Botswana: Botswana bushmen re-open crucial water well
Botswana bushmen re-open crucial water well
Botswana bushmen in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve have revived a crucial water supply, eight months after winning a court battle to re-open a water well closed nine years ago, a spokesman said Thursday.
"You have no idea how happy we are," said Bushmen spokesman, Jumanda Gakelebone.
"It's still unbelievable that we now have a borehole in the CKGR where we can draw water and drink without worrying where the next drop would come from as was the case before," he said.
The borehole is currently their only source of water, but they are in talks with donors to help them drill more, he added.
Gem Diamonds Company, which recently was given right to mine in the reserve, said it would help the community to drill more.
"There is joy in the community. People are still in a celebratory mood because indeed this is another victory for us. Our dignity and right as a people has been restored," Gakelebone said.
"But as we celebrate the borehole, we also remember one of the old ladies who died a few years due to dehydration. At least now no one will lose his or her life due to lack of water," he added.
Botswana's highest court ruled in January in favour of the Bushmen who had fought for years for the right to re-open a water well that supplied their village.
In 2002, the Botswana government evicted the Bushmen and closed a borehole which was their only source of water, in the arid Kalahari.
A court ruled in 2006 that the Bushmen have the right to stay in their ancestral land, and hundreds returned only to battle for survival with limited sources of water.
Government had argued that it is not required to provide water to people living in the game reserve, only to people living in formal settlements.
The Bushmen are southern Africa's first inhabitants, the majority poor and marginalised and excluded from government welfare services.
Some 100,000 of them remain in region, spread across Botswana, Namibia and South Africa.
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