Survival has launched an ad campaign exposing the Botswana government’s malicious treatment of the Gana and Gwi Bushmen, the country’s oldest inhabitants.
An advertisement depicting an inverted Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), the Bushmen’s ancestral home, has appeared in a series of popular magazines, including Condé Nast Traveller, The World of Interiors, and Red Bulletin which is distributed with the UK’s Independent newspaper.
The ‘Defying logic’ ads draw attention to the government’s refusal to allow the Bushmen access to a water borehole on their lands, forcing them to make up to 300 mile round trip journeys to fetch water from outside the CKGR. At the same time, the government is drilling new boreholes for wildlife and has given the go ahead for a safari lodge complete with swimming pool for tourists in the Reserve, which opened last month.
In 2002, the Botswana government evicted the Bushmen from their ancestral lands; an act that was later ruled to be illegal in a landmark court ruling, which also ruled that the Bushmen have the right to go home. However, since the ruling, the government has banned the Bushmen from accessing a borehole which they used before they were evicted and which they rely on for water in the CKGR.
The Bushmen have now launched further legal proceedings against the government in an attempt to gain access to their borehole.
Survival’s director Stephen Corry said today, ‘Saying the Bushmen cannot have the water from the borehole on their land defies logic, violates Botswana’s constitution, and flouts basic human rights. It’s a clear signal that the government opposes the welfare of its own Bushman citizens. Surely it’s time for the government to restore logic and recognize the Bushmen’s fundamental right to water.’
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