The Bushmen or San People are considered to be the oldest culture in the world and have led a totally self sufficient, nomadic lifestyle dating back over a hundred thousand years. The Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) was setup in 1961, specifically to provide a protected source of wildlife so that the Bushmen could continue to practice their traditional lifestyle.
In the 1980's however, following the discovery of large diamond fields in the reserve, outside contact with the Bushmen became more and more frequent. Whether intentionally or not, the Bushmen were exposed to western ideas and practices, and began to adopt these in favour of their own. Borehole wells were provided for their use which altered their nomadic ways to a more centred life around the source of water. Domestic animals were also introduced, reducing their reliance on hunting.
In 1997, the first of three forced relocations occurred, a second happened in 2002 and a third in 2005. Officials loaded the Bushmen and their meagre possessions onto the back of trucks and moved them hundreds of miles away to relocation camps outside of the reserve. Life in the camps is reportedly far from happy for the Bushmen, with many suffering from depression and alcoholism, as well as HIV and AIDS being rife throughout the population.
There have been very few reports on the plight of the Bushmen people since 2005. The bushmen did manage to win a court case allowing them back into the reserve, and at first this seemed to be the achievement of their goal. In January 2011, they even won a case allowing those named in the case, access to their original borehole, along with permission to create others. Unfortunately though, the reality seems that while the bringing of small herds of livestock to the reserve is still banned, licenses to hunt in the CKGR are being refused many Bushmen are being arrested for hunting to feed their families, which means that however awful the conditions in the camps are, the majority have stayed, continuing to live on food handouts from the government.