The KHOISANS are the forgotten tribe of Zimbabwe. Despite being the first to settle in Zimbabwe, the Khoisan minority tribe remains poverty stricken, centuries after settling in the country. Generation after generation, they have remained on the periphery for centuries.
Nyaliwe Mendisi has never known the door to a classroom. None of her 12 children have gone to school, and now the 81-year-old’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren have not received a basic education either.
Mendisi belongs to the Khoisan tribe, with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren out of school.
Poverty-stricken now, the only jobs her children and grandchildren have known are domestic jobs in the villages of Tsholotsho, Zimbabwe’s district in North Matabeleland province.
Most of his grandsons and granddaughters are employed as shepherds or tend the cultivated fields of other villagers.
“My whole generation in my family has never been to school. We have nothing of value in our possession to allow children to go to school. We don’t have goats or cattle that we can sell to raise school fees, ”Mendisi said. Anadolu Agency.
Also known as the Bushmen or Basagwa, the Khoisan were the first Bantu to inhabit present-day Zimbabwe.
Stuck in poverty, many Khoisan like Mendisi and his descendants live in remote areas of this southern African country, while others face similar situations in other countries such as Angola, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia.
In Zimbabwe, some of them live in Plumtree in the province of South Matabeleland.
Now, as the world commemorates International Day of the World’s Indigenous People by the United Nations, the Khoisans of Zimbabwe have nothing to celebrate amid growing scarcity.
The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is commemorated on August 9 of each year.
“Food is even difficult to obtain because this region still receives very low rainfall. We don’t have cattle or donkeys that we can use for our agriculture, ”she said.
Khoisans are stateless
But what worries many like Mendisi and his family is the lack of national identity cards, which means that with his descendants, they have fought against statelessness.
“Not having an ID or birth certificate means that none of us have the opportunity to go to school or even dream of having a bank account,” Mlungisi Mendisi said ( 23 years old), a grandson of the matriarch. Anadolu Agency.
Even a decent shelter for the Khoisan tribe is something they can only imagine in their dreams, according to young Mendisi, who also said he has never boarded a bus or vehicle.
With successive droughts, the Khoisan were not spared, but securing food donations from the government remained a mountain task for many like Mlungisi without identity papers.
“No identity, no government food and some of us just have to starve. It has never been easy for many of us to obtain identity documents like birth certificates and national identity cards, ”he said.
Davy Ndlovu, program manager at Tsoro-O-Tso San, a development trust that defends the rights of the Khoisan tribe, said the minority tribe has faced vast injustices for centuries, resulting in situations of poverty for decades. generations.
“Since the San left their ancestral land to pave the way for the creation of Hwange National Park in 1928, their life as hunter-gatherers has been turned upside down. Today they live in abject poverty on the outskirts of society and find it difficult to adjust to a sedentary lifestyle, ”Ndlovu said. Anadolu Agency.
For Ndlovu, like many minority groups in Zimbabwe, the Khoisan people are no strangers to segregation.
“Many minorities in Zimbabwe suffer from discrimination and the situation is even worse for the San,” he said.
According to Tsoro-O-Tso San, there are around 2,500 Khoisans in Zimbabwe.
Even though Ndlovu and his organization tried to help many Khoisan enroll in school, families like Mendisi’s had no luck.
But organizations like Tsoro-O-Tso San, led by Ndlovu, have attempted to lift many Khoisan descendants out of poverty.
“When we started our project in 2010, few San children completed primary school.
“After numerous awareness campaigns on the importance of education, a good number of them reached level O, others even finished the sixth year of their secondary education,” Ndlovu said.
For Ndlovu, even if the Khoisan tribe remains oppressed and seemingly forgotten by the authorities, there is something to smile about.
“For the first time, we have three Khoisan descendants attending university. There is, however, little support from the government and this has left many San children without education, ”Ndlovu said.
From a health perspective, Ndlovu said the Khoisan face problems as health facilities are still few and people are forced to travel long distances to see a doctor.
Ndlovu said that with many Khoisan still stateless, several, like Christopher Dube from Garia village in Tsholotsho, recently fought to bury an undocumented relative who died in neighboring South Africa, also without personal papers.
According to Ndlovu, the deceased is still not buried in South Africa due to a lack of appropriate documents.– Anadolu Agency