“San Fight Land Grab in Namibian Park
By Servaas van den Bosch
Pensioner Makena Makanga slowly savours a piece of manketti fruit unaware that the tree it came from will soon be chopped down and mulched along with the rest of her forest to make way for a massive agribusiness project.
Makanga lives in one of a gathering of clay huts that finds itself in the middle of what is to become the Katondo Farm Project. Boricha’s scenic woodland, dotted with old manketti trees, is a biodiversity hotspot, home to a great variety of valuable plants and an important migratory route for animals; but a 10,000 hectare farm is planned for the site in the Bwabwata National Park, four kilometres from the Angolan border.
Makanga doesn’t know exactly how old she is, but she has gathered food around the forest all her life.
‘Interviews with the Khwe in the surrounding areas indicate that most walk many kilometres to harvest veldt foods from the area around Boricha,’ says Lucy Kemp of the Round River Project that charts the natural resources available to the Khwe San tribe in Bwabwata.
According to environmental consultant to the project, Norman van Zyl from Enviro Dynamics, ‘several hundred families’ at least depend on the forest for their livelihoods.
But if it is up to agricultural group Demeter International and its Namibian black economic empowerment (BEE) partner Labour Investment Holdings (LIH), the land will be cleared for farming, with ploughing scheduled for October (…).”
(Quelle: IPS News.)