The Bushmen fight back as Botswana's PR efforts flounder

Three years after the Botswana government evicted the Gana and Gwi
Bushmen from their ancestral land, over 200 Bushmen have returned
home in spite of attempts to stop them, while Botswana faces
increasing criticism in the international press. Recent articles in
the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, the Seattle Times and
the well-known US magazine Mother Jones all slam the evictions.

The Los Angeles Times calls the eviction site New Xade a 'desolate'
place. 'There are no wild desert melons and roots to be gathered
anywhere nearby, no work, nothing to do. At night, young people
slouch around as tinny distorted music blares out at the Cool Way
Bars. New Xade is a place where drinking can leave scars.'
The Mother
Jones correspondent, also visiting New Xade, found 'garbage-strewn
streets and loitering drunks', and a mounting HIV/AIDS death toll.
'This is the place of perishing', one Bushman told him.

The Botswana government and De Beers have spent huge sums of
money paying international PR firm Hill and Knowlton to defend the
evictions.

Survival's director Stephen Corry said today, 'It's incredible that
the Botswana government still pretends that the Gana and Gwi
moved voluntarily and are happy with life in the eviction sites. Every
independent journalist comes back with the same story of alcoholism,
despair, and the people's desperation to go home.'

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