March to Parliament to condemn Bushman evictions

Around 200 people took to the streets in Botswana's capital Gaborone on Saturday to protest the government's refusal to allow the Bushmen of the Central Kalahari to return to their ancestral homes.

Protestors carrying placards during the demonstration in Gaborone
Protestors carrying placards during the demonstration in Gaborone
The protest came just 10 days before the High Court of Botswana is due to decide the fate of the Bushmen in their landmark court case.

The protesters carried placards reading 'Value Human Life more than Animal Life', 'Land, Diamonds to People not Multinationals' and 'Let Basarwa Go Home Now'.

Akayang Magama, the secretary general of Botswana opposition party BNF, stated, 'Government is trying to impose on them an alien settlement pattern which makes them recipients of food handouts. It amounts to ethnocide and cultural genocide and is breeding new problems of alcoholism, prostitution and HIV/AIDS infections.'

Leaders of the demonstration being interviewed by national and international media
Leaders of the demonstration being interviewed by national and international media
During the event, a petition was submitted to President Festus Mogae demanding that the Bushmen be allowed to return to their homeland and that they should become co-owners and co-managers of the game reserve.

The Bushman organisation, First People of the Kalahari, applauded the protest. 'We hope this will make the government listen to our cries – we want to go home! We are very excited and happy for this support', they stated in a press release on Friday. A number of Bushmen travelled to Gaborone from New Xade resettlement camp to join the protest.

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

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