ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
Because of their change in lifestyle, it is unlikely that many San will return to
the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, which is the size of Belgium. The ruling
gives them the right to do so, but does not compel the government to provide services
Kalahari BushmenThe San
win ancestral land case
By Alex Duval Smith
The Botswana High Court has given more than 1,000 Kalahari Bushmen the right to return to their ancestral hunting grounds by ruling they were wrongly evicted by the Botswanan government four years ago.
Campaigners said the landmark decision will advance the rights of indigenous people all over the world. Supporters of the Bushmen – traditional hunter-gatherers whose proper name is the San – accused the government of evicting them to exploit the potential diamond and mineral wealth on their reserve.
A panel of three judges in the southern Botswanan town of Lobatse ruled that the San were illegally moved from their ancestral land in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
After a 2-1 ruling, Judge Mpaphi Phumaphi, who delivered the swing vote, said the government had forced them out of the reserve by depriving them of their livelihood. “In my view, the simultaneous stoppage of the supply of food rations and the stoppage of hunting licences is tantamount to condemning the remaining residents to death by starvation,” he said.
Miriam Ross, of the London-based pressure group Survival International, said the ruling was historic because it added to a “growing body of case law and a mounting international consensus that recognises the rights of indigenous peoples”.
She said a similar case in South Africa three years ago had granted the San rights to mineral revenues from their ancestral land. But the Botswana case marked the first time a modern African court had recognised the ancestral land access rights of indigenous people, she added.
The Botswana government would not comment on the ruling but said it was considering appealing.
There are estimated to be 100,000 Bushmen in southern Africa, and about half are in Botswana. None live the 20,000-year-old traditional hunter-gatherer life centred on tracking and killing game on foot using poison arrows.
Because of their change in lifestyle, it is unlikely that many San will return to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, which is the size of Belgium. The ruling gives them the right to do so, but does not compel the government to provide services such as water, clinics and schools in the park.
The San have suffered decades of discrimination at the hands of the local Setswana population whose name for them, Basarwa, means “people without cattle”.
White settlers once hunted them for sport. Renowned for their ability to track game by reading delicate signs in the sand, the San in South Africa were used by its armed forces as frontline “trackers” in the Apartheid era.
Yesterday’s ruling reverses 20 years of a Botswana government policy to “encourage” the San to leave the reserve. From 1997, the authorities began to cut services to them, such as mobile clinics, in the park. Payments were offered to those who volunteered to move to a resettlement camp 30 miles away.
For that reason, the government has always argued that it did not evict anyone. However, human rights campaigners in Botswana say the authorities took advantage of the San’s low levels of education by spreading rumours that boreholes in the park would be sealed and those who remained would be killed by the Botswana Defence Force.
San advocacy groups say they have been watched by police. Most anthropologists have been denied research permits to study them in the park.
But it is unlikely that many San will return to the park. Even before the evictions began 20 years ago, most had given up their nomadic existence in the park and had settled around boreholes in it.
Nevertheless, life in the park – close to the ancestors who are crucial to the wellbeing of the San – was better than at the New Xade resettlement camp, where residents have no jobs, resettlement grants are spent on alcohol, and Aids is rife.
Desire for tourism in the Kalahari and concern for its dwindling wildlife are the government’s principal motives for resettling the San.
Claims from European pressure groups that the government is motivated by a desire to allow diamond mining in the park have been discredited. Even if true, the move would produce such an international outcry that it would be unlikely.
But it will take major investment to make the park viable for tourism. Animal populations, down to a mere 5 per cent of levels 30 years ago, were decimated by government-built cattle fences around the park, which cut off game from natural migration routes and water.
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De Beers boycotters ask DiCaprio for support
The creators of a new website designed to promote an international boycott of the De Beers diamond company have placed a full-page advertisement in Variety, the Hollywood entertainment newspaper, appealing to the actor Leonardo DiCaprio to help with their campaign.
The site, www.boycottdebeers.com, accuses the company of complying with the government of Botswana in forcing bushmen from land in a park in the Kalahari desert, created to protect them from the encroachments of modern civilisation.
The diamond giant has denied any connection with the eviction of the bushmen.
However, several international models, including Imam, Lily Cole and Erin O’Connor, who have previously worked for De Beers, are supporting the campaign and have vowed not appear on behalf of the company again.
