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Zimbabwe's Crisis of Capacity

As Zimbabwe enters the 1990s, its government is being pulled in two directions. On the one hand, poor economic performance has led to enormous pressures to radically redesign economic policies. On the other hand, although the voices of the urban and rural poor haven't been heard much, disenchantment - with growing unemployment, rising prices, shortages of essential goods, and a crumbling…

Water and Politics

A former British colony surrounded by the Republic of South Africa, Lesotho is an extremely poor country with few marketable natural resources. The Lesotho Highlands Water Scheme was planned to develop its only valuable commodity in a drought-stricken southern Africa: water. The project involves diverting the flow of major rivers from Lesotho into South Africa through a system of five dams at a…

Treating the Wounds of War

I use these tin cans when I do my healing ceremonies. I take an empty can and put in some rocks and then seal it. I shake the can when I am working, and the rocks clatter - it makes quite a noise. This can with the rocks in it, that is what someone's head is like when they have been affected by war. With the October 1992 ceasefire, the 15-year war in Mozambique is over. Or is it? There is more to…

Toward Self-Sufficiency

In 1992, sever drought struck southern Africa, reducing harvests and causing enormous social difficulties. Chronic food shortages now threaten over a quarter of the region's population. In the past decade, the number of families in southern Africa unable to meet their basic needs has doubled. Indigenous peoples in ZImbabwe, Botswana, and Naminia have had to look to drought relief feeding and cash…

The Unraveling Knot

Shambling with his four goats through the white dust of central Owambo in northern Namibia, Aaron Shipena cuts a sad and disheveled figure. With knapsack over his shoulder, this wizened man in ill-fitting clothes - older and wiser than an observer might guess - has set off on the long search for grazing space in a flat landscape devoid of grass and surface water. Tree cover, too, is fast…

The Homecoming of the Kagga Kamma Bushmen

"Our ancestors were here and now so are we," said Dawid Kruiper as his kin and following of 30-odd "stone-age huntergatheres" emerged from two minibuses, to the delight of journalists and photographers there to record the event. On January 15, 1991, after an absence of two centuries, the Bushmen had returned to the western Cape Province of South Africa. The place they have returned to is the…

Rule By Violence

Very much a product of the last decade, warlords have become a critical feature of the escalating violence in Natal, particularly in the KwaZulu homeland areas of the region, and other parts of South Africa. These warlords and their vigilantes, rising out of political manipulation, political unrest, and grinding poverty, have both a political and material interest in disrupting any peace…

Pipe Dreams: Can the Zambezi River supply the region's water needs?

A May 21, 1992, article in Johannesburg's The Star, "Zambezi Water Could Do the Trick," speculates that South Africa's industrial heartland will run out of water at some point in the next 12 to 30 years. Noting that much of South Africa is poorly endowed with water, the article reassures readers that "trapping into the virgin waters of the Zambezi River...could do the trick." Indeed, a May 14…

Native American Reservations in Africa?

The West's concern for sustainable development has influenced conservation policy in a number of African countries, but not always for the better. The concern often includes the imposition of Western fears and ideals at the expense of understanding local values, needs, and problems. Consider Lesotho. In this southern African country, current conservation polices include restructuring the…

Is the Language Tide Turning in Canada?

"Our native language embodies a value system about how we ought to live and relate to each other... It gives a name to relations among kin, to roles and responsibilities among family members, to ties with the broader clan group.... There are no English words for these relationships.... Now, if you destroy our languages you not only break down these relationships, but you also destroy other…

Going Beyond Emergency Relief

As South Africa moves haltingly toward some form fo majority rule and its 40,000 refugees return home, prospects for genuine development are good. Yet decades of conflict throughout southern Africa - in which South africa's apartheid regime has played an instrumental role - have created a legacy that will plague South Africa's neighbors well into the next century. Colonial state repression and…

Demarcation - And Then What? Brazil takes a step, but its commitment to protecting indigenous lands is not proven.

Demarcation-And Then What? Brazil takes a step, but its commitment to. protecting indigenous lands is not proven. On November 15, 1991, Brazilian president Fernando Collor de Mello announced that he had authorized demarcation of the Yanomami territory of some 36,000 square miles in the states of Roraima and Amazonas. On his left stood then-environmental secretary José Lutzenberger, looking…

cs canada - 17.2

We Are All Crees On March 22, 1993, Grand Chief MathrewCoon Come of the Grant Council of the Cree addressed the Joint Energy Committee of the Massachusetts legislature. Massachusetts is deciding whether to end its commitments to buy electricity from the Great Whale Project and other hydroelectric developments in Quebec, thereby supporting the cause of the Cree and environmentalists who want these…

Conflict and Control in Malukazi

"THE PROBLEM STARTED IN 1990, when the ANC [African National Congress] started mobilizing before the release of their old man, [ANC leader Nelson] Mandela. When he was released, they came back from a rally and many people were killed on that day. After that they said that everyone should be ANC. All the people in the area became ANC in fear of children who were killing them. More than a thousand…

briefly noted - 17.2

Ogohi Protest "Agents of Death" in Nigeria In one of the largest demonstrations in the country's recent history, the Ogoni of Nigeria's Rivers State protested the threat posed by 30 years of oil exploitation in their territory. On January 4, 1993, 300,000 people assembled throughout Ogoniland. They asserted that the Ogoni, who number about 500,000, can no longer fish, farm, or hunt because oil…

Behind the Words

It's a common human tendency - sometimes a failing, sometimes a relief - to resort to certain phrases day after day as short-cuts. The speaker or writer apparently knows that the phrases mean; all too often others don't. A particular two-word phrase running through the pages of CSQ needs elaborating because it is key to advancing the rights of indigenous peoples, not to mention the rights of all…

Behind the Headlines: Violence, Land, and People in a Changing Southern Africa

Behind the Headlines: Violence, Land, and People in a Changing Southern. Africa Nelson Mandela's release in 1990 set in train, as Nadine Gordimer put it, "the complete reversal of everything that, for centuries, has ordered the lives of all our people." After decades of sanctions, boycotts, and isolation, the South African government moved to dismantle apartheid, graphically illustrating the…

"Now They Come With Respect"

In the remote, arid, northwestern corner of Namibia, a Himba headman and his councilors mete out a punishment to two young men who used an old rifle to shoot a gemsbok. The headman gives them a warning, and their fathers are fined two goats each. The community's game guard, Ngevi Tjikuta, had tracked and caught the two offenders a few weeks earlier. later in the month, government nature…