Slaughter of the Innocent
A mix of history and current affairs, travel, reportage and anecdote, this passionate book speaks up for the Bushmen, the first people of Africa.
Bushmen were hunting and gathering, painting and mining copper, thousands of years ago. They were the first people of Africa. Deadly shots with their bows and arrows, they were, in their heyday, Lords of the Desert. They fought extremely bravely for their land, and lost. Today, they have been reduced to an underclass - dispossessed, despised and degraded. Just in time - one is tempted to say, miraculously - the Mandela government saved them from extermination in South Africa. Now, in Botswana's Central Kalahari Game Reserve, set aside specially for them by the British in 1961, they are making their last stand, refusing to be evicted in order to benefit mining and tourism. Sandy Gall, who is best known for his reporting of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, has taken up the cause of the Bushmen. His interest in their plight dates back to the 1950s and 1960s when he was working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters; in 1999 he visited the Central Kalahari with his daughter Michaela. His book celebrates the culture of these unique people, many of whom have an almost mystical bond with animals. He has portrayed many fascinating individuals who have been involved, for good or ill, in their tragic history and their present predicament. Here, for the first time, is the full story of the slaughter of an innocent people. The Bushmen of Southern Africa speaks not only for the Bushmen but for the native indigenous people of the world. It faces up to a shameful and bloodstained past and looks at burning current issues such as human rights and the ownership and exploitation of land.
“This is a shocking book, one of those rare volumes that skin the conscience and suck at the fat of complacency. It is the story of a genocide, the persecution of one of the world's most ancient peoples, the Bushmen of the Kalahari...the story is told with research as thorough as his passion is undisguised”
Peter Hughes, The Times