Bushmen attack BBC radio programme as 'not true'

November 24, 2005

This page was created in 2005 and may contain language which is now outdated.

The organization of the central Kalahari Bushmen has published a statement denouncing the recent BBC Radio 4 programme 'Crossing Continents', which accused Survival of 'making things worse' for the Bushmen.

The Bushmen said, 'Survival has proved it is working for [us] and we have benefited a lot from their help. Unlike Kuru and Ditshwanelo, Survival is an organisation who does actually support the people of the CKGR.'

Descriptions of the programme on its 'Have your say' page include 'hatchet job' and 'ridiculously biased' against the Bushmen. Lord Jones of Cheltenham, on the other hand, asserts that 'the Botswana government is simply trying to supply decent social services such as health and education to all of its people.'

Explore the programme, and the issues it raises:

Listen to the Crossing Continents programme here (Realplayer file) or read a transcript here.
Click here for Survival's response.
To see the Bushmen's response, click here.
Click here to read an article by Survival's Director Stephen Corry, published in the Botswana newspaper the Sunday Standard.

Many people posted comments after the programme on the BBC's website: click here to read them.
BBC TV's Newsnight programme recently broadcast an investigation into the Bushmen's expulsion: watch it here (broadband) or here (dial-up).

One of the issues raised by Crossing Continents was the use of the phrase 'ethnic cleansing' to describe the Bushmen's expulsion. Click here to read an article about the controversy by BBC World Affairs Editor John Simpson in which the phrase was first used.

Whether the persecution of the Bushmen can be construed as 'close to genocide' or even genocide itself was also discussed in the programme. Click here to read an article that raised similar questions by Dr Mark Levene, genocide scholar at Southamption University, UK, first published in the Botswanan newspaper Mmegi.

The Crossing Continents piece included interviews with critics of Survival's Bushman campaign from the organizations Kuru and Ditshwanelo, as well as De Beers. Click here to read an earlier response to these attacks from the central Kalahari Bushmen.