Bushmen struggle to return to Central Kalahari
1st March, 2007
Botswanan police are refusing to allow Kalahari Bushmen to return to their ancestral homelands, despite their having won a landmark high court case allowing them to do so, writes Clive Dennis
On December 13 last year the Bushmen finally succeeded in their four-year struggle for justice in the courts of Botswana, challenging their eviction from the Central Kalahari. In contradiction of the ruling, however, the police declared independently in January that the court decision applies only to those 239 Bushmen who had originally brought the case, rather than the thousand or so who had been living there until the evictions first started in 1997.
As a result families have been split in two, as many of those who were included on the court list have had to leave their wives and children behind the police lines on the edge of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR).
In 2002, the Bushmen of the Kalahari filed a claim against the Government of Botswana challenging their recent forced removal from their homelands, which was in violation not only of international law, but also of Botswana’s constitution. In what was to become the longest and most expensive court case in Botswana’s history, the Bushmen, described during the proceedings as ‘stone age creatures’ by Festus Mogae, the President of Botswana, gave evidence which cast the country’s government in a far less favourable light...
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