Michael Hurran, the Survival International spokesperson doesn’t give a straightforward answer but that still doesn’t hide the fact that FPK leader, Roy Sesana, didn’t consult the London pressure group about his new government job.
Having decided to restore in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, essential services that were discontinued in 2002, the government went a step farther and employed Sesana as an administration assistant. If the world knows this San leader, it is because SI introduced him to it. For that reason, one would have expected Sesana to contact ÔÇô even consult SI ÔÇô when the government offered him the job. Asked to state whether Sesana gave formal notification about this development, Hurran, SI’s says that was not necessary.
“We’re pleased that the government has been listening to him, and hope that this will help him as he fights for his people’s rights. He doesn’t need to formally notify us about this,” he adds.
Sesana has always been an important figure in every CKGR campaign and it would be fair to suppose that with him out of the picture, such campaigns would suffer. One way that would happen is that he cannot bite the hand that feeds him because as a civil servant he cannot antagonise the government in as direct and intense a manner as he used to when he had no connections to it. Conversely, Hurran says that Sesana’s new employment status has not affected its CKGR campaign and that “we are in regular contact with many Bushmen, several of whom are part of First People of the Kalahari.”
FPK itself didn’t consult SI when it started talks with the government last. Sesana’s right-hand man, Jumanda Gakelebone, explained at the time that such consultation was unnecessary.
“This was an issue between us and the government, not Survival and the government. Of course Survival has helped where we have asked for its help but we didn’t do so this time around,” said Gakelebone who represents New Xade settlement in the Gantsi District Council.
However, the councillor is unhappy about Sesana being a civil servant because such employment status curtails his freedom of speech.
On account of age alone, Sesana doesn’t qualify to work for the government whose retirement age is 65 but the CKGR’s is a unique situation in which it would have been necessary to dispense with some standard rules to deal with a unique set of circumstances. The government needs to work with a local person who has credibility with the residents and Sesana seems to be that person. The only other prominent FPK leader who might have been a possible candidate is Gakelebone but he is an opposition party councillor.
Sesana became the second FPK leader in eight years to swap San-rights activism for a job in the public service. The first was the organisation’s last coordinator, Kgosimontle Anxious Kebuelemang, who in 2008, joined the Department of Tribal Administration in the same ministry as Headman of Records for Mababe village. At 25 years, Kebuelemang was one of the youngest headmen in the country.The latter said at the time that he knew that some people would tag him with the “sell-out” label and that he had actually heard that from former colleagues at FPK.
Sesana is based in Molapo, the largest settlement in the CKGR where he was born around 1950.