Accepted paper:

Spaces of indigenous politics: from the Kalahari to the United Nations

Author:

Maria Sapignoli (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology)

Paper short abstract:

The paper examines the complexities of the social and political situations in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana. It assesses the ways in which the peoples of the Kalahari live their indigenousness and the effects these had on the ways in which they are perceived and treated in Botswana.

Paper long abstract:

Over the past fifty years, the Central Kalahari Game Reserve region of Botswana has been a place in which in which struggles over land and resource rights, identity, indigeneity, and citizenship have occurred. San and Bakgalagadi peoples have claimed indigenous identity and have engaged in collective and individual efforts of negotiation, legal action, political organization, and performance in an effort to transform the space of the Central Kalahari into an area in which they could determine their own futures. Social networking on the web, taking part in international, national, and local meetings, writing up and disseminating declarations and statements, and providing information to lawyers have been some of the strategies that they have employed. In the process, they have engaged with the Botswana state, with national and international institutions, non-governmental organizations and the indigenous movements. All these encounters have contributed to the re-signification people's sense of indigenousness. This paper examines some of the complexities of the social and political situations inside the Central Kalahari and in the resettlement sites created by the Botswana government outside of the reserve in the past two decades. It also assesses the ways in which the peoples of the Central Kalahari incorporate and express their indigenousness and the effects these had on the varied ways in which they are perceived and treated in contemporary Botswana.

panel P31
"Indigenous" space and local politics