Botswana president: Bushmen can't go home

June 11, 2003

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President Mogae of Botswana told a protester in the UK this week that the Gana and Gwi 'Bushmen' who have been forced off their land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve will not be allowed to go home. He declared, 'the Central Kalahari Game Reserve is for animals, not people.'

President Mogae was met by a peaceful protest outside University College, Oxford, where he was having lunch during his visit to the UK. When asked by a student if the Bushmen would be allowed to go back to their homes in the Reserve, he replied, 'No, no, no, they won't'. Video of the encounter has been passed to Survival. To view this film, click here.

This statement by President Mogae appears to pre-judge the ongoing court case bring brought by the Bushmen to be allowed to go home. It also contradicts numerous assurances by Ministers that the Bushmen are free to return to the Reserve, and have not been forced out against their will.

A representative of the college students handed President Mogae a letter which declares, 'The eviction of tribal peoples from their land, and their forced assimilation into an alien society is intolerable… Those Bushmen who wish to return to their land should be allowed to do so.'

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