Friday 10 March 2023
RAMOTSWA: After leading her tribe to final victory at the Court of Appeal (CoA) this week, the Ba Ga-Malete leader, Kgosi Mosadi Seboko says she now fears for her life more than ever.
The CoA ruling put an end to a legal fight over Forest Hill 9-KO, the fiercely disputed land measuring 2,229 hectares (other sources mention 200,229 hectares) that left government and Bamalete at odds.
Now with Bamalete granted court victory, Kgosi Mosadi who was among the respondents for the appeal had asked her tribe to pray for her as she faces enemies from both outside and within. Speaking at the Bamalete main Kgotla in Ramotswa after the victory on Tuesday, Kgosi Mosadi said: "I am now treading carefully because there are some people with bad intentions out there." She added: “I know that I must protect myself because there are those people I should be careful when I am around them." Kgosi Mosadi also said she knows better not to accept food offers from everyone because there are chances that some would poison her.
She also revealed that it is not just witchcraft she may be facing but there are other works in play. She said she is glad that through it all, Balete managed to hold on to the spirit of prayer. She said as much as they prayed, they also do not have to disregard traditional methods of protection because the two go hand in hand. She advised her tribe to do the same and exercise care at all times.
She said they should all celebrate this victory responsibly because not everyone is happy about their court triumph. For his part, Kgosi Mosadi’s uncle Kgosi Tsimane Mokgosi emphasised that not everyone is celebrating their victory. "There are some people who are jealous of Kgosi Mosadi. But their hearts will settle,” he highlighted. Kgosi Mosadi made headlines last year when she claimed that President Mokgweetsi Masisi interfered with the Judiciary and wanted to play the hero in the Balete and government matter.
Kgosi Mosadi at the time set tongues wagging when she made the allegations before the media a few days before the first CoA appearance in the last session. She revealed then that Masisi had promised to give Bamalete their land back should they lose the case at the highest court in the land. She exposed Masisi’s 'meddling' hand in the affairs of the land saying she will never keep quiet or be part of the ‘never mind’ ilk to save her skin. “It is my word against his (President Masisi's) but I am telling the truth. I wouldn’t dare make such statements about the First Citizen knowing very well they are false. I have had sleepless nights since our meeting and I wonder how he sleeps at night?" Kgosi Mosadi declared at the time.
Kgosi Seboko warns the tribe (translation not possible)
“Se se sa siamang ke se se jesetswang mo ganong. Gake rotloetse tsedi jelwang mo ganong mo gongwe di a tle di iphetole botlhole, le nna ke tshwanetse ke itlhokomele nako tsotlhe. Le a itse le lona gore hake ile meketeng ba mphuthelela diswaanyana mme go nale ba eleng gore ke tshwanetse ke itlhokomele. Le dijo ke ba ra a kere tsholang pele le je. Metsi a ke lemogile gore le one beng ba one itlhele baa tshaba ba sa batle goa nwa, nna le nna ke simolotse go nna careful ka kgang ya metsi. Rotlhe re a itemogela gore ga e sa tlhole re re go jesitse baloi, re jesiwa le ke bone batho sekgoa ba go tweng re ja nabo.”(I don’t encourage comestibles because they tend to become poison. I must be careful at all times. You all know that during social functions they always package food hampers for me. I am not always suspicious but they are those people I should be careful when they are around. Even with food I tell them to eat first, I have started becoming more careful even with water. We have all observed that it is no longer witchcraft only but there are other sophisticated ways people go about to poison others.)
Reaction President Masisi, published by Mmegi or Sunday Standard. (The article has been removed from the newspaper that published it.)
If I had meddled with the courtcase, Bamalete would have lost the case.
December 15, 2022
Botswana’s Appeal Court has denied a Bushman family the right to bury their elder, Pitseng Gaoberekwe, on his ancestral land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR).
The ruling has been condemned by his family who said: “The government has denied us the right of access to our ancestral land. Who is it to deny us that right? Who are the courts here in Botswana to deny us this right? Our rights are inherent. They cannot be taken away neither by the courts, the government or anybody else. We were there before the creation of the game reserve... therefore this land cannot be left to vultures spreading around trying to scavenge on our land. Our land is precious, full of natural resources and animals, and we will not give it easily to this oppressive government.”
Survival believes this manifestly unjust and inhumane judgment appears to be politically influenced and to reflect a renewed round of persecution of and discrimination against Bushmen by the government.
Pitseng become ill in 2014. He was persuaded to leave his community in the CKGR to access medical treatment, and be near his children who live in one of the sites to which many of the CKGR Bushmen were evicted in 2002. He died there on 21 December 2021.
Local authorities and the Director of the Department of Wildlife refused to allow his family to transport the body from the morgue to the reserve, leaving the family with no option but to go to court to resolve the issue.
According to Bushman customary law, it is vital to bury the dead near their ancestors. Legal experts say the Director of Wildlife has no powers to override customary law and therefore no power to determine who is buried in the CKGR, or to refuse a permit for the purpose of a burial. It appears the Director exceeded his powers to further government policy aimed at restricting Bushmen access to the reserve.
Born in the CKGR in the 1940s, Pitseng spent virtually his whole life there until he became ill in 2014. He never forfeited his right to live on his ancestral land and refused to leave in the 1997 and 2002 evictions.
On his death bed he made clear to his family that he wished to be buried on the land of his ancestors in the CKGR, in accordance with custom.
He was a hunter, and endured assault, detention and even a year’s imprisonment in 1994 after being arrested by wildlife scouts for hunting. Despite this relentless persecution he refused to stop hunting.
Pitseng was an applicant in the landmark 2002-2006 High Court case, when judges ruled the Bushmen had been illegally and unconstitutionally evicted from their land in the CKGR.
