Back to the Bush

kalahari melon danceHunter-gatherer bushmen who had been forced out of Botswana’s Kalahari Desert found there way onto the Web before winning back the right to return to their tribal lands today.

Displaced to settlement camps over the decade, allegedly so Botswana could preserve the land and its wildlife within the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), many of the Bushmen succumbed to starvation, AIDS/HIV and alcoholism. Others banded together with activists including the Archbishop Desmond Tutu behind a civil rights case that went to court originally in 2002.

The Bushmen published a Web site, with photos and pleas for the return of their land.

Many believe that the real reason the bushmen were forced out was corporate pressure from diamond mining giant De Beers. Several international celebs began publicizing the story of a 20,000-year-old hunter-gatherer tribe forced against their will to flee their land and assimilate.

In September, the bushmen published an ad appealing to Leonardo DiCaprio to take a stand for their rights after he filmed Blood Diamond, depicting the murderous diamond trade of Sierra Leone. Later, the L.A. Times joined the De Beers-bashing.

Last week saw the launch of BoycottDeBeers.comm calling for boycott of De Beers and their “conflict diamonds.”

For more on the Kalahari Bushmen and today’s court decision: BBC News (w/ video and photos).

image from David!!!!!s flickr

One Reply to “Back to the Bush”

  1. This is really estraordinary! And only 9 years in the making. “As It Happens” had a good bit on this the other night. Just wonder what global precedent this sets!

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