miércoles, 30 de junio de 2010


To the north of South Africa, southern Botswana and Namibia stand reddish 70,000 kilometers of desert. It is the Kalahari Desert which means "great thirst." It is the territory of the Bushmen and meerkats.

Its climate ranges from 40 degrees Celsius in summer to freezing temperatures in winter. It has, of course, little wildlife, but in the short winter the river Okavango Delta forms a swamp where come to drink lions, leopards, buffaloes, rhinos, zebras and wild boar among many other animals. This impressive diversity of members of the wild kingdom disappears with the completion of the rains since immigrating in search of better pastures. But they always return the following winter. In areas of this vast desert wild melons grow like carpets and a cactus-like plant called Hoodia Gordonii is a fundamental part in the diet of the Bushmen and whose property has been recently discovered by western physicians to lose weight. In fact it is almost impossible to find a bushman obese.

The Kalahari is the land of the meerkat, a type of mongoose mind which sudden raise to fame after appearing timon a character in the film helm of Disney’s “The Lion King”. Interestingly the position to take on two legs raised and as they take turns keeping watch while the other group members hunt or dig with their curved claws. Meerkats have a complex organization with different roles depending on the position in the social scale.

The Kalahari is the land of the Bushmen an ancient genetic group who was the first homo sapiens-sapiens moved out of Africa into Asia Minor thousands of years ago. Those who stayed are tribes that are not related to what we know as black Africans; as a matter of fact they are related to the Tasmanians. The Tasmanians are a so-called lost tribes located on the island of Tasmania south of Australia. They are entirety extinguished. After hunting them like animals in 1836 when there were only 2000, were persuaded by George Robinson, a Christian missionary "friend" to be located on a small island north of Tasmania called Finders. They were forced to dress like Westerners and converting to Christianity. They could not adapt to this radical change in their ancestral customs were banned. Eleven years later only 47 Tasmanians survived. In 1865 the last male died and in 1876 the last Tasmanian woman. Her name was Truganini .

The Bushmen are very different to anything known even in Africa, although the term Bushman or man of the forest is a term coined by the Netherlands immigrants. Actually the correct term is San. The most peculiar is the language based on clicks where no fewer than 80 click using different lips, teeth and tongue. Some sound like a kiss, others are admitted, entering air into the mouth and other graduates taking air from the mouth. It is believed that they are also related to pygmies.

Since the arrival of Europeans the Bushmen have been decimated to the point that currently they are less than 65,000. In the eighties were discovered potential diamond deposits in the Kalahari Desert, so that the Bushmen have been evicted from their land, and give it in concession to the European company which operates the sites.

The Bushmen have organized in a group called “First People of the Kalahari” and have developed a struggle to maintain possession of their desert lands.

In 2006 the organization won a victory when Botswana’s high court ruled that the San or Bushmen were entitled to return to their lands and hunting without a license, as until now demanded the authorities to press the exit from the mine diamond area.

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