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Just three days after Survival International re-ignited its Bushman campaign, a lengthy cover article in The Times has described the Botswana government’s continuing refusal to honour the terms of the Bushmen’s court victory.
Lucia Van Der Post, daughter of renowned author Laurens van der Post, travelled to the Bushmen’s resettlement camps and into the Central Kalahari Game Reserve for the article.
‘Why’, she writes, ‘when I arrive to see for myself the happy sight of Bushmen returning to their land, do I find so many of them still living in the hated, dusty settlements? Why are they being prosecuted for hunting when that is their time-honoured means of feeding themselves? Why is the Government refusing to reopen the boreholes, schools and hospitals that they forcibly closed…?
‘We are unable to find any family in New Xade [resettlement camp] that has the means to return. Many of the young men have to appear in court in a few days’ time for hunting offences, and so cannot leave. Others have no cars, no petrol…’
Ms Van Der Post concludes, ‘The Botswana High Court judgment had it absolutely right. “The case is, thus, ultimately about a people demanding dignity and respect.” It is a people saying, in essence: “Our way of life may be different but it is worthy of respect.”’
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