A report published by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination this month raises considerable concerns at Botswana’s treatment of the CKGR Bushmen. It stated that: “the restrictive execution of the High Court’s decision and particularly the removal of the children from the Park at the age of 18 would aim for there to be no more inhabitants after the death of the Elders”.
The Committee urged Botswana “to fully implement the High Court’s decision by allowing all ethnic groups originating from this reserve to return and settle there unconditionally. ... and “to provide them with effective access to basic social services and enable them to resume their traditional activities without hindrance".
(revised draft, 1/8/23, J Frost) (8 January 2023) Ms Frost is an independent scholar who works with IWGIA (International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs) and KPF (Kalahari Peoples Fund) and has done fieldwork among the =Khomani in South Africa.
Pitseng Gaoberekwe was born in the mid-1940s and lived for most of his life in Metsiamanong, one of the five San communities in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR). His way of life there was recognized and documented several times by anthropologists. When the government attempted to relocate all residents outside of the Reserve, between 1997 and 2005, he refused to leave. As a result of the 2006 Roy Sesana vs Attorney General case, those who were evicted were allowed to return to the Reserve, but the decision only applied to residents who signed an official list of applicants. Gaoberekwe was a signatory, although his name was not on the part of the petition that was submitted to the court in 2006.
When he became ill in 2014, his family asked him to move to the New Xade, a settlement immediately outside the Reserve, in order to benefit from health care. In 2021 his condition worsened, and his family moved him to a hospital in Gaborone. He died there on December 21, 2021. During his illness he had asked his family to promise to bury him near his community in the CKGR.
His three children, Lesiame, Keitatotse and Dikakanyetso, moved their father’s body to Ghanzi, where they placed him in a mortuary while they asked for the Ghanzi District Council to help arrange for transport to the CKGR for burial. Initially the GDC raised no objections, except that they would not help pay for the transport, which the family said they would cover themselves. But the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) intervened and refused to allow the body to be transported into the Reserve. When the family made clear their intention to continue trying to bury their father in his ancestral territory, they received a court order on March 9 telling them to bury the body elsewhere within seven days, which they refused to do.
Smith Moeti, a nephew of the deceased and representative of the family, explained their point of view. “In our culture, it is sacrilegious to contravene the covenant we had with the departed. It is a traditional rite,” he said. “We must at all cost follow the dead’s words because the moment they pass they become our ancestors.”
Early in April, the Director of the DWNP, Kabelo Senyatso, submitted an affidavit to the court stating that “no body is, by current law entitled to be buried inside the CKGR.” He went on to state that no one in Botswana “...has the right to bury their dead inside a game reserve or a national park or any other protected place.” However, he allowed that the courts could still permit “the surviving 189 people in the Sesana case” to be buried in the Reserve.
Lesiame Pitseng, the son of the deceased, responded to the Directors statement by saying that his father was indeed an applicant in the Sesana case and that he has equal rights with the other 189 applicants. He went on to name several individuals whose corpses were buried in national parks or reserves.
On April 25, the government brought the case before the Gaborone High Court under Judge Itumeleng Segopolo, naming Lesiame Pitseng as chief applicant. The family’s attorney, Nelson Ramataona, stated that Lesiame had not only a right, but a duty to bury his father in the CKGR, and that other families had been permitted to bury their dead inside the CKGR. He emphasized that Gaoberekwe’s home was in the Reserve and he had lived at New Xade on a temporary basis only to gain access to health facilities. He testified that the DWNP’s narrative was wrong because the deceased’s name was found among the initial applicants, and he had never withdrawn from the case. He argued that the decision of the DWNP was unjustified and divisive as other families had been permitted to bury their dead inside the CKGR.
Advocate Sidney Pilane, who had represented the government in the 2006 case, represented her again here. He said of Mr. Gaoberekwe, “He is deceased and no longer exists as a person with rights. He is now a thing. And the question arises whether anybody can assert his right when he is deceased and what right does the applicant have to assert the dead person’s right?”
He denied that the deceased was one of the 189 residents who had been on the list submitted to the court, and for that reason could not have been a beneficiary of the 2006 High Court judgement of Sesana vs the Attorney General. In any case, he added – to the surprise of many listeners -- the clause in the Constitution that protected the Basarwas’ right to live in the Game Reserve, Section 14.3.C, had been removed from the Constitution. Therefore, no one was allowed to enter the CKGR without a permit. Further, he averred that Lesiame Pitseng had presented no evidence that his father had ever lived in the Reserve. Siding with him, Judge Segopolo ruled against the family, ordering Lesiame Pitseng to bury his father’s body or spend 30 days in jail.
The High Court’s decision against the burial drew attention both in Botswana and worldwide. Afterward, Kgosietsile Ngakaagae, another attorney who had assisted in the case, used a social media post to request donations toward the family’s legal bills. Within a few months, 100,000 pula had been raised. A member of the Botswana parliament, Dithapelo Keorapetse criticized the government’s “systematic injustices against the First People of the Kalahari” Another MP, Dr. Neva Tshabang, said “I think the government must relax its stance regarding areas with ancestral linkages.”
Attorney Nelson Ramaotwana filed an appeal in November, inviting Advocate Duma Boko to join the team. After several delays the case was heard on December 12 in the Court of Appeals, under a three- judge panel headed by Judge Mercy Garekwe.
Advocate Duma Boko asserted that Gaoberekwe Pitseng’s name was one of the first 29 residents of the Reserve to sign the list of applicants. Boko argued to the court that “He never withdrew from the case and [as] such, we ought to consider him as one of the applicants, and a beneficiary to the judgement.”
However, Judge Garekwe agreed with the previous judge, that the appellant had failed to establish any right to bury the deceased in the Reserve. She said that a right could have been based on the Sesana judgement, but the applicant had failed to provide convincing evidence indicating that his father had been one of the 29 unrepresented applicants in Sesana. She added “I will take it a step further that, there is no evidence placed before Court showing that the deceased was in first instance one of the original 243 Applicants.”
