History of the San People in Africa
The San People The last few years have been rough on the San People. They have been kicked off their land and made to feel like they are less than human. Their environment, socioeconomic status, as well as their political conditions have been in upheaval. In the African desert of Kalahari lives a group of hunters and gatherers, just as they have for thousands and thousands of years. They are the San People, also known as the Bushmen. They were known to roam the desert, hunting antelope and gathering any fruit, nuts and plants they found in the desert, living in temporary wood homes.
They went were the food went, following all over the desert. While the San People still live in this area of Africa, they are not as free to roam as they once were. Around 1980, diamonds were found on the sacred land of the Bushmen, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Starting in 1997, the Government forced them off their land so they could harvest the diamonds. The Government of Botswana denies that diamonds were found on the sacred land, contending that they relocated the San people to maintain the reserve’s natural habitat.
By 2006, all of them had been moved from the Reserve. The Bushmen were forced to move to resettlement camps. Unable to hunt for their food, they are forced to live off government aid. Disease is rampant in these camps, as is alcoholism and depression. Government officials contend that they have given the Bushmen all they need to survive; land, water, and food. They also have been provided with schools, health services, training and start up for businesses. The government has given them titles to their new land as well as livestock to breed and use for food.
Because of their nomadic lives, the Bushmen are considered by many to be savages with no education. Officials say they are setting the Bushmen up with all the tools they need to be productive members of the African society. Things have been terrible for the San People. They have been moved from their homeland, plunged into poverty, and have had to go toe to toe with the Botswana Government. All the Bushmen want is to go home. They have lived in the Kalahari Desert for several thousands of years and all they want is to hunt and gather like they always have.
The Government stands by their decision to relocate the Bushmen, but the Botswana High Court ruled in 2006 that the Bushmen were illegally removed from their land. While the Bushmen are grateful for their victory, they are still unable to return to their homeland. They are unable to use their waterhole, and blame the Government for destroying their water pumps. They are unable to hunt and gather on the Reserve, as they are being denied the proper permits to do so. They want their land back, they want their homes back, and they want their way of life back.
After years of genocide, starvation and oppression the Bushmen, once a group of millions, has dwindled to just one thousand people. They have started a website, Iwant2gohome. org, to raise awareness about their plight, as well as raise money to help their cause. With their rich culture and long lasting tradition, the San People want nothing more than what has always been theirs. They want to be able to live the lives they always have. They just want to go home. ? Bibliography “African People and Culture. The African Guide. 1996-2008. Accessed on September 5, 2008. <http://www. africaguide. com/culture/tribes/bushmen. htm> Marshall, Leon. “Bushmen Driven From Ancestral Lands in Botswana. ” National Geographic News. April 16, 2003. Axcessed on September 5, 2008. http://news. nationalgeographic. com/news/2003/04/0416_030416_san2. html “The Bushman Need You. ” Survival International. com. 2008. Accessed on September 5, 2008. < http://www. survival-international. org/tribes/bushmen>