News / Africa

Botswana Bushmen Celebrate Borehole Victory

Two men from Kikao wait for water at the Mothomelo borehole
Two men from Kikao wait for water at the Mothomelo borehole
Joe DeCapua

In Botswana, Bushmen are celebrating a victory in their long legal battle with the government. For the first time in nine years, Bushmen are drinking water from the Mothomelo borehole in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.

The government removed the Bushmen from their ancestral land in 2002. The Bushmen won the right to return in 2006 but had to wage another court fight to gain access to water. There was further controversy when the government permitted Gem Diamonds to dig a mine in the reserve.

“The Bushmen have been waiting for water for a very long time,” said Rebecca Spooner, a campaigner for Survival International, “And although Mothomelo is the site of the original borehole, it’s fantastic news they’ve managed to reinstate it here.”

Survival International has been assisting the Bushmen in their legal challenges.

First of four

Plans call for more boreholes in the game reserve. “All of the boreholes are crucial,” she said, “Gem Diamonds has pledged to hand over four boreholes to the Bushmen communities.”

However, Mothomelo holds special meaning.

Spooner said, “This is significant because the government, when it came in and evicted the Bushmen… removed the pump for the borehole, so it’s quite symbolic they are now able to drink water from this very site.”

The official handover ceremony was held Monday.

The charitable NGO Vox United and Gem Diamonds worked out an agreement regarding the drilling of boreholes in the reserve.

“Gem is funding the boreholes and Vox United is doing all of the drilling,” Spooner said.

Other boreholes drilled by Vox United so far are saline. “So what they need to do is get some desalination equipment in there, which is also going to be very expensive,” she said.

Digging for diamonds

But the borehole agreement does not alter Gem’s plans for a diamond mind on the Bushmen’s ancestral lands. Survival International remains critical of the project.

“The mine will be very close to a community at Gope. So they are still going to have this huge mine, which is definitely going to affect the Bushmen quite negatively. But as part of their CSR, they will be giving the Bushmen water,” she said.

A CSR is a company’s corporate social responsibility.

Survival International says it’s unclear how many Bushmen will return to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve now that water will become available.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid