Bushmen start USA tour with Hollywood Amnesty Event

August 24, 2004

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Launching a month-long tour of the USA, two Kalahari Bushmen are to visit Hollywood with Amnesty International.

Roy Sesana and Jumanda Gakelebone will attend an event in Beverly Hills on 27 August hosted by singer-songwriter Jackson Browne, to raise awareness of the Botswana government's eviction of their people from their ancestral land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. They will discuss their concern that they have been evicted to make way for future diamond mining. The USA is the largest market for Botswana's diamonds.

The two Bushmen, from the organisation First People of the Kalahari (FPK), are travelling the USA from coast to coast to draw attention to the forced evictions and their struggle to return to the lands of their ancestors.

On 28 and 29 August they will meet members of Los Angeles' African American community at a church in South Central LA. On 3 September they will be interviewed by National Public Radio, before attending 'The Gathering', a multi-cultural festival, from 6-12 September. They will then drive across the Southwest, visiting the Hopi and Navajo tribes. The Bushmen will travel on to Washington DC, where they will appear with Amnesty before the Human Rights Caucus on Capitol Hill on 23 September. On 24 September they will give a press conference at the National Press Club, DC, 9-11am. They will then continue to New York, to give a public talk at the American Museum of Natural History, chaired by writer Gloria Steinem, at 2pm on 26 September. Their tour of the USA will end with a visit to the United Nations on 27 September. The Bushmen will then travel on to Europe.

The Gana and Gwi Bushmen and their neighbours the Bakgalagadi were evicted from their land in 1997 and 2002 by the Botswana government, and forced to live in resettlement camps where they are dependent on government handouts. Many in the camps are turning to alcohol, begging and prostitution. 243 Bushmen have taken the Botswana government to court over the forced evictions. The case began in July and was recently adjourned.

For information on the USA tour contact:

Rupert Isaacson (001) 512 294 1561 [email protected] or
Kim Langbecker, (001) 310 663 4139 [email protected]

For background information,
please contact Miriam Ross at Survival International on: +44 20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]

View Related Material for more information on the Bushmen.

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