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Komtsha Komtsha was one of the great leaders of the Central Kalahari Bushmen. He travelled to Britai

Published by MAC on 2005-04-29

Komtsha Komtsha was one of the great leaders of the Central Kalahari Bushmen. He travelled to Britain and Scandinavia in attempts to warn the international community that Botswana's majority Tswana rulers planned to expel the Bushmen from their last traditional refuge in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. In particular, he wanted Britain to honour its pledge that the CKGR would belong to the Bushmen for all time. In desperation, he wrote to the Queen for help, but was unable to persuade anyone to deliver the letter before he died eight years ago. The undelivered letter is published here for the first time.

Her Highness,
The Queen of England,

Dear Great Queen,

My name is Komtsha. I am an old man. I am a Bushman. If we are too small, or if you have forgotten, you must ask other people what a Bushman is and where they live.

When I saw a man from England, I asked him to give message to you. It is the message of our pain and suffering. The [Tswana] people are stealing the land from my people. I must answer my people. I say I do not know why they [the Tswana] can come and do so. The Great Woman from England will know. She will know the truth.

Not very long ago you gave the Tswana people their land [at independence in 1966]. At that time when you came here what did you see? Were there only trees and black people here? Is that why you did not talk to us? The Tswana people think you have given us to them. They do not understand you did not see us and that is a mistake.

If you did not give us to them, then you must tell them now that they must let us go. They are killing our land. They do not understand the animals or the land. They are wasting everything and soon nobody will be able to live. We have always lived with the animals. They are our friends. The Tswana people are chasing us away from the animals.

You must not answer the Tswana people. This is my word to you. You must send your word to me.

I must first see your answer before we can talk to the Tswana people.

Please do not wait too long,

Komtsha Komtsha

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