Botswana Bushmen: We are not moving


Keikabile Mogodu

Botswana — An authentic safari experience is a conundrum in itself. While there is no denying its benefit to many an African country’s economy, it is often at the expense of the very authenticity that is being sought in the first place. The Bushmen of Botswana are at the centre of a land dispute as they live on the site of a proposed wildlife park that lies between two of the country’s premier safari reserves, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. According to International rights group Survival International,  the Botswana government wants to get rid of them in order to create a wildlife corridor.

The Sowetan reports the Bushmen have since won a temporary reprieve against forced removal from what they claim is their land.
Keikabile Mogodu, the director of the Bushmen rights group, Khwedom, called on the government to recognise Ranyane and provide basic services.

“We are not moving from Ranyane, it is our ancestral land. We are determined to fight for our land,” said Mogodu.

According to Survival International, Botswana’s nature-loving president, Ian Khama, sits on the board of the US organisation Conservation International that is implementing the wildlife corridor.

But Botswana government spokesperson Jeff Ramsay said that most residents had in fact asked to be relocated and declined to comment on the corridor.

He said authorities had had five meetings with the Ranyane Bushmen, who numbered just 182, according to 2011 electoral data.

The indigenous rights bodies have vowed to fight against the removal of these Bushmen, whose population numbers are believed to be around 100 000 in Botswana, Namibia, Angola and South Africa. — AP

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