The Impacts of Conservation and Militarization on Indigenous Peoples : A Southern African San Perspective.


Department of Anthropology, MSC01 1040, 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, 87131-0001, USA. [Email]


There has been a long-standing debate about the roles of San in the militaries of southern Africa and the prevalence of violence among the Ju/'hoansi and other San people. The evolutionary anthropology and social anthropological debates over the contexts in which violence and warfare occurs among hunters and gatherers are considered, as is the "tribal zone theory" of warfare between states and indigenous people. This paper assesses the issues that arise from these discussions, drawing on data from San in Angola, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. Utilizing cases of how San have been affected by military forces and wildlife conservation agencies in what became protected areas in southern Africa, this article shows that indigenous peoples have been treated differentially by state and nongovernmental organizations involved in anti-poaching, shoot-to-kill, and forced resettlement policies. Particular emphasis is placed on the !Xun and Khwe San of southern Angola and northern Namibia and the Tshwa San of western Zimbabwe and northern Botswana, who have been impacted by militarization and coercive conservation efforts since the late nineteenth century. Principal conclusions are that conservation and militarization efforts have led to a reduction in land and resources available to indigenous people, higher levels of poverty, increased socioeconomic stratification, and lower levels of physical well-being. San have responded to these trends by engaging in social activism, forming community-based institutions, and pursuing legal actions aimed at obtaining human rights and equitable treatment.


Conservation,Genocide,Indigenous rights,Militarization,San,Social activism,Southern Africa,Warfare,

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