Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Resettlement of the Bushmen - Botswana

During 1997 several Bushmen communities were resettled from The Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana to various settlements in the Southern and Eastern Part of Botswana. Although legitimate reasons were presented by the Botswana Government is was largely done so against the will of the Bushmen. It resulted in a famous international court case that restored the rights of the Bushmen in their ancient hunting ground. Efforts soon ensued to reverse this court decision and even today the future of the Bushmen still looks grim without clarity where they stand, or sit in regard to all these decisions. The result of the resettlement impacted the traditional hunterer-gatherer lifestyle of Bushmen dramatically. They had to adapt to a much less passive lifestyle in which the traditional roles of men and women were severely altered. Wherever Bushmen communities were resettle social problems soon ensued. 

Following in this post and other future posts is a collage of photos that was taken by Christian Erni from the International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) during 1997. The photos below were taken from Bushmen in the New Xade Settlement. Their facial expressions at that time told a story about misery and hardship.

Where is New Xade?
Xade was the traditional home to a Bushmen community and is located within the Western section of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. The group of Bushmen were resettled from there to New Xade, a community outside and to the west of the Park. As can be seen on the map below it is literally in the middle of nowhere! 

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