A Double-Edged Sword? Reflections on the Development of the San Community of Botswana

Kenneth B. Dipholo, Ndwakhulu Tshishonga, Nyawo Gumede


A large part of the discourse of development envisages a symbiotic relationship between development and democracy, with some theorists and practitioners arguing that there is a strong positive relationship between development and democracy. In particular, it is presumed that both development and democracy inform and blend into one another. Essentially, democracy is believed to be a basic requirement for development as well as an indicator of it. Significantly, the very idea that democracy is a prerequisite or a basic pre-condition of development is symbolically important and suggests that development is fundamentally founded on a healthy democratic tradition. In similar manner, high levels of development are presumed to give impetus to democratic impulses. It is thus widely presumed that economic development provides impetus to the transformation of political systems and the full enjoyment of human rights. Perhaps this position is a result of the growing realization that problems of economic performance and governance are interconnected, such that solution to one of the problems may often be found in the solution to the other. This paper seeks to present a cautionary perspective on this widely accepted position by arguing that while the two inform and blend into one another, the outcome may not always be desirable or beneficial. Using the right based approach to development as the conceptual framework the paper presents a critical assessment of this relationship, noting that in some instances, development interventions have had negative effects on basic civil and political freedoms of the San people of Botswana.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n20p2926

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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