Bushmen of the Kalahari

BushmenThe Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana have been fighting their government for decades. In recent years, the Bushmen have won several court cases regarding access to water and the rights to live on lands occupied by their culture for generations.
The government of Botswana has stated on numerous occasions they are not responsible for forcibly relocating the Bushmen to further diamond exploration and tourism.

Even though the Bushmen won their court case in 2006 of being allowed to return to the CKGR the government required the Bushmen to provide permits upon re-entering their ancestral lands. Some Bushmen have not been issued permits and others who have, are in constant fear of living in the CKGR past what their permits allows.

Reportedly, the Bushmen continue to be harassed by their government and have filed an additional case with the court demanding that all Bushmen be allowed to return to the CKGR.


  • 1950s-1990s – Bushmen switched to farming as a result of government-mandated modernization programs
  • 1961 – Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) established by Botswana Government which includes land already occupied by the Bushmen
  • 1997 – San Bushmen were relocated to New Xade – resettlement located outside of the CKGR
  • 2002 – Botswana government continued resettlement of San Bushmen from the CKGR to New Xade
  • 2005 – Botswana government again continued a forcible relocation of San Bushmen to New Xade leaving about 250 occupiers in the CKGR
  • 2006 – Botswana Court ruled the Bushmen’s eviction illegal and they were allowed to return
  • 2008 – United Nations Human Rights Council criticized the Botswana government for not allowing certain Bushmen to return
  • 2008 – Huge bush fire takes place in and around the CKGR and burns 80% of the Reserve; reason for fire unknown
  • 2011 – Bushmen won an appeal against the government of Botswana High Court after the were initially prohibited from accessing drinking water inside the Reserve through bore holes
  • 2013 – Survival International reported that some Bushmen in Ranyane were slated to be evicted from their land in order to create a wildlife corridor known as the Western Kgalagadi Conservation Corridor