Friday, March 14, 2008

Protest New Film Negatively Depicting Indigenous Bushmen People


Human rights group Survival International will be holding a protest outside the premiere of Anthony Minghella and Richard Curtis's latest film The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.

The film, adapted from the best-selling book by Alexander McCall Smith, has been written by Richard Curtis, and will be shown on BBC1 this Easter Monday. It was filmed in Botswana.

Botswana's tourism authorities are hoping that the film will encourage a friendly and peaceful image of the country. It is being heavily promoted by the Botswana Tourism Board, whose chief executive has said that it will "provide a platform to promote Botswana diamonds and restore the image tarnished by the CKGR issue". Hundreds of Bushmen have been relocated from their ancestral lands in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR).

The Bushmen - San, Basarwa, Kung or Khwe - are indigenous people of the Kalahari Desert, which spans areas of South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Angola. They were traditionally hunter-gatherers, part of the Khoisan group, and are related to the traditionally pastoral Khoikhoi. Starting in the 1950s they were encouraged to switch to farming, and more recently have been relocated away from their ancestral lands.

Although Botswana's High Court ruled that their eviction was unlawful, the Botswana government is doing everything it can to stop them returning home. In particular, it refuses to allow them access to a water borehole in the reserve, meaning they must journey hundreds of kilometres just to get water.

Survival's Director Stephen Corry said, "McCall Smith's books portray Botswana in a very rosy light, but the reality for the Bushmen is very different. Their experience is one of repression, bullying and persecution by a government which seems determined not to let them go home, despite what their courts say."

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zett said...

nice site for looking...

Peter N. Jones said...

Thanks zett, we try and keep the site clean and informative.

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