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Botswana's Bushmen return home

Botswana

After winning a long court battle with Botswana's government, the Bushmen of the Kalahari can drill new water wells and return to their ancestral lands.

But with many trying to adapt to more modern ways, their legendary desert civilisation may be a thing of the past.

Controlling water was one of the government's strongest tactics in its 15-year drive to move the Bushmen from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, sometimes with a carrot, sometimes with a stick.

Botswana has tried to entice the Bushmen from the reserve, promising schools, clinics and, most importantly, water to those who moved to new settlements on the park's edges.

In one of Africa's most prosperous countries, the government said it couldn't provide services to some of its poorest people, Bushmen living in remote parts of the world's second-largest natural park.

Some Bushmen said they were forced out, after rangers stopped them from hunting and authorities capped their wells. Botswana argued that dependence on the wells was proof the Bushmen had lost their ancient hunter-gatherer ways.

More sinister theories, backed by British group Survival International, claim the Bushmen were forced out to make way for a new diamond mine and luxury safari tourism, both economic mainstays.

Global attention
"They said we should stay away from the animals, because this is a tourism area," said Matsipane Mosetlhanyane, chief of Kikao village inside the park.

 
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