PRESS RELEASE *For immediate release*
January 29, 2021-- A group of six San leaders and supporters will begin a journey on foot from Knysna to Cape Town, South Africa on the 1st of February. They walk in the footsteps of their ancestors who once followed a great cycle of life through the seasons around the coastline of southern Africa. The walkers will pass through and connect with San and Khoe communities who are now settled along this ancient route to gather their support in defense of their spiritual motherland in the Kavango which is threatened by oil and gas exploration.
Permits have been issued to prospect, drill, and ultimately extract oil and gas over 8.4 million acres of the Kalahari Desert in Namibia and Botswana extending to the south eastern banks of the Okavango River and Okavango Delta. The permits are held by inter-linked companies: in Namibia Canadian Reconnaissance Oil and Gas (ReConAfrica), registered as Reconnaissance Energy Namibia (PTY) LTD and in Botswana Craig Steinke of Renaissance Oil Corporation. On January 10, ReConAfrica commenced drilling operations on the first exploration well (6-2) located in Kawe in the Omatako riverbed, which drains into the Okavango Delta. In communications with investors and the media ReConAfrica have said they anticipate both conventional and unconventional (e.g. fracking) methods will be used to extract the oil and gas from the shale rock basin if this exploration is successful.
Not only is the Kavanago an area of unique beauty, it also contains ecosystems of global importance and the last remaining sacred lands that continue to sustain and tell the origin stories of the world’s first people, the San and possibly all of humanity.
The group will be passing through George, Albertinia, Riversdale, Swellendam, Bredesdorp, Gansbaai, Grabow, and on to Cape Town collecting support and signatures for an objection to the petroleum developments, which will be delivered to the governments of Botswana and Namibia, and other international institutions.
PLEASE SUPPORT THE WALKERS IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS:
➢ Follow the progress of the walkers by joining the Facebook group: Khoe, San & Friends : Walk to Save the Okavango Delta (https://www.facebook.com/groups/252037162042830) or follow the hashtag #indigiwalk on social media.
➢ Individuals who would like to support the San in saying no to oil and gas drilling in the Kavango can sign the online petition: https://bit.ly/39WsHbi
➢ Read the objection letter here: https://bit.ly/3iISh7j
➢ Indigenous Peoples, community leaders, and civil society organisations globally can formally sign on to and support the objection that will be delivered at the end of the walk by complete this form: https://forms.gle/4jCM17fdZ5ALAuxH8
➢ Follow the campaign by liking the Facebook page: Frack Free Namibia and Botswana : https://www.facebook.com/FrackFreeNamibiaAndBotswana
For interviews or more information please contact:
• Q Beckett, San youth leader - on mobile: +27 72 050 1835,
• or Sharri Cannell from First Peoples Southern Africa on email@example.com and mobile: +27 82 578 9834
Cultural Survival is supporting the Walk to Save the Okavango Delta through a grant from the Keepers of the Earth Fund.