Indigenous leader shocked by visit to Botswana Bushmen

A Khoisan youth leader from South Africa's Northern Cape has returned from Botswana shocked by the conditions he found in the Bushman eviction site of New Xade.

Elijah Molahlehi, who leads the Khoisan organisation Motivation Community Development, spent several days talking to Gana and Gwi Bushmen who have been evicted from their homes in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

Molahlehi said, 'Visiting New Xade was really something, where people are homeless, their houses were destroyed in the times of eviction…. Everyone is saying WE WANT TO GO BACK HOME.'

'The government is claiming development, but the reality is, the government is oppressing the Basarwa [Bushman] people, starting with their lies about development…. The Basarwa people didn't use money because they didn't need it. And now in New Xade, they need it but they don't have it. There is no way to survive there, no hunting and no planting.'

Molahlehi said that the drinking water in New Xade was dirty, AIDS was a big problem, and children were dropping out of school because they were not taught in their own language.

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Elijah Molahlehi is available for interview. Contact (+27) (0)83 481 4910

Note to editors: 'Khoisan' refers to groups of hunters and herders in southern Africa who speak 'click' languages. This includes the Bushmen.

For more information contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]