Socialist Worker

Kalahari Bushmen driven off their land

Issue No. 1970

Petros Thuduhuduhudu holds the ID card of his brother-in-law Selelo, who died in August after being tortured by wildlife officials (Pic: http://www.survival-international.org

Petros Thuduhuduhudu holds the ID card of his brother-in-law Selelo, who died in August after being tortured by wildlife officials (Pic: www.survival-international


Protesters gathered last week outside the De Beers diamond shop in London in solidarity with the Kalahari Bushmen in Botswana, southern Africa.

The Bushmen have been evicted from their lands, which have been carved up for diamond exploration.

De Beers runs all Botswana’s diamond mines in partnership with the government.

Several Bushmen have been tortured by wildlife officials for hunting to feed their families, and one Bushman recently died from his injuries.

In August the government announced that it is putting guards around the Central Kalahari Game Reserve to blockade the area and stop Bushmen going in. The Bushmen’s reserve is contained within the game reserve.

The government is also on the point of changing the country’s constitution to remove any existing protection for the Bushmen.

Selelo Tshiamo, one of several Bushmen severely tortured by officials in June, died after he was repeatedly beaten on the chest to the point where he coughed blood.

His chest pains increased in the following weeks until he finally succumbed to his injuries.

All this amounts to the most serious assault on Bushman rights since their eviction in 2002.

Thirty of those still living in the reserve resisted eviction completely in 2002, while several hundred others returned to their homes after the evictions despite government opposition.

Other Bushmen wait in fetid resettlement camps, desperate to return.

For full background information, updates and campaign material go to www.survival-international.org


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International
Sat 1 Oct 2005, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1970
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