Survival International reported last week that the government of Botswana has taken new steps to hassle the G/wi people and try to drive them out of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR).
In 2002, the government had confiscated the goats kept by the San people when it expelled them from their homes. When the G/wi won their court suit in October 2006 and started trying to move back into the CKGR, the attorney general promised them that they could have their goats back. Government veterinarians had recently certified their goat herds to be free of diseases and permitted them to be returned to their owners. During the dry season, the goats provide nourishment to the people, who are prevented from hunting or from having access to drilled water. Botswana’s persecution of the G/wi has been covered extensively in the news.
Last week the Botswana Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism sent trucks with police and wildlife officials into the CKGR to remove the goats again. Ministry officials apparently are concerned that they do not fit in properly with their image of the Kalahari as a tourist destination. They want to have a tourist lodge in the reserve next to a San community.
The organization First People of the Kalahari, an advocacy group for the San people, including the G/wi, is appealing to the national government to negotiate. It realizes that its battle with the government is far from over. Stephen Corry, director of Survival International, commented, “it’s hard to believe just how petty and bullying the government’s actions are. They ought to have realised by now that the Bushmen aren’t so easily bullied.”