Coincidentally, during the time the appeal was heard in court in Botswana, several Botswana officials were in Geneva participating in hearings held by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Athalia Molokomme, Botswana’s representative to the UN, who had been Attorney General during the 2006 Roy Sesana case, was among them. After several meetings, the committee issued its final report on December 14, the day after the appeal in the burial case was denied.
Though the procedure in Geneva had no relationship to the appeal that had been decided the previous day in Botswana, the report issued by the UN Committee was strikingly relevant to the issues raised in the appeal. The committee expressed its regret that “...those groups who were not party to the Roy Sesana and others v. Attorney General case have not been allowed to return to the Reserve to settle there. Furthermore, those who are allowed to return must obtain a permit in advance and encounter difficulties in resuming and conducting their traditional activities.” The report went on to urge the State party “to fully implement the High Court’s decision in [the Sesana case], by allowing all ethnic groups originating from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve to return and settle there unconditionally. The Committee also recommends that the State party provide them with effective access to basic social services and enable them to resume their traditional activities without hindrance.”
Within a few weeks after the appeal was denied, it seemed that the family had developed an approach to the burial that would satisfy official demands. Smith Moeti sent a letter to the Attorney General stating the family would not resist the government’s burial of their father in New Xade, but would not attend nor participate in it. He wrote:
“In a nutshell, the government of Botswana has all along wanted to bury Pitseng Gaoberekwe at New Xade, and their courts granted the government her wish and the family of Gaoberekwe shall not partake in the burial of their father in New Xade or anywhere else, except the CKGR.” The family is considering taking the matter to a high court such as the African Human Rights Commission, the African Union Court or the UN.
At year’s end, Gaoberekwe Pitseng’s body remained in the mortuary in Ghanzi.
An airplane ticket for the trip to Botswana from April 10 to May 25, 2022 was purchased. Then a message came that one of the projects was canceled; I heard nothing more about another project. I was welcome at the third project. However, the description of what this organization had already set up remained very vague. From previous contacts with them I suspect that they hoped to get money and/or goods and that after I left the project would stall. A new project could have been to explore the living conditions of the San and other minority groups in two cities. We wondered if it was worth leaving Henk (husband) alone with our Downs son. Henk could get Corona and therefore not be able to take care of our son. It will be at least 3-5 days before I get back. Also, my worn knee could function reasonably well for a long time, but maybe not. I will be 80 years old in January. I can handle stress less and less.
I am sorry that supporting the San, especially the children, has to stop now. Actually, staying twice three months a year would have been more effective. But this was not possible because of our son.
The investigation of whether there is still a need to provide financial development aid continues. The website would be too small for reports of corruption. This happens in so many countries that it would be easier to find out where it isn't happening and put those countries on the SEMK website as an example.
All in all, there are more reasons to stay at home than to go to Botswana.
We have decided not to go to Botswana this year and instead find out why Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini (these two other countries became independent at about the same time and will be used as a comparison to Botswana) still are somewhat underdeveloped. Read more in the journal on this website.
Apologies for the occasionally poor translation of articles. Due to a lack of time it is often not possible to pay enough attention to the translation.
Sunday Standrd, 26th September 2021. Obusitse Kologwe
About 300 Basarwa (San) who claim they were impoverished when Debswana Diamond Company displaced them from their ancestral land in Boteti Sub-District to pave way for the establishment of Orapa Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines (OLDM) diamond mines six decades ago are still waiting on the mining giant to compensate them.
Khwedom Council which has petitioned Debswana on behalf of the displaced Basarwa charge that the mining company is playing hide and seek.
Sunday Standard, 21st October 2021. Obusitse Kologwe
Debswana Diamond Company has denied accusations by Botswana Khwedom Council that it is refusing to compensate Basarwa displaced by the company during the establishment of Orapa Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines (OLDM) in between the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Botswana Khwedom Council, a non-governmental organization (NGO) which represents the interests of Basarwa has pointed a blaming finger at the diamond mining company for trampling on the rights of Basarwa by taking their land and refusing to compensate them.
Botswana officials were at pains this week struggling to explain to the United Nations experts on human rights why the country continues to practice death penalty.
Source: Sunday Standard Botswana, 26 October 2021.
"The world's third largest rough diamond was presented this week in New York. The still unnamed stone weighs 1175 carats. Two years ago, the Sewelo diamond was found in the same Karove mine in Botswana: 1758 carats. But the Cullinan remains unsurpassed. At about 3106 carats, it was mined in South Africa in 1906. The Cullinan was finally cleaved and cut into nine separate stones. Some ended up in the British crown jewels. The diamond now found will be auctioned soon. Then it is determined in how much it can be split. Together with this find, from the same mine, two slightly smaller rough diamonds of more than 1000 carats have been presented. More of these large stones are expected to be found in the coming years. Since 2015, the Karowe mine has been using X-ray equipment to locate huge diamonds in the soil."
Source: Daily Newspaper Trouw, The Netherlands, September 24, 2021.
With the large yield of this diamond, the Botswana government could make a substantial inventory in Botswana education and social work.
The delivery time for parcels is 7 - 25 working days. One parcel which we sent on 8 January should have been delivered on 12 February the latest, but had not arrived on 4 April. Another parcel was sent on 11 January and delivered on 11 March. A parcel which we sent in 2013 took 5 months to arrive. I have heard of a parcel which needed 8 months to be delivered.
Extra "customs and handlingcharges" in Botswana. These were for the delivered parcel (value € 300) Pula 1.824,15. As import duty is 21 %. this should have been about Pula 824. If import duty has to be paid on a present anyway. One can put a lower value on the parcel, but the insurance will pay less if the parcel is lost or damaged. Pay attention. The customs in Botswana do not understand the Dutch language. If it is a present, write in large letter: PRESENT/ GIFT on the form.