DiCaprio plays the lead role in the newly released thriller Blood Diamond, which highlights the money-trail from diamond mining to conflicts in Africa. De Beers has responded to the film by saying its diamonds are 100 per cent untainted by war and violence.
posted 15 December 2006
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#10 – Covenant: A Thriller by Brandon Massey
#11 – Diary Of A Street Diva by Ashley and JaQuavis
#12 – Don’t Ever Tell by Brandon Massey
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#14 – For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree
#15 – Homemade Loves by J. California Cooper
#16 – The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper
#17 – Player Haters by Carl Weber
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#19 – Stackin’ Paper by Joy King
#20 – Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey
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#10 – John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History by Ahati N. N. Toure
#11 – Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley
#12 –The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
#13 – The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell
#14 – The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
#15 – Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can’t Commit by RM Johnson
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#17 – Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell
#18 – A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle
#19 – John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard
#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris
#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice
#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields
#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class by Lisa B. Thompson
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By James Carville and Stan Greenberg
Its the Middle Class, Stupid! confirms what we have all suspected: Washington and Wall Street have really screwed things up for the average American. Work has been devalued. Education costs are out of sight. Effort and ambition have never been so scantily rewarded. Political guru James Carville and pollster extraordinaire Stan Greenberg argue that our political parties must admit their failures and the electorate must reclaim its voice, because taking on the wealthy and the privileged is not class warfareit is a matter of survival. Told in the alternating voices of these two top political strategists, Its the Middle Class, Stupid! provides eye-opening and provocative arguments on where our governmentincluding the White Househas gone wrong, and what voters can do about it.
Controversial and outspoken, authoritative and shrewd, Its the Middle Class, Stupid! is destined to make waves during the 2012 presidential campaign, and will set the agenda for legislative battles and political dust-ups during the next administration.
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By Wole Soyinka
Aké: The Years of Childhood is a memoir of stunning beauty, humor, and perception
a lyrical account of one boy’s attempt to grasp the often irrational and hypocritical world of adults that equally repels and seduces him. Soyinka elevates brief anecdotes into history lessons, conversations into morality plays, memories into awakenings. Various cultures, religions, and languages mingled freely in the Aké of his youth, fostering endless contradictions and personalized hybrids, particularly when it comes to religion. Christian teachings, the wisdom of the ogboni, or ruling elders, and the power of ancestral spirits
who alternately terrify and inspire him
all carried equal metaphysical weight. Surrounded by such a collage, he notes that “God had a habit of either not answering one’s prayers at all, or answering them in a way that was not straightforward.” In writing from a child’s perspective, Soyinka expresses youthful idealism and unfiltered honesty while escaping the adult snares of cynicism and intolerance. His stinging indictment of colonialism takes on added power owing to the elegance of his attack.
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By Derrick Bell
In nine grim metaphorical sketches, Bell, the black former Harvard law professor who made headlines recently for his one-man protest against the school’s hiring policies, hammers home his controversial theme that white racism is a permanent, indestructible component of our society. Bell’s fantasies are often dire and apocalyptic: a new Atlantis rises from the ocean depths, sparking a mass emigration of blacks; white resistance to affirmative action softens following an explosion that kills Harvard’s president and all of the school’s black professors; intergalactic space invaders promise the U.S. President that they will clean up the environment and deliver tons of gold, but in exchange, the bartering aliens take all African Americans back to their planet. Other pieces deal with black-white romance, a taxi ride through Harlem and job discrimination.
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By Michael Grunwald
Time senior correspondent Michael Grunwald tells the secret history of the stimulus bill, the purest distillation of Change We Can Believe In, a microcosm of Obamas policy successes and political failures. Though it is reviled by the right and rejected by the left, it really is a new New Deal, larger than FDRs and just as transformative. It prevented an imminent depression, while jump-starting Obamas long-term agenda. The stimulus is pouring $90 billion into clean energy, reinventing the way America is powered and fueled; it includes unprecedented investments in renewables, efficiency, electric cars, a smarter grid, cleaner coal, and more. Its carrying health care into the digital era. Its Race to the Top initiative may be the boldest education reform in U.S. history. It produced the biggest middle-class tax cuts in a generation, a broadband initiative reminiscent of rural electrification, and an overhaul of the New Deals unemployment insurance system. Its revamping the way government addresses homelessness, fixes infrastructure, and spends money.
Grunwald reveals how Republicans have obscured these achievements through obstruction and distortion. The stimulus launched a genuine national comeback. It also saved millions of jobs, while creating legacies that could rival the Hoover Dam: the worlds largest wind farm, a new U.S. battery industry, a new high-speed rail network, the worlds highest-speed Internet network. Its main legacy, like the New Deals, will be change.
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By Russell Simmons
Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock market. True wealth has more to do with what’s in your heart than what’s in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America’s shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, “Happy can make you money, but money can’t make you happy.”
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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update 16 July 2012