Opposition party ‘condemns colonial-style forced relocation’ of Bushmen

August 24, 2006

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One of Botswana's main opposition parties, the Botswana National Front (BNF), has branded the Botswana government's eviction of the Gana and Gwi Bushmen from their land as ‘indefensible'.

In a statement published yesterday in the Botswana newspaper Mmegi, the BNF, ‘condemns in the strongest of terms the colonial-style forced relocation of Basarwa [Bushmen] of the CKGR [Central Kalahari Game Reserve].'

The statement continues, ‘The BNF rejects the government's simplistic view that Indigenous peoples like Basarwa have only two options – either to remain locked up in an ancient lifestyle in the game reserves and perish 'like the dodo' or relocate to remote places like New Xade and succumb to assimilation into the cultures of dominant ethnic groups.

‘In our view, development is not just economic, social and political but also cultural. It must respect the cultural identities of the people. Development, however well meaning, is not something that can be done to the people or imposed on them against their will.

‘We therefore call upon the government to immediately and unconditionally allow Basarwa to return to their homeland or CKGR where their ancestors are buried because their cultures, economies and identities are inextricably intertwined with their traditional lands and resources.'

To read the statement in full click here