UK based rights group Survival International renews fight against Botswana government. The charge was subsistence agriculture (corn, beans, watermelon and pumpkins) and hunting by the San in het CKGR. The government is of the opinion that there are enough natural products in the CKGR, plus the foodbasket the San are allowed to receive, to live on. Survival International refers to the High Court decision in 2006 that subsistence agriculture and hunting are allowed.
Read more: Sunday Standard. Botswana.
Mr. Johannes Kahuadi reported: "Three tents and firewood have been purchased from the donation given by SEMK Botswana. The tents will provide temporary shelter for 5 people per tent. The firewood was distributed to 18 households in Ghanzi town. They thank you for your support and rescuing them. These San are now living a more dignified life. They will be protected from the cold and can prepare their meals at their home. But the need for more accomodation is still great. Some people are still sleeping in the open at night.
The money was used for tents, petrol, menpower to help collect the wood and trailer rent.
There is a possibility that the lockdown will be extended until 21 May, due to our neighboring country South Africa having a high number of affected cases."
For many people in Botswana is obeying the rule of social distances as required by the Botswana Government not possible. There are too many people living in one house, or hut.
At Window of Hope Centre in Ghanzi they found a solution to solve this problem. Army tents (price Pula 5.000) could be set up on the plots so there is extra space for isolation. Also, it is near the beginning of winter in Botswana and sleeping out in the open would no be an option. (The weatherforecast for 9 May gives a minimum temperature of 14 C.)
Description of Window of Hope Centre.
Window of Hope Centre is a registered local NGO working in Ghanzi District to promote the rights and well-being of Orphans and vulnerable children and young people and their families. The organization was established in 2005 and officially registered on the 9th of OCTOBER, 2007 at GABORONE as non- profit company limited by guarantee. Registered number: CO.2007/5627. The organization is not for gain and operates as a Botswana-based non-partisan, non-party-political Non-Governmental Organization and is governed by the board of directors from the community.
Our work is underpinned by Global, Regional and Local Frame works such as Botswana National Children Act 2009 (Bill of Rights) (Child Protection Regulations 2015),Vision 2036, NFS 2, National Development Plan 11prioties and United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child African Charter on the rights and welfare of children, Agenda 2063, Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals. (UNCRC, ACRWC, SDGs ) The organization's main purpose is to care, protect, support children at all times, ensuring that the best interest of the child, child participation, community ownership and participation, public-private partnerships, and awareness that any support to children is not a favour, but a contribution to the attainment of their fundamental human rights, should remain key principles for all interventions we do for children.
At the best of times, there are too many people living together in the San communities. So the added value of the tents is that they can remain on the plots after the pandemic has ended and provide a little bit more decent shelter for the people.
We strongly recommend you to support this sustainable initiative. Donations can be transferred to
- in the Netherlands: NL50 RABO 0152164898, SEMK BOTSWANA, reference Tents for San Community Ghanzi.
- from outside The Netherlands: 1088117, Window of Hope Centre, Address PO Box 892, Ghanzi, Botswana, Swift code BARCBWGX, reference Tents for San Community Ghanzi.
On the website www.semkbotswana.nl you can follow how many tents have been placed.
In it's comprehensiveness , a beautifully-crafted but poorly implemented education plan developed by the European Union for public school perceptibly anticipated a situation when schools would have to deal with public health emergencies. Those who developed the Education and Training Sector Strategic Plan (ETSSP), which was to be implemented between 2015 and 2020, worked closely with the Ministry of Health and Welness. In sum, the plan seeks to "provide an overall policy and strategic framework for the education sector that will play a pivotal role in the development of a modern, sustainable , knowledge-based economy that supports inclusivenss and diversity." It notes that "occupational health and safety programmes are not visible nor is there evidence that any form of audit or safety exercises take place in the central Ministry, reginal offices or in most schools." Read more: Source: Sunday Standard. Botswana.
Part of the Childrens Act reads: "An act to make provision for the promotion and protection of the rights of the child; for the promotion of the physical, emotional, intellectual and social development and general wellbeing of children; for the protection and care of children; for the establishment of structures to provide for the care, support, protection and rehabilitation of children; and for matters connected therewith." This already sets a premise of the regard and attitude children should be given and is an even greater responsibility of the government's side.
Source: Sunday Standard. Botswana.
The fourth edition of the ‘State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples’ (SOWIP) released by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) says First Nations are insistently invisible in Botswana’s official statistics.
The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (DRIP) forms the basis for developing new laws, policies and guidelines that uphold the rights of indigenous peoples. But since the Declaration’s adoption in 2007, only three countries in Africa (Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of the Congo) have formally recognised indigenous peoples’ identity and rights.
Although the report did not explicitly mention Botswana, the report stated what was already obvious that the country was not doing enough with regards to treatment of Basarwa. “Various national courts—in Belize, Botswana, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Kenya, Mexico, the Russian Federation and other countries—have cited the Declaration in their decisions on cases involving indigenous peoples or have issued rulings aligned with the provisions of the Declaration,” states the report.
However, despite the slow progress, the report says more needs to be done to ensure the rights of indigenous peoples. During former president Dr. Ian Khama’s reign, the U.S State department labelled Botswana’s discrimination against the Basarwa a “principal human rights concern.” Also during his tenure, the Botswana government was condemned by Survival International, Botswana High Court, United Nations, the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, amongst others, for the ill-treatment and eviction of Basarwa from their ancestral land.
Amongst other things, the State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples’ says there still remain a number of issues to be resolved including “legal and structural barriers to indigenous peoples’ full, equal and effective participation in political, economic, social and cultural life.”
The report also warns that failure to fully recognise the rights of indigenous peoples, including their rights to land, territories and resources, could probably result in lower standards of wellbeing among them.
“Too often, they have poor access to health care and education, resulting in lower life expectancy, higher poverty rates, and higher child and infant mortality rates,” states part of the report.
