Ten years ago Botswana’s High Court ruled that the Central Kalahari Bushmen had been illegally evicted from their ancestral homelands. It upheld their right to live and hunt there in peace.

But Botswana’s government didn’t listen. Will it change its mind in time for the country’s fiftieth birthday?

Broken families

The majority of the Bushmen still cannot live freely in their former homeland in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

Couples have been separated and children, when they turn 18, must apply for one-month permits to live with their families inside the reserve.

This has been likened to South Africa’s infamous apartheid pass laws. Unless the government changes its mind, there will be no Bushmen living in the reserve in a few generations’ time.

© Forest Woodward / Survival, 2015

© Forest Woodward / Survival, 2015

© Forest Woodward / Survival, 2015

A death sentence

The court also ruled that banning the Bushmen in the reserve from hunting violated the country’s constitution and was “tantamount to condemning [them] to death.”

Yet despite this, the government has imposed a nationwide hunting ban, effectively leaving the Bushmen to starve. They are accused of “poaching” because they hunt to feed their families, and the government uses military technology to enforce a shoot on sight policy against hunters.

© Dominick Tyler

© Forest Woodward / Survival, 2015

© Dominick Tyler

With your help this can change

President Khama could right these wrongs with the stroke of a pen.

We know that the government is listening: it has started talking to some Bushmen, which is a good sign.

But many Bushmen fear these moves are just window-dressing to deflect criticism during the country’s 50th anniversary of independence.

Tell the government to fully uphold the Bushmen’s rights and the court ruling before it’s too late.