Mmegi Online :: HIV/AIDS used as weapon against Basarwa – UB don
Last Updated
Friday 23 February 2018, 16:45 pm.
HIV/AIDS used as weapon against Basarwa – UB don

A decade after what looked like closure of the longest case between the Government and Basarwa, a University of Botswana (UB) academic has accused the Government of using the HIV/AIDS pandemic in an attempt to wipe Basarwa off the face of the earth.
By Bame Piet Thu 30 Mar 2017, 18:00 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: HIV/AIDS used as weapon against Basarwa – UB don

In an article published in African Educational Research journal, Dr Dama Mosweunyane condemns what he calls forcible relocation of Basarwa from the Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve (CKGR) and argues that the Government did not educate Basarwa about the existence of HIV/AIDS when it relocated them from CKGR to New Xade and Kaudwane settlements in the late 90s.

Mosweunyane argues that the relocation separated family members, and some were forced to engage in prostitution because of the challenges brought about by the lifestyle outside the CKGR. Others, he said have indulged in alcoholism, which has been cited as one of the contributors of HIV/AIDS spread.

Moreover, he says the Government had full knowledge of the disease and how it was transmitted from one person to another, but it did not bother to pass that information to the Basarwa.

“It was therefore absolutely necessary for the Botswana Government to educate Basarwa about HIV/AIDS before evicting them from CKGR, because there was no how they could have accessed information without Government’s assistance.

“It is therefore evident that the Government of Botswana deliberately evicted Basarwa so that they can be infected with HIV, resulting in their demise,” he states.

He says that other tribes in Botswana, especially Bangwato have treated Basarwa as less humans, while Government officials have raped and produced babies with young Basarwa women.

“Interestingly, in Serowe, the capital village of the Bangwato, there are members of Basarwa communities who have capitulated and are assimilated.  Ironically, they do experience various forms of economic deprivation and political disempowerment.

For example, behind the house owned by the President Dr Ian Khama Seretse Khama, in Serowe village, there resides a group of Basarwa who are


without proper housing, despite having come to the village of Serowe and settled for years.”

He argues that the eviction of Basarwa was carried out in order to eliminate them “because they are regarded as a worthless entity that due to outside influence is becoming vexatious. 

“Basarwa are ostracised from both political and economic power positions, which is an advantage for a Government that wants to maintain their subordination at all costs.”

He said fellow researchers have previously identified the numerous challenges that Basarwa had to face before integrating into the new settlements that also attracted other newcomers as a result of Government handouts for the Basarwa.

“This means even if the Government of Botswana had a plan to ethnically cleanse members of Basarwa communities, as this article argues, such representatives would not disclose such plans that can tarnish the image of the most glorified African country.

It is clear, though circumstantial, that the Botswana Government officials were fully aware that if Basarwa were infected with HIV, with time, they would die in large numbers from AIDS.

He quotes one researcher stating that: “I am convinced that the aim of the resettlement of Basarwa is to exterminate them. It is as if a grave is dug and people are thrown in and carefully covered with sand”.

The argument was influenced by the fact that the Government has denied Non-Governmental Organisations permission to open community radio stations for Basarwa who only rely on bi-lingual- English and Setswana- Radio Botswana.

Mosweunyane further accuses the Government of concealing information on intentions to open a diamond mine inside the CKGR, saying the country’s diamonds are as guilty as those produced in war-torn countries.


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