Botswana admits bushmen were evicted for diamond mine

| 19th August 2009
Plans for diamond mining in Botswana saw Bushmen forced out of their home
Plans for diamond mining in Botswana saw Bushmen forced out of their home
Official admits government cut off water supply to force Bushmen out of the Central Kalahri Game Reserve

A Botswanan government official has admitted that the Kalahari Bushmen were evicted from their land to make way for diamond mining.

Speaking to American author James Workman for his book, 'Heart of Dryness', the official - who spoke only under conditions of anonymity - said the Bushmen's vital water borehole was deliberately disabled.

'But of course the water cut-off has to do with diamonds. It has everything to do with diamonds,' he said.

Botswana has repeatedly denied that the diamond deposits found near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve were the reason behind the evictions. It originally claimed the Bushmen were being moved to 'develop' them.

The diamond deposits were originally owned by De Beers. However after a Botswana High Court ruling in 2006 that Bushmen had been forcibly evicted, De Beers sold them to the company Gem Diamonds.

In 2007 Gem Diamonds valued the deposit at $2.2bn. But plans to start mining were shelved earlier this year due to the global recession.

Survival International, which campaigns for the rights of indigenous peoples, said the Botswanan government still refuses to open up the water borehole it disabled.

It is understood that Bushmen returning to the Central Kalahari have begun new legal proceedings to get the bore re-opened.

See also

More from this author