Thirsty Still: Santa delivers Xmas gift to Botswana government from Kalahari Bushman

December 10, 2009

Santa Claus delivers a bottle of water to the Botswana High Commission, London. © Survival International

This page was created in 2009 and may contain language which is now outdated.

Santa Claus made a special delivery to the Botswana High Commission in London today, UN Human Rights Day, on behalf of the Kalahari Bushmen.

Botswana officials received a gift-wrapped bottle of water labelled ‘Thirsty Still’, highlighting the fact that three years after the Kalahari Bushmen won a landmark court case affirming their right to live on their land, the Botswana government continues to deny them access to water.

The Bushmen took the Botswana government to court over their eviction from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in 2002, in what became the longest legal battle in the country’s history. On 13 December 2006, the Botswana High Court ruled that the evictions were ‘unlawful’ and that the Bushmen could go home.

Three years later, the Bushmen have launched new litigation over their right to access water in the reserve. The government is promoting tourism in the reserve, and has allowed a safari company to build a tourist lodge with a swimming pool. But the Bushmen are not allowed to access a single water borehole, and must make a 400km round trip to fetch water from outside the reserve.

On delivering the gift of bottled water to the Botswana High Commission this morning, Santa Claus said, ‘I wish the Botswana government a very Happy Christmas, and I sincerely hope it will make the Bushmen’s Christmas by allowing them to exercise their most basic human right, to access water on their own land.’