The current Tjwa/San communities of Tsholotsho inhabited the land 20 000 years ago, being continuously pushed to the outward remote areas by other stronger social groups. In 1928 they were moved from the main forest by the then white colonial government when the Hwange Game Reserve was created. This meant that the land which they occupied and used as a source of livelihood was drastically reduced. The then white minority government made promises to assist their adaptation to a sedentary lifestyle. As time went on government promises were not fulfilled, and the Tjwa people had to live a life that vacillated between sedentary and nomadic, maintaining permanent homes, while depending on nomadic livelihoods systems of hunting and gathering. Adaptation to the sedentary way of life proved difficult as they lacked the necessary knowledge, skills, resources and support to do so.
Continued nomadic lifestyles became increasingly difficult due to government laws on access and use of forest and wildlife resources. With increasing control on forest and wildlife resources through anti-poaching laws, dwindling forests, droughts and other socio-economic challenges, the Tjwa people found themselves at the edge of survival. This left them with limited livelihood options that were all based on adaptation to the sedentary lifestyles of neighbouring communities.
- Category: IYIL2019
- Thematic area: Cultural and Linguistic Continuity
- Call topics: Intergenerational transmission
- Major objective: Focus attention on the critical risks confronting indigenous languages
- Area of intervention: Creation of favourable conditions for knowledge-sharing and dissemination of good practices with regard to indigenous languages