Botswana hauls Bushmen into court

At least ten San (Bushmen) from Molapo, in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), Botswana, have been charged with entering a game reserve without a permit, Survival International, reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, issued by the London-based organisation which deals with the rights of indigenous people, the Botswana police issued the charges on Monday and it is expected the accused San will appear in court on June 23.

“The Gana and Gwi Bushmen were evicted from their ancestral land in the central Kalahari, where they have lived for thousands of years, by the Botswana government in 1997 and February 2002,” said the report.

“A small number of Bushmen managed to stay on their land in spite of intimidation by the authorities.
Others who were evicted have managed to return to their homes despite fierce government opposition and hundreds more wish to go back.”

Survival said that while visiting the United Kingdom last week, the President of Botswana, Festus Mogae, stated that he would not let the Bushmen go home as the game reserve “is for animals, not people”. In September the Bushmen were told they were free to go back to the reserve.

The San are the original inhabitants of the central Kalahari. The CKGR was established in the 1960s to protect their lands from encroachment. - Sapa

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