They were on the move beneath an unyielding sun, and for a while their approaching shapes seemed just another part of the desert, their tattered clothes bleached like the thorny scrub around them. These weary Bushmen — four men, three women and an infant — were nearing the end of a two-day journey, walking their way toward water.
The leader was Gana Taoxaga. He was a tenacious old man, one of the few who had withstood the government’s efforts to move his people from this Botswanan game reserve, their ancestral land. He carried a spear, and slung across his shoulder was a hunting satchel with a digging stick, an ax, a bow and several arrows tipped with a poison made from beetle larvae.
Mr. Taoxaga was thirsty, and it angered and baffled him that he had to walk so far. Closer by was a borehole, the wellspring to underground water. But the government had sealed it up, and he supposed this was just another way to drive the Bushmen from the sandy home they had occupied for millenniums.
“The government says we are bad for the animals, but I was born here and the animals were born here, and we have lived together very well,” he said.
This is the intro to an excellent piece on the NYTimes about the Bushmen of Botswana’s central Kalahari and their struggle for survival and evolution in a harsh socio-political and ecological environment. An interesting read on an issue many probably think is long over or aren’t aware ever existed: For Some Bushmen, a Homeland Worth the Fight.
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