On statistics, the report underscores the need for data disaggregation, particularly to measure progress on the SDGs. The report also recommends census offices to incorporate survey questions on the size of indigenous populations and their situations; increasing targets and indicators on indigenous peoples in national data censuses and household surveys.
The hunting ban in Botswana is destroying the unique "language" the Bushmen use during hunting. This "language" consists of signs they make with their hands and by imitating the sounds birds and other animal make, in order to show their fellow hunters where the prey is and in which direction they are going. Read the full article. www.sundaystandard.info/hunting-ban-killing-unique-ancient-bushmen-language
An aquaintance took me to Xwaa on 7 May. Xwaa lives just outside Ghanzi on the side of the main road to the north on a plot where a few Bushmen families have made huts from corrugated sheets, with his mother, stepfather and two little brothers, maybe more people. Two sides of the hut are open. Xwaa sleeps between a couple of dirty blankets on the ground outside the hut. Five mornings a week he and his two little brothers attend the Window for Hope centre, wich has been set up by a priest and his wife. The children are provided with two meals a day, get attention and are prepared to attend school (again). The owner of the plot, the building and a nearly finished toilet block (two toilets and a shower cabin for the boys, and the same for the girls) lets the Centre use it free of charge. When the block is finished, the children will have a shower after arrival in the morning, put on clean clothes and their own dirty ones will be laundered. When they leave for home, they put on their own clothes. I have given money to buy new clothes for Xwaa and bought food for Xwaa and his family. After returning to The Netherlands I sent some money for toiletries. It is a relieve to know that they are taken care of, as in the home situaties food and care are still not sufficient.
Leaked documents have confirmed the United States Government’s fears that the Botswana Government deliberately placed British lawyer Gordon Bennett on a visa list with the sole aim of disabling Basarwa of Central Kalahari game Reserve (CKGR) in their fresh legal tussle with government. (British citizens do not need a visum to enter Botswana.) sundaystandard.info
I have called the social worker in Ghanzi. She was pleased that she could tell me that Xwaa had been found and is still collecting his monthly food basket from the social service department. From January next he has been enrolled in a school class for disabled children. I told the social worker that we have turned full circle and are back at square one. Xwaa had attended school before but was sent away because the teachers could not cope with his attacks. And what about the home situation, I asked. Who is checking that he gets proper food and his medicine in time. (My suspicion is that his epileptic attacks are a result of malnutrition.) The social worker explained that parents or caretakers are responsible for that, since Botswana has got a Childrens Protection Act. If parents neglect their children they can be taken to court, and if necessary put into jail. But they prefer talking to them though this can be difficult. When social workers visit them at 7.30 am, they might be at their drinking place. Even if they manage to talk to them, they usually do not accept advice. Another problem is that there are thousands of children like Xwaa and courtrooms and jails would overflow if the law was implemented.
At the end of 2016 I received the message that Xwaa's uncle had left the farm with unknown destination, taking his family with him. On 14 August 2017 I had a meeting with a social worker in Ghanzi. The social worker who was working on Xwaa's case in 2016 had been transferred. An attempt would be made to get in touch with her to ask how far she got with Xwaa's case. I would be called about the result. As there had been no message by 30 August, I went to see the Ombudsman in Gaborone and told him the story about Xwaa. He agreed that the boy should be located and taken to an institution where he could be observed and treated. But he could not do anything, I had to go to the department of Local Governemnt. There I told the story again, they could not do anything either and adviced me to go to another ministery. Luckily this secretary was kind enough to ask for advice by telephone. She was told I also could go to the social work departnement in Molepolole, the town where I taught. The next day I had to tell the story twice. The social worker was going to contact the social worker in Ghanzi, who would call me. This she did. I was asked who had been involved in the case so she could call them. Out of this came that he had been, probably with his aunt and uncle, to collect his monthly foodbasket. All they had to do was to wait for the collection of the next basket, so they could send him to a clinic for observation. They would inform me if this had happened. At this moment, 13 November, no message has come yet.
President Ian Khama, former president Festus Mogae, opposition Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) member Sidney Pilane (previously member BDP, ruling party) and a number of Cabinet ministers were complicit in an elaborate secret psychological warfare and scorched earth policy to force Basarwa out of the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve (CKGR) – confidential official documents and memos passed to the Sunday Standard have for the first time revealed thegovernment’s documented systematic plan to use starvation as a weapon to force Basarwa out of the CKGR. The documents reveal that the government at some stage considered physically forcing Basarwa out of the reserve, but was worried that this would attract international controversy. Pilane, then Special Advisor to Mogae came up with a military-style scorched earth tactic to starve the Basarwa out of the CKGR. Pilane wrote in one of the secret memos: “As previously advised, the physical removal of those people from the Reserve would attract too much controversy, quite apart from the incidents that might result from the forcible and physical removal of such great numbers of people and animals.” Pilane proposed making sure that CKGR residents did not cultivate crops, keep domestic stock, hunt for wild animals and collect wild plants inside the reserve." Read more: sundaystandard.info/plans-starve-basarwa-out-ckgr-open
One may wonder why these documents only now have been passed on. And if earlier it was considered that physical removement would attract too much international attention, why they had not realized that these documents would come into the open one day and therefore did not destroy them.
From June 2017 tourists will have to pay on entering Botswana per person a $ 30 tourism levy for a visit of maximum 30 days. This is on top of the tourism levy which one already is charged when staying at lodges, camps, hotels etc.
Update:On 10 August 2017 someone told me she heard from a good source that Parliament had voted against this rule on 9 August.
“Lions are ambush predators; they rely on stealth and the element of surprise in order to bring down their prey,” he said. “As soon as they lose that element of surprise, as soon as the prey sees them, they abandon their hunt.”
