We’ve covered the unfair plight of the Kalahari Bushmen in Botswana in a couple posts on Important Media recently. In order to help address the human rights battle being held in Botswana right now, Survival International (in coordination with notable celebrities like Gillian Anderson, Quentin Blake, Joanna Lumley, Sophie Okonedo, and Mark Rylance) has been advocating for a boycott of Botswana diamonds recently. What have diamonds got to do with it? Survival International writes:
In 2002, the Bushmen were illegally evicted from their ancestral lands to make way for diamond mining. At the time, the government denied a significant diamond deposit on their land existed. However, eight years later, Gem Diamonds, which bought the concession from De Beers, is in negotiations to construct a $3.3 billion mine at one of the Bushman communities.
While Gem Diamonds, in which jewellers Graff has a stake, pushes forward with its mine, the Bushmen are being starved off their lands. Despite winning a high-profile legal battle allowing them to return home, the Bushmen have been banned by the Botswana government from using a well which they rely on for water, and are prevented from hunting for food.
At the same time as denying the Bushmen access to their well, the government drilled new ones for wildlife only, with funding from the Tiffany & Co Foundation. It also allowed ‘ethical’ travel company,Wilderness Safaris, to open a luxury tourist lodge on Bushman land, complete with bar and swimming pool.
Survival’s director, Stephen Corry, said today, ‘Botswana’s diamond industry is the ‘Siamese twin’ of the government. People should know that far from being an expensive token of eternal love, Botswana diamonds are a symbol of the nasty oppression of southern Africa’s first people’.
Survival coordinated a protest at De Beers, which is partly owned by the Botswana government, in London in early November and also brought a letter to the San Francisco De Beers on the same day.
What can you do to help?
Survival is encouraging you to:
- Boycott tourism to Botswana
- Not buy diamonds from De Beers
- Donate to Survival to help it continue its work on this matter
Help the Kalahari Bushmen of Botswana in whatever way you can today.
Photo Credits: © Survival