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The Gana and Gwi 'Bushmen', who have been evicted from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, are taking Botswana's government to court. The Bushmen hope that the case, which has started in Lobatse today, will enable them to return to the Reserve, where they have lived for thousands of years.
The Gana and Gwi are hoping that the court will declare their eviction illegal. After years of harassment and coercion against the Bushmen, in February the government finally cut off water and food rations to those Bushmen who had remained in the reserve, then demolished their houses and trucked them to resettlement camps. Now the government is heavily restricting Bushmen who want to return to the Reserve. Last week, for example, one Bushman man was given a permit to enter the Reserve for three days only; under the terms of the permit he was not allowed to touch any wood or vegetation, and was followed everywhere by armed guards.
Although it claims the reason for the removal is to 'develop' the Bushmen, in reality the Reserve's rich diamond deposits are believed to be behind the policy. Survival International has launched an international advertising campaign under the slogan 'Botswana Diamonds, Bushman Despair.'
NB The names Gana and Gwi contain sounds not conveyed by this spelling, and can be written as G//ana and G/wi. Survival omits the symbols '//' and '/' as they are not understood by most people internationally.
Click here to donate to Survival's Bushman campaign.
Click here to join Survival's letter writing campaign on behalf of Botswana's Bushmen.
Photos and footage available to the press. For more information contact Miriam Ross (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]