Bushmen Appeal to "Blood Diamond" Star DiCaprio
The San Bushmen of Botswana have written to ‘Blood Diamond’ movie star Leonardo DiCaprio, asking for his assistance in gaining rights to their ancestral land in the Kalahari Desert.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Roy Sesana
Roy Sesana of the Bushmen wrote: "Please help us sir. We know you are a famous and respected man, and that if you speak up for us many people will listen. We just want to go home, and hunt and gather and live in peace like we have always done." The letter to DiCaprio also appears in a full-page advertisement in ‘Variety,’ the film industry’s magazine
In April, 2002, the Bushmen challenged their eviction from a game reserve in the Kalahari, but the case was thrown out on a technicality. In 2004 the court agreed to hear the complaint. The Bushmen maintain they were driven out to make way for diamond mining, a claim the government has denied. Only about 100,000 San are left, reduced from millions. Most live in Botswana, with others spread across several other south African countries.
Diamonds generated some $2.7 billion dollars for Botswana in 2005 and have been used to fund infrastructure and education, elevating that country from poverty to middle-income wealth.