival is wrong to be campaigning. Some people believe it's a good thing. We have to look at the situation as it is. Why should Survival stand up and campaign? Who is Survival campaigning for? Those are the questions we have to ask ourselves and in this case I think it's not wrong at all because Survival actually goes to the people on the ground and collects the information from people and it's the communities which send Survival to stand up on their behalf. Nobody should just sit down in Ghanzi and Gaborone and say Survival is lying when they have never contacted people. As long as Survival is campaigning and talking about people and  speaking people's ideas out loud I don't see any reason why we should say Survival is wrong to be doing that. Only if Survival is creating stories – but as far as I am concerned Survival is not. Survival has visited the communities themselves on a number of occasions to get the information from the people and get the go ahead from the people. So I think Survival has been good campaigning. ‘I don't know how much the campaign has done, as I'm now out of touch, and how it's turned the government officials. As much pressure as can be put on the government will help as the whole problem here is that a lot of people don't understand what Survival is talking about until people sit down and have discussions with Survival or with the people Survival is campaigning for. That is the only time people will understand that Survival is not mad shouting every day. I think Survival understands our situation and listens to us and understands us and that is why Survival is campaigning for us. I don't think water and essential services were cut because of Survival's campaign because one of the ministers warned the CKGR residents services would be cut before Survival grew up. Already the government had this in mind that they would cut off services. It is not because of the campaign that they were cut off. That's not correct.' Mosodi ‘Survival is doing quite a good job and should carry on because we can see that Survival is very keen to help us to the extent that they gave us radios. We can see that people are worried about what is being done to us. So I think Survival is doing a good job and Botswana is getting jealous and it doesn't want Survival to do this because it wants the Bushmen to die. The government won't help us but others will. Don't be scared by the government – just carry on. The time will come when you will manage to overpower the government. Then we will be able to go back to our place. We hope you will carry on and don't be cheated by the government because the government itself is a cheat.' Dingongorego ‘You people at Survival should carry on. You international organisations should try to help us with water as the government has already decided it won't. A person can't survive without water.' Tlhalehang Galitshipi ‘Survival has done a good job…  I know that Survival has been helping and I like your help because the government is supposed to help us but it's not. It's punishing us. So you people are doing a great job. You should put more pressure on the government.' Segoko Moitshane ‘So I hope and I'd like Survival to increase its work – it shouldn't draw back. It should increase its work and put pressure on the government. The government is supposed to help us but it's trying to kill us, that's why it's taken us out and put us in other people's land. The people from Gugama are eating dog here – there's nothing for them to eat. The children have nothing. That's why they are crying to go back. They live on cattle which have long died – they go and collect their skins in the bush and eat them. The government is doing very bad things with Bushmen in general here in Botswana. It's not only us. I've just recently heard that the government has cut the water off at Jamakate in NE District. They are another Bushman people and I heard the government cut the water and they have to move to another place. So that's how Bushman are treated – they are not treated like other people in Botswana. So I hope Survival will put pressure on this government as it's doing very bad things to Bushmen in general here in Botswana.' Amogoleng Segootsane ‘People were making noise during our relocation – I don't know who they are. I would like those people to continue making a noise because maybe in the long run the noise may help us in some way.' Bithanona Mogoba ‘There is no room for negotiating with them [the government] because whatever we negotiate, they dump it and do a different thing. ‘I heard of Survival International's support on the radio because the ministers are crying everyday on the radio saying Survival is campaigning for the diamond mining to be cut off. I think Survival's campaign is OK and the government should support Survival. I call on all other countries, Britain, America and Japan to support Survival International in our campaign. All other governments should talk to the Botswana government to stop relocating us and give us our tribal land because we have stayed there for many, many years, even before Botswana got its independence we were there, so we should be given the right to stay on our land. ‘Survival International should continue to lobby and campaign for us and campaign for all Bushmen in the world and to tell all NGOs to help to try and persuade the government to let us back on our tribal land. We should feel free in Botswana under the Botswana government. We are the tribal owners of the land and I pray that Survival should succeed in its campaign. I pray that… Survival will be strong and end up persuading the government to stop relocating us and give us our tribal land.' Castro ‘Tell these people [the government] to leave us in our own place. They are in their own place and nobody is troubling them. You people carry on – it will be very good of you to make an effort and take our story to the international people to talk to the government. Do that and let us know. Let us go back to our land. Don't be sleepy – wake up and stand on your feet!' Mamo Mbohe ‘Help us please, we need your help. We people who were moved from CKGR all of us need your help. You have to stand up and give us that help so we can move back to our place because in our area we live well. Nothing hurts us when we live there. We don't like this area [the relocation camp] because most of the people get sick here, especially the people from CKGR, most get sick. I'm very happy with Survival International because it's trying to help us. Survival is the one talking with the government saying you must not take out the people in this way, You have to treat them as people. The way the government acts is not good because it's forcing us. And Survival is saying no, you don't have to force these people, you have to talk to them.' Oakantse Mmolayapudi Balbal