Kalahari bushmen lobby DiCaprio

The Kalahari Bushmen Of Botswana have called on Leonardo DiCaprio to support their battle to return to their homelands in the Central Kalahari. The tribe was evicted by the Botswanan government following diamond finds in the region.

The bushmen have called on the Hollywood actor to boycott De Beers and Botswana diamonds through an advertisement in today’s Variety magazine. The plea comes after the tribesmen heard that DiCaprio was to star in the film Blood Diamond.

The title refers to stones that are thought to be used to finance rebellions and terrorism. The film is to be set in Sierra Leone during the height of its civil war in the mid-1990s.

The bushmen’s ad, which is supported by a letter sent directly to DiCaprio, says: "We are Bushmen from the Kalahari desert in Botswana. After diamonds were found on our land we were evicted by the Botswana government. Those diamonds are a curse for us. When one day they dig them up, our people will be dead.

"Now we live in relocation camps. We are dying in the camps and we are full of pain. We see alcoholism, TB, HIV/AIDS – things we did not have before. We want to return to our homes, to the land of our ancestors.

The campaign is supported by actors Colin Firth and Julie Christie. Survival International, a charity that champions the rights of the tribes people, claims the Gana and Gwi tribes face "total extinction as peoples" if they are not allowed to return to the desert.

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