Bushmen start to return to ancestral lands

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A group of Kalahari Bushmen, one of the oldest tribal societies in the world, have returned to their ancestral hunting grounds after defeating international diamond mining companies and the government of Botswana in an historic court decision.

Forty Bushmen managed to return to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, in the arid heart of southern Africa, despite a heavy police presence and attempts to persuade them to stay in relocation camps. "Today is the same day for us as Nelson Mandela when he won South Africa," said Roy Sesana, as he stepped back on to the land where his forefathers have lived for 20,000 years.

The Gana and Gwi Bushmen had managed to preserve their hunter-gatherer lifestyle. But when diamonds were discovered at a community called Gope in the 1980s, De Beers bought the right to mine there. Gradually, the Bushmen were forced off their land to live in relocation camps. Alcoholism and HIV/Aids became rife.

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