BBC's John Simpson on misery of evicted Bushmen

April 26, 2005

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In a high-profile article published yesterday, the BBC's World Affairs Editor John Simpson reveals how shocked he was by his visit to the evicted Gana and Gwi Bushmen. ’[In New Xade eviction camp] I saw men staggering round, drunk from early in the morning on the beer which costs next to nothing,' he says. ’When the Botswana government takes foreign guests to New Xade on fact-finding trips, it shows them the showcase schools and clinics which have been built for the Bushmen. [They] take a detour in order to miss the shebeens [bars].'

Simpson writes a weekly column for the BBC's website – the world's most widely read news site. He believes, despite the denials of De Beers and the Botswana government, that the Gana and Gwi Bushmen were evicted from the Central Kalahari because of diamonds.

‘I used not to believe that this was the real cause, but now I have changed my mind,' he says. ’Somehow, it is too much of a coincidence that so much wealth lies under the land of so few Bushmen.'

Simpson highlights the Botswana government's attempt to remove from Botswana's constitution the clause that protects the Bushmen. The UK's Independent newspaper has also reported the likely amendment: ’The scrapping of the clause, halfway through the case, appears designed to ensure that the Bushmen cannot win in court.'
To read John Simpson's article, visit

To read the Independent article, visit

Photos and footage available. For more information contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]