That is why he and fellow researchers are going to Botswana to paint eyes on cows’ rumps. They hope it will prove a low-cost way to protect livestock from lions, and lions from being killed by farmers in retaliation. One of the main threats to lions in Africa is conflict with farmers, who shoot or poison them to stop them preying on livestock. In the 1990s there were more than 100,000 African lions. There could now be as few as 23,000 adults and they are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Dr Jordan, a conservation biologist at the University of NSW’s Centre for Ecosystem Science, said farmers and local governments feel the only way they can protect livestock from lions is to kill them.
“It’s from desperation, really, because obviously the lions affect their livelihood and the non-lethal tools that might be available are all very expensive,” he said. “As protected conservation areas become smaller, lions are increasingly coming into contact with human populations, which are expanding to the boundaries of these protected areas.”
Dr Jordan, who also holds research posts at the Taronga Conservation Society Australia and the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust, was inspired to paint eyes onto cattle after watching a lion hunt an impala. When the intended prey cottoned on to the carnivore’s presence, the lion gave up the hunt.
“We wanted to hijack this natural response by painting eyes on the rumps of cows, so that lions could be tricked into thinking they’d been seen and abandon the hunt,” he said.
It’s the same kind of “psychological trickery” employed by woodcutters in India, who ward off tigers by wearing face masks on the backs of their heads, and butterflies that avoid becoming bird food thanks to eye-like patterns on their wings.
Dr Jordan trialled his idea - which he calls iCow - last year, with promising results. The researchers stamped painted eyes onto one-third of a herd of 62 cattle, making sure the eyes were large, easily visible and “potentially intimidating”. While three unpainted cows were killed by lions, all the painted cows survived to graze another day.
If successful, iCow would be an affordable tool for farmers; losing one cow costs five times as much as painting a herd of 60 cattle. Over the next three months Dr Jordan will lead further testing on another herd of cattle in Botswana.
The government has injected over P20 million into the Basarwa projects of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR). The sudden windfall was prompted by an unexpected directive from President Ian Khama to restore services into the neglected settlement.
The Botswana government does not recognize any specific ethnic groups as indigenous to the country, maintaining instead that all citizens of the country are indigenous. However, 3.3% of the population identifies as belonging to indigenous groups, including the San (known in Botswana as the Basarwa) who, in July 2015, numbered some 62,500. In the south of the country are the Balala, who number some 1,700 and the Nama, a Khoekhoe-speaking people who number 2,100. The majority of the San, Nama and Balala reside in the Kalahari Desert region of Botswana. The San in Botswana were traditionally hunter-gatherers but today the vast majority consists of small-scale agro-pastoralists, cattle post workers, or people with mixed economies who reside both in rural and urban areas. They are sub-divided into a large number of named groups, most of whom speak their own mother tongue in addition to other languages. These groups include the Ju/’hoansi, Bugakhwe, Khwe-ǁAni, Ts'ixa, ǂX'ao-ǁ'aen, !Xóõ, ǂHoan, ‡Khomani, Naro, G/ui, G//ana, Tsasi, Deti, Shua, Tshwa, Danisi and /Xaise. The San, Balala, and Nama are among the most underprivileged people in Botswana, with a high percentage living below the poverty line.
Botswana is a signatory to the conventions on women (CEDAW), the Rights of the Child (CRC) and on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination (CEDR). It is also a signatory to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples but it has not signed the only international human rights convention that deals with indigenous peoples, the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention No. 169 of 1989 of the International Labor Organization (ILO).
There are no specific laws on indigenous peoples’ rights in the country nor is the concept of indigenous peoples included in the Botswana Constitution.
Khama- Sesana deal. President Ian Khama’s latest move to kiss and make up with some leaders of the Basarwa community left the inhabitants of the CKGR settlements, their advocates, stakeholders and funders in a state of confusion. Read more
Minister Tshekedi Khama, brother of president Lt Gen Ian Khama, is questioning the wisdom of awarding a mining license to explore the diamond mine in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
President Khama’s reaction was that the people who are against the exploration of the mine are against development of Botswana. Personally I think this was a correct argument many years ago, but no longer. Not only dropped the price of diamonds due to the fiancial crises, but also the large quantity of synthetic diamonds that have flooded the market made the price go down. Another point is the large amount of water which is needed for cleaning the diamonds, and that in a time of water shortage. The mine will leave at the end of its productive live a large wound, which might never be healed.
Read the whole artikel in the Sunday Standard Botswana.
Around the world, tribal peoples are being accused of “poaching” because they hunt their food. This violates their rights under international law and leaves them vulnerable to arrest and beatings, torture and death.
They are better at looking after their environment than anyone else, and yet are often the target of “anti-poaching” drives while the main causes of biodiversity loss, like logging and organized poaching networks, go unaddressed.
On March 25, representatives of countries from around the world will meet at a follow-up conference in Botswana on the illegal wildlife trade. Last year no mention was made of the fact that tribal people hunting on their lands to feed their families are not “poachers.”
The first diamonds mined from the ancestral homeland of Africa’s last hunting Bushmen have gone on sale for Valentine’s Day, while the tribe continues to face persecution by the Botswana government, which is intent on driving them from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
Botswana’s government has always denied that diamonds were the reason for the forced and illegal evictions of the Bushmen between 1997 and 2005 – one of its claims was to protect the wildlife.
But its hypocrisy has been exposed by allowing diamond mining and fracking exploration to go ahead in the reserve.
A $4.9bn diamond mine will open on September 5 in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the ancestral land of Africa’s last hunting Bushmen, exactly ten years after the Botswana government claimed there were “no plans to mine anywhere inside the reserve.”
The Bushmen were told they had to leave the reserve soon after diamonds were discovered in the 1980s, but the Botswana government has repeatedly denied that the illegal and forced evictions of the Kalahari Bushmen – in 1997, 2002 and 2005 – were due to the rich diamond deposits. It justified the Bushmen’s evictions from the land in the name of “conservation”.
