Kalahari Bushmen Insist Diamonds Behind Evictions
First People Of The Kalahari
The Bushmen Of The CKGR Say - Survival Please Continue To Help US
First People of the Kalahari, who represent the CKGR Bushmen, are challenging the press release made by Axel Thoma at WIMSA in Namibia, and also we are challenging the press release by De Beers that says Kuru and other organisations believe we were not evicted from our lands because of diamonds.
The WIMSA press release is saying that Survival International does not represent the Bushmen and they should stop their campaign. But no one in the CKGR knows the people who wrote the press release. They do not go to the CKGR and talk to the people. Axel Thoma from WIMSA in Namibia and Braam Leroux from Kuru are representing no one from the CKGR. FPK is representing those people and Survival International is helping us with the campaign and speaking loudly for us.
FPK says that some NGOs are making conflicts between the Bushmen of this country because they take the decisions of the Bushmen away from them. It is not the Bushmen talking in that WIMSA press release but people like Axel and Braam. We are really tired of them and we do not want them to represent us again. We terminate any mandate they think they have.
Also, everyone should know that WIMSA Botswana has said something different from WIMSA in Namibia. It says it does still support the CKGR court case and says Survival does have the mandate of the people in the CKGR.
There are some companies and certain people who have been corrupted. Some people who are running organisations like Kuru and WIMSA, they are not Bushman people. For example, Braam from Kuru helped to destroy our culture when he came here by coming with Christianity. If Braam himself was a real representative of the Bushmen, he would go to his friends the Dutch and Boers and he would talk to them and make them let the Bushmen of that area get back onto their land. That is what the Bushmen need and want. But they do not talk about land rights at those organisations. They talk about ‘development’.
If we look at ‘development’ there is the issue of HIV/AIDS. The government has poisoned us. That happened because people were taken from CKGR and now they are dying of HIV/AIDS. Is that development? FPK says that is genocide. They take people to places like New Xade and Kaudwane, where they are killing us with AIDS and killing our culture. What they have done to the Bushmen is wrong. People should be saying that is wrong.
We want to challenge Braam and Axel because they know nothing about the Bushmen of the CKGR. Instead of trying to help us they try to ruin our campaign. And they have also sabotaged us with the donors. Those people that claim they work on our behalf, if they really represent us, they would help with our court case. We had donors to support the case and because of Axel and Braam sabotaging us, we don’t have any other funders now. Only WIMSA Botswana is still helping us because Mathambo feels our pain.
International donors who want to support Bushmen issues, they give all the money to those organisations. And then people like Braam and Axel who call themselves leaders of Bushmen take all the money. Those Bushmen don’t know where all the money is going. Instead, the Bushmen’s power has been taken away by these two men. They are just like the British MP Nigel Jones who said bad things about the Bushmen. Now he is now a Lord in Parliament and is going to live in a big house in Phakalane. He was paid out by the Botswana government.
The people of CKGR believe we were moved for diamonds because that is what we were told by the Ministers. The Ministers have been telling us since 1985 that we must move because of the diamonds. In 1985, Patrick Balopi and Mr Nwako, the Minister of Commerce and Industry, talked with the people inside CKGR and told them they have to move because there are diamonds there. In 2002, General Merafhe went to the CKGR, to Metsiamanong, and told us we had to be moved because of diamonds. He went in a helicopter with Minister Margaret Nasha and some other officials.
The link of the diamonds and the evictions of the CKGR was made by the Botswana government itself. The people who claim to represent us were not there at the time and what do they know about it? Those guys want to sell our rights because of money given to Kuru by De Beers. But our rights cannot be sold for money. We know about the money De Beers has donated to Kuru. That money has been used to buy our rights. We are not happy about that. Any organisation claiming to represent us and not saying it is diamonds is not telling the truth. So we condemn that.
FPK still continues saying that Survival International represents the Bushmen of the CKGR. Because it has been to the CKGR many times and talked with the Bushmen. But those Bushmen don’t know Braam and Axel and people like James Suzman, who claim to represent us. They do not represent us. So the campaign of Survival is correct and Survival is doing what the people have asked them to do.
We still ask Survival International to make a boycott of diamonds and of tourism until we find our land, the land which we love. FPK and the affected Bushmen of CKGR still continue to say that the work Survival has done is really a good thing and everyone in the CKGR can see that and we do appreciate it and want SurvivaI to continue with the campaign.