January 24, 2003

Basarwa get another chance at court challenge

The Botswana High Court has given the Basarwa or Bushmen (as they are also known) another chance to challenge their forceful relocation from the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve (CKGR), Channel Africa reported on Friday, January 24.

In 2002 the Basarwa lost the early stages of an attempted court challenge on a technicality but were given leave to appeal the decision. Since 1997 the government has moved hundreds of Basarwa from Molapo and Old Xade to resettlement camps in Kaudwane and New Xade, but a small number have remained in the reserve. Some lobbyists believe they have been relocated to protect diamond mining rights in the reserve from possible claims, but the government denies this, saying it was done to provide better facilities to the communities.

In a separate development, it was reported that the Basarwa are going to straighten their image by a video production. The multi-million budget documentary about the features a narrative done by the Basarwa themselves. It is being filmed by a local company, Billy Kokorwe and Ken Barlow Pictures.

The film's production director, Billy Kokorwe, said it will be a major breakaway from a trend where filmmakers, with their own prejudices, film and speak for the Basarwa for their own propaganda. (IRIN / African Church Information Service)

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