Two Kenyan hunter-gatherers who travelled 2,800 km to investigate the plight of the Kalahari Bushmen have called on Botswana’s government to ‘learn from our experience’.
The two men, members of the Ogiek tribe, spent several days seeing at first hand the desperate situation of the Gana and Gwi Bushmen, now living in resettlement camps after being evicted from their ancestral land.
One of the Ogiek men, Kiplangat Cheruyot, said, ‘Their lives, culture and tradition have been disrupted through the evictions. Families have been torn apart and the conflict between the people and the government agencies has induced a state of permanent fear.’
The Ogiek representatives and the Bushmen issued a joint statement after the visit denouncing the Bushmen’s forced relocation and calling on the government to allow them to return home.
Mr Cheruyot, said, ‘Kenya fought its hunter-gatherers, mountain and forest people for decades, but the government realised its mistakes and gave indigenous hunter-gatherer people like ours title deeds for land. They helped the people to own and manage the wildlife resources in their areas, and draw the benefits of exploitation. I am sure Botswana can learn from our experience.’
The Ogiek were detained and interrogated by Botswana immigration officials as they left the country.
|Ogiek hunter-gatherers from Kenya holding a press conference where they denounced the Bushmen's forced relocation|
For more information contact Kiplangat Cheruyot, Ogiek People's Development Program, on +254 721 602 573
or Miriam Ross on +44 (0)20 7687 8734 / [email protected]
More information on the Ogiek