RACISM & EXPLOITATION IN THE WILDERNESS SAFARIS; RICHARD BRANSON, MO IBRAHIM, BONO & ANAND MAHINDRA MUST INTERVENE
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OUR DEMANDS TO WILDERNESS SAFARI BOARD MEMBERS AND SHAREHOLDERS ARE;
- They must address employee' salary difference which is based on race despite both Blacks and Whites equipped with the same experience and qualifications or the former having more
- They must compensate Samba for the pain and humiliation he suffered
- They must ensure that Black Managers are not forced to drive 10hours to remote camps while White managers are pampered with 40minutes flights
- They must ensure their language policy is standard. If Setswana which is the official language of Botswana is not allowed in their Safari camps this has to also extend to Afrikaans which is not an official language of Botswana
- They must ensure they have incident reports in place
- They must preserve the native language and culture
- They must improve their Corporate Social Responsibility
- These demands are based on the following accounts;
- On January 27th, a video showing a racial confrontation between Wilderness Safaris Concession Manager Johan von Backstrom of Afrikaans descent and Samba of indigenous people of Botswana surfaced on social media, see https://fb.watch/3jeCVJ1374/. The brutality of this assault was shocking as it showed not only abuse of power by White/Afrikaans Managers at Wilderness Safaris, but racial violence meted on junior employees majority who are indigenous people.
- On the 28th, Wilderness Safaris issued a shallow press statement arguing that the incident took place in one of their camps (Vumbura) in late 2019 and blaming the victim, see https://www.facebook.com/TheGazettebw/posts/101583….
- This prompted former employees to come forward on social media platforms where they shared detailed accounts of racial abuse they have faced in the Wilderness Safaris. This racial abuse ranges from payment disparity between White Managers and Black Managers.
- White Managers whom some have less work experience are paid 4 times higher than Black Managers despite the latter having extensive