Burb Rocking
Sunday, January 07, 2007
  Rough cuts for the San Bushmen

In case anyone might be under the delusion that justice has been served and all is now well with the San:

Botswana gives Bushmen tough conditions by Sello Motseta (Associated Press)

. . . "The ruling says that we own that land," Junanda Gakelevone of the First People of the Kalahari, which represents the Kalahari Bushmen, told The Associated Press. "We have constitutional rights to stay and occupy that land."

"We are going back to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve with our horses and donkeys," he said. Without motorized transport — which the Bushmen lack — it takes about a week to walk from the main resettlement camp to the reserve.

Botswana‘s government said the Bushmen agreed to move as part of efforts to protect wildlife. Authorities said they compensated the displaced Bushmen for their land, and provided schools, medical facilities and job training in the resettlement centers.

But critics say the crowded resettlement camps encouraged alcoholism, AIDS and prostitution. They say the Bushmen‘s eviction turned a society of proud hunters into communities dependent on food aid and government handouts.

This part of the verdict was welcomed by mining giant De Beers, which controls the diamond mines with the government...

There are only a few of the world's oldest people left - the article above mentions perhaps 100,000, which is an optimistic estimate. Of them, only a mere 2,000 hope to go back home to the land of their ancestors. Yet Botswana's government says only 189 (and their children) will be allowed to reclaim what that government took from them: their way of life. But even the first twenty of these were chased away by the Government's wildlife officers when they attempted to enter the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. This week 100 of the dispossessed will try again.

From author Craig Nelson's The Last of the Bushmen, a sample of the song sung by the Hazda relatives of the Kalahari's nomads, as they dance in a circle:

Hamana nale kui,
Nale kui . . .
Hamana nale kui,
Nale kui . . .

Here we go round,
Go round . . .
Here we go round,
Go round . . .
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