Africa’s last hunting Bushmen have given formal notice of their intention to sue the Botswana government over its “unlawful and unconstitutional” attempts to starve them off their ancestral land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
The Bushmen rely on subsistence hunting to feed their families but face harassment, torture and arrest when found hunting for survival. Earlier this year, the Botswana government issued a nationwide ban on hunting without notifying the Kalahari Bushmen or offering any compensation.
This is the fourth time the Bushmen have been forced to resort to legal action against the government in their desperate wish to live in peace on their land. In a landmark victory in 2006, Botswana’s High Court ruled that the Bushmen have the right to live, and hunt, in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
The Bushmen were allegedly spotted on a hunting trip by Botswana’s President Khama as his plane flew over the Bushmen’s land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in April 2012.
The men – Mongwegi Gaoberekwe, Mohame Belesa, Thoama Tsenene and Dipuisano Mongwegi – were intercepted by the police; their spears, bows and arrows, and domestic animals were confiscated.
The men told police they were hunting to feed their families, and did not know it was wrong to hunt eland on their native soil.
In 2006, following violent evictions from their land, the Bushmen’s right to live and hunt in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve was recognized by Botswana’s High Court.
Despite the Court’s order, no hunting licenses have been granted since the ruling.
The Bushmen are widely recognized as inherent conservationists and have practiced sustainable hunting in the reserve for centuries.
In January 2014, President Khama imposed a nationwide hunting ban that could destroy the last hunting Bushmen in Southern Africa. The ban exempts private game ranches, where wealthy trophy hunters can pay up to $8,000 to hunt protected species, such as giraffes.
Scores of Bushman hunters have been arrested and violently intimidated by wildlife officers and police, and the government has now employed a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy against anyone suspected of ‘poaching’.
The Bushmen’s lawyer, Monamo Aobakwe, told Survival today, ‘The men are all overjoyed at the ruling. Thanks to Survival International for continuing to support the Bushmen to ensure they are properly represented and have freedom to justice. It really makes a big difference.’
This project is financed by the sale of knitted Loesje Feuilleton hats. When you buy a hat you have a chance of winning a photo on canvass of the Girl in Botswana (Look alike of the Girl with the pearl earring by Vermeer.) One has to guess how many hats have to be sold to pay the school- and boarding fee for 1 year and 3 month. If the right number has not been guessed, the person who’s guess is the nearest will get the print. If there are several (near) correct answers, the print will be raffled. See for hats on offer and measurements the menu on top. The price for 1 hat is € 10 or more, exclusive transportation cost. Buyers outside The Netherlands are requested to pay all the bank charges for the transfer.
Why did few young people pass their school exams last year? (In the best school the passing result was 23%.) The IMF has done research in this matter. From what their report says, it would appear that when the government added teaching to the amended list of essential services in 2011 in order “to promote the rights of children to uninterrupted education,” it neglected to promote schools’ access to uninterrupted funding.
IMF explains why students fail exams
Will the directors of the mine, to celebrate this good news, donate a borehole to each settlement in the CKGR? For the profit is taken from the land which was given to the Bushmen.
Might this be the reason that we are not allowed to give knitting workshops in the CKGR? I cannot imagine it. In a country where a serious threat of water shortage is always around the corner, one would assume that the available water would be better taken care of. This must be a misunderstanding.
See article in Botswanan Mmegi, 21 November 2013. Most of it has been taken from the English Guardian.
See also the South African Daily Maverick.
We have come to the conclusion that at the moment (11 September 2013) we cannot come up to the expectations of our aim. We cannot obtain a permit to visit the Bushmen in their settlements in the CKGR to give knitting workshops. An explanation for the refusal has not been given. This is a pity, because now we have to guess what the reason for the refusal is. It will create misunderstandings and irritations. We obtained the rules and regulations of the CKGR from the Wildlife office in Ghanzi, Botswana. In this document it states that the CKGR was in 1961 sett up for the protection of the flora and fauna. In fact, it was sett up for the protection of the lifestyle of the local people against poachers. Nothing was mentioned about stopping visitors to stay at the settlements. We have decided not to insist on being given a permit for giving workshops in the CKGR. It is a pity that the Botswanan government feels that it is necessary to keep people who want to hel the Bushmen out of the CKGR. We will continue to give knitting lessons and other assistence to people outside the CKGR, untill permission is given to do this also inside the CKGR. In this way we will stay informed whether assistence is still needed in Botswana.
We have received the paper version of the explanation about the refusal of the workshops in the CKGR settlements. It still is not clear to us what the reason is. Before consent to enter the CKGR is given, we have to promise not to infringe the Rules and Regulations of the CKGR. But what are these rules exactly? Is one not allowed to enter the settlements at all, or is one allowed to meet the people just ouside the settlements? Is one allowed to put up a tent just outside the settlements?
The entry permit for the CKGR has been refused. The intention was to give workshops knitting, crochet and weaving in the five settlements. The reason given was, that I had been illegaly with the people in the CKGR on previous journeys. My explanition that I did not know that one is not allowed to visit friends in the CKGR, but that I now have applied for a permit, was ignored. It was repeated that the reason was my illegal stay. What am I allowed to do. "You may go into Botswana if you are able to prove that you are not going into the CKGR, which you cannot, but you may go into Botswana." This explanation we do not understand. But we are going to receive the explanition on paper. Maybe that will make it understandable. Although we have many questions about the decision, we will leave the matter as it is. If there are people who feel uncomfortable with me staying in the CKGR for giving workshops, then we shall respect that by not persisting he matter. Permission is given to assist Botswanan organisations who support the Bushmen and other indigenous people.
The problems with the finishing of the borehole in Molapo in the CKGR have not been solved. It will take some time before the borehole is in working order, as the materials for the hole have been stolen.
Journey to Botswana, 20 August till 17 September 2012.
It was a very successfull journey. All the targets were reached. Spontaniously new challenges appeared. Some were taken up straight away, others will be taken up later. Even the slow bus ride from Johannesburg to Gaborone (capitol of Botswana) had an interesting consequence. The reason for the slow driving was a faulty fan belt, which ment we had to stop for 10 minutes, drive for 5 or 10 minutes at 15 miles an hour, stop, drive. After an hour we transferred to another bus. We arrived at the border at 0.10 am. The border had closed at midnight and was to re-open at 6 am. A few passengers decided to lodge a complaint at the buscompany's office at the end of the journey and I was invited to join. It was interesting to see how Batswana lodge a complaint. They do that calmly and politely.
Since about one week Botswana has been given the status of a drought area. 20 August we are going to Botswana and are trying to take as much money as possible to buy the people in the CKGR water and food. WILL YOU HELP? Thanking you in advance.
As there has been little interest in the sale of knitwear in the Tamboer Passage in Hoogeveen during the past month, this activity will end. The last sale days will be on 20 July and 2 August. Warm thanks to all who have supported us.
The restauration of the borehole in Molapo was planned in the middle of June. No message has been received so far whether this has happened.
The borehole in Mothomelo was working perfectly as of mid April 2012, the water tastes great. The other boreholes still give salty water. The company which should have solved the problem, has not done so far. In the beginning of March 2012 a group of people went into Molapo to try to repair them. However, the pipes they had brought with them were of the wrong size. From Ghanzi someone went on his way to bring the right size pipes, but 40 km inside the CKGR the back spring of the car broke and the battery was flat. After 4 days the driver walked to the gate of the CKGR, borrowed a tractor to fetch his car. 10 km inside the CKGR the tractor broke down. The car has been sitting in the CKGR for a few weeks. When it was collected, it appeared all the petrol was taken out of the tank and the gadget to change the front-wheel drive into 4X4 had disappeared.
It was a heartwarming and succesfull visit. The people were overjoyed with the food, clothes, excercise books, writing materials and footballs we brought. A more extensive journal will follow later. For the moment some pictures.
Preparations are currently being made for a Vox team to travel from Johannesburg, South Africa to (Molapo) Botswana next month. The expedition, led by Wikkie Duplesis, centers on outfitting a newly drilled borehole with a borehole pump and a reverse osmosis unit with desalination filter unit – giving local Bushmen access to clean, drinkable water for the first time ever in this area of the Kalahari Desert. Team leader, Jaco vanRensburg indicates that the project will take approximately 7-10 days to complete.
Bushman girls enjoy water from the well at Mothomelo
By Jaco van Rensburg, Vox United.
A new borehole is drilled in Mothomelo and good water was found at 72m.
In Metsiamonong two holes were drilled, but both gave salt water.
Gope Exploration Company, owner of the diamond mine in Gope, will drill 1 borehole at each of 4 Bushmen settlements, for the use of the inhabitants. This includes sunpanels etc. The drilling will start the middle of July. If there is money left over, 1 or 2 more boreholes will be drilled at other settlements. We will continue to collect money, in case it is not possible for the company to finish the project.
If the money is not needed voor the boreholes, it will be transfered to the account for food and clothing.
The repairs to the borehole in Mothomelo have not been succesful. No water has come up. The reason for this is unkown to us. In 3 weeks time another attempt will be made.
The spokesperson for the Bushmen got stuck in Kaudwane, due to lack of money for returning to his homestead Ghanzi. € 130 is needed for petrol for the 900 km to Ghanzi. He will have to find a temporary job to gain this money.
More info: voxunited.org
The good news: A group of people in South Africa has offered to restore the borehole in Mothomelo for free. A pump is already available, though it has to be seen whether it has sufficient capacity.
In the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, which was established in 1961 as a habitat for the indigenous Bushmen and native animals, there is now the start of the Gope diamond mine.
The Gope Exploration Company will put up a special seed fund for the villages which are affected by the Gope diamond mine. They will do this “hand-in-hand” with the inhabitants. The fund is established to support the villages with sustainable projects.
On March 12, 2011, the Botswanan Sunday Standard reported that a start will be made with a diamond mine near Gope village in the south east of the CKGR by Gope Exploration Company. In the company's annual report for 2010 it is stated that the organization of the camp accommodation for the camp employees is scheduled for the second quarter of 2011 and an access to the diamonds in the ground will be made. Construction of the first phase of this exciting project will begin in 2011 and in 2013 the mine will be productive.
The Botswanan government closed the only borehole in the CKGR on January 31, 2002 for use by people. Since then people bring water into the CKGR during the dry seasons on foot and with donkeys from outside the CKGR. The police has arrested some of them several times while doing so. On January 27 2011 , the Botswanan High Court has decided that the ban on the use of the boreholes in the CKGR was unjustified and the existing borehole may be reopened and new ones drilled.
About this site Supporting the Bushmen so they can stay in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and live there as they wish and as long as they wish. The CKGR was created for them.
Other news Kgosi Mosadi: Price of victory on her life
Blow for Bushman burial case in Botswana’s appeal court
Government Denies Family’s Request to Bury Their Father in the CKGR
Second travel update
Debswana impoverished us- claim displaced Basarwa
Debswana denies compensation claims by Basarwa
UN grill Botswana on death penalty
Auction of Botswana diamond
Warning for the sending of parcels to Botswana
UK based rights group Survival International renews fight against Botswana government
Tents and firewood for San Communities in Ghanzi. The need for more tents is still great
COVID-19: Tents for San community in Ghanzi to relieve overcrowding in houses and huts
Implementation of education plan would have prepared schools for Corona Virus
Budget 2020: What's in store for a Motswana child?
First Nations still invisible in Botswana’s official statistics – Report
The page "Yesterday" is continued under the name "Journal"
Hunting ban killing unique ancient Bushmen language
Xwaa's life has improved
Bennett's VISA ban pits Khama against US, UK, FPP