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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:An 'historic victory' for the Basarwa in Botswana? Reading the evidence
Author:Boonzaier, EmileISNI
Year:2011
Periodical:Anthropology Southern Africa (ISSN 2332-3264)
Volume:34
Issue:3-4
Pages:96-103
Language:English
Geographic term:Botswana
Subjects:San
minority groups
land rights
Abstract:In late 2006 the Basarwa (or San) won a landmark case against the Botswana government, which returned their rights to continue living in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, from which they had been 'forcibly' removed earlier. The case attracted massive media attention, both in southern Africa and abroad. Although this media coverage overwhelmingly heralded the High Court judgment as a victory, some reports suggested otherwise. Anthropological accounts have been similarly divided. Such different interpretations seem to indicate that there are still numerous unresolved issues regarding the role of activist anthropologists in similar minority rights cases. It is highly unlikely that any of the anthropologists involved in the Basarwa case buy into the notions of a pristine San culture and primordial San identity. However, the outcome of the case suggests that they might as well have. The evidence thus far leads the author to conclude that the efforts of the plaintiffs have backfired. The government is now using the notion of the pristine 'Bushman' to circumvent the spirit of the court ruling. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]
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