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

Disappointing Report on China's Economy Shakes Markets

In London and New York shares lost 3 percent, while Paris and Germany dropped around 2.4 percent More

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs