Botswana Bushmen cheated out of their land

Bushemen BotswanaThe Basarwa or bushmen in Botswana are cheated out of their traditional territory by rich land developers and real estate compagnies. They cheaply take advantage of the poor economic situation of the Basarwa.  Places that used to be home to more thousands of Bushmen, are now turning into a suburb with multi residential houses.

There is massive construction of big houses in the area, which used to be owned by Basarw. The makeshift houses which used to characterise the area, are nowhere to be seen.  Where these improvised houses used to be has turned into big security walls with tiled castle houses.

Councillor for Tidimalo ward, Solomon Dikgang, said that looting is rampant in Mannathoko ward and in one instance he had to approach the Ngwato Land Board to halt some of the ‘land transfers’. “In 2007 the Basarwa living in Mannathoko were given land certificates after my intervention and all of a sudden we saw big structures coming up where some of them were given the plots. To our utter shock we learned that some people have bought the plots from Basawara at around P500.00 or less.’’

Dikgang said that some people changed the P500.00 into P20 denominations and when Basarwa saw the money they thought it was a lot of money and took it. “I know some people who were doing that and we had to warn them about that because it is daylight robbery.’’

Some of the people who buy the land of the bushmen are said to be expatriates and rent the houses while Basarwa move further into the bushes or are taken up by social workers. In Ramogate, the councillor for the area, Queen Molefhi said that the situation used to be worse but has improved after she addressed them. “Just two months ago, I went to help others to apply for residential plots, only to find out that some of them have previously sold their plots.’’

In Letlhakane, the premier village for the diamond mining companies the situation is even worse than in Serowe. Metsiaela ward, which used to be home to more than 3000 Basarwa is now turning into a suburb and multi residential houses. The houses are rented out to mine workers and companies that have been engaged by mining companies thus making property market in the area lucrative. Currently most of the Bushmen who were residing there have no plots as they were bought from them cheaply.

The houses are rented out to mine workers and companies that have been engaged by mining companies thus making property market in the area lucrative. Currently most of the Basarwa who were residing there have no plots as they were bought from them cheaply.

One expatriate owns two multi residential plots in the area and is currently developing another one.  The plots according to a source are bought at P200.00 and the owners sent to farms to look after the purchaser’s livestock. Letlhakane chief, Kgosi Baruntshi Kegapetswe said that they have tried to address the residents about selling their plots but they seem to be hitting a hard rock.

More news on Botswana can be found in the Botswana Guardian

 

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