The Basarwa have been the source of much anthropological study,
as they traditionally lived by a semi-nomadic, hunting and gathering
subsistence strategy until about 20 years ago. As an ethnic
minority in the southern African region, they have garnered
attention for their unique culture and language and difficulties
integrating into mainstream permanent settlements. Most Basarwa
still rely heavily on natural resources for subsistence.
CBNRM activities have provided an opportunity for the Basarwa,
who have been largely displaced from the land they once lived
on and could exploit freely, to obtain a degree of legal tenure
and utilisation rights. If a representative legal entity is
formed and a land-use and management plan developed, a community
can obtain control over the wildlife off-take quota and a lease
over the land. In effect, they "own" the land, and
can sub-lease its use for income, exclude encroaching populations
who do not abide by the land-use plan (such as large cattle
owners) and hunt within the season and quota. It allows a proportion
of autonomy and control that the Basarwa previously have not
had access to under formal government.
Working with marginalised minority populations entails a host
of cultural, political and socio-economic considerations. The
CBNRM Support Programme has devised strategies for equitable
ethnic representation, benefit distribution and inclusion of
Basarwa culture in activities. For example, it has been observed
that community residents organise themselves into Family Groups
according to ethnicity and class. Thus, electing members to
a Trust from Family Group "constituencies" ensures
that a wealthier family or one ethnic group does not dominate.
Case study: DQÃE QARE GAME FARM
In 1994, the Board of the Kuru Development Trust (KDT), a
local Bushman self-help NGO, purchased a farm situated in
the Ghanzi Farm Block. The farm was to ease the tremendous
pressure exerted on natural resources by both humans and livestock
in the area around D'kar. Since then the D'kar Trust has been
established, game has been purchased and stocked, the land
fenced, a campsite opened, and construction of a lodge completed.
Thus, the Dqãe Qare Game Farm project was conceived
to assist the Basarwa and wider D'kar community to start and
run a commercial game ranching and tourism venture on land
of cultural importance.
Tourism also provides an outlet for the Basarwa to communicate
their traditional and contemporary culture to visitors. Many
people are curious about the bushmen, and the Dqãe
Qare Game Farm allows the community to take pride in and benefit
from their identity which has brought them so much discrimination.
The Basarwa learn social and economic navigation skills through
management of a commercial enterprise, as tourists dispel
their myths and prejudices about the Basarwa.
For more information on the Community Based Tourism projects
in both D'kar and /Xai-/Xai, see our Community Tourism page.