Judges in Botswana’s High Court will rule on Wednesday on the landmark case brought by the Kalahari Bushmen against the Botswana government.
Bushman Jumanda Gakelebone said today, ‘We Bushmen have waited so long to hear this ruling. Many of my friends have died since the case began, and will never see the day we return to our land. I am asking the judges, please, please let us go home, so that all this dying will stop.’
At least 12% of the original 239 Bushman applicants have died in government resettlement camps since the case was filed.
The court will be open to journalists and members of the public. The Bushmen are fighting for their right to live on their land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and to hunt and gather freely there. They filed the case after the Botswana government evicted them from their land in 2002.
The case has been the longest and most expensive in Botswana’s legal history, despite being brought by the country’s poorest inhabitants. 135 more Bushmen have asked to be added to the original list of 239 applicants this year.
The Bushmen recently launched a website with quotes from more than 400 Bushman adults about their wish to return to their land. Together with their children they number around 1,000 people: https://www.iwant2gohome.org
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