Bushmen and Diamonds: (Un)Civil Society in Botswana

Synopsis

Botswana's democracy is often considered to be a comparatively advanced and positive example of an African state in terms of political culture and the notion of 'good governance'. This paper challenges the assumption that the country's current political and socio-economic system is, in fact, exemplary. It highlights some of the limitations by focusing on the particular situation of the Bushmen/San as a marginalized minority denied citizens' rights and losing out against the material interests accompanying the exploration and exploitation of diamonds, the most lucrative natural resource contributing to Botswana's 'success story'.The author has on previous occasions presented and published related analyses within the research network on 'Liberation and Democracy in Southern Africa' (LiDeSA), which is currently coordinated through the Nordic Africa Institute. This publication is another result of the collaboration within this project.