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Friday, September 27, 2013

Holidaymakers urged to boycott Botswana

Bushmen at Haina Kalahari Lodge
Tourists have been urged to avoid Botswana in protest at the alleged mistreatment of the country's Bushmen.

By Jolyon Attwooll
3:37PM BST 26 Sep 2013

Survival International, which supports the rights of tribal groups around the world, accused the Botswana government of thwarting attempts to restore the Bushmen's free access to their ancestral homeland.

In a press release, it said the government’s behaviour on the issue was “disgraceful”, reserving its harshest criticism for Ian Khama, the Botswana president. Stephen Corry, Survival’s director, described his treatment of the Bushmen as “illegal, inhuman and degrading.”


Survival International said it would ask supporters to join a boycott of the country, as well as write to its minister of tourism in protest.

Campaigners have also written to tour operators including Trailfinders, Intrepid and Absolute Travel, urging them to stop running trips to the country.

The latest move was prompted by the rejection of an attempt to overturn a law requiring Bushmen to have permits to enter their traditional hunting grounds on the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR).

According to Survival International, Gordon Bennett, a British attorney, had been blocked from coming into the country to help the Bushmen’s legal case.

Chris McIntyre, who runs the tour operator Expert Africa and is author of the latest Bradt guidebook to Botswana, said both the country’s government and Survival International had adopted an “unhelpful” approach at times.

“Over the years neither of them seems able to help reach a really fair and pragmatic solution which will help the day-to-day life of the poor people involved,” he said. “It's a real failure for both.”

He described the calls for a boycott as “counterproductive”, saying it would hit local people.

 “One job in tourism usually supports many people in the wider community. Elsewhere in Africa, tourism is actively helping to conserve the Bushmen's traditional skills, and earning them a proper income.”

He also praised Botswana for its good schools and good social programmes, describing it as "one of the last African countries which might deserve to be penalised over human rights issues."

The issue over the Bushmen – one of several terms used to describe a broad ethnic group spread across Botswana and Namibia – has flared up over several decades.

The current conflict was triggered by a Botswana government decision to evict Bushmen from the CKGR, their traditional homeland, and re-settle them outside the reserve.

That policy was reversed by a Botswana high court decision in 2006, allowing Bushmen to return but without obliging the government to provide amenities. Gradual erosion of the Bushmen’s traditional hunter-gatherer way of life has also complicated the issue.

Survival International has previously called for a boycott of the country, back in 2010, after the government sealed off access to a borehole on the reserve.

The Botswana Tourism Organisation in London did not respond to requests for comment.

Sourced from: telegraph.co.uk

2 comments:

  1. The Bushmen dont need a borehole so just lay off that stupid excuse . They didnt have one for tens of thousands of years , they have the skills to siphon water where it can be found under the sand and for those who refuse to follow tradition there is the towns and cities . The traditional ones are fewer and the numbers cannot be sustained by taking from the nature anymore since the nature is depleted by hunting and modern agriculture , not to mention the migration paths blocked by the need to control foot and mouth disease with thousands of miles of fencing , itself contributing to large amounts of animal deaths.
    They must live and die by the laws of nature as they have for thousands of years or take on the modern challenges . They cant have it both ways . The Eden that once existed with abundance of food and seasonal migrations through different countries is is over a long time ago . I admire their skills , the few that still have them , the old ones --- but the young ones dont follow the old ones and have nothing positive to replace the wisdom of old ,so they end up in poverty . They are the lost generation and lack pride of place . Sad but inevitable.

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Anon (11:50 PM) – It is true what you say and I tend to agree with your sentiments on this issue. There’s not much news from Botswana… Bloggers like me thus rely on media reports. I do, however, sense some or other sinister political agenda behind this whole issue, but unfortunately I cannot share my true opinions on a blog that focuses mainly on tourism. For politically incorrect views may I suggest that you visit the parent blog, Tia Mysoa.

    You may also find the following article quite fascinating, as it has a direct bearing on the Bushmen and the distorted history we’ve been taught over the years:
    http://tia-mysoa.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-suppressed-history-of-south-africas.html

    Thanks for visiting this blog and for leaving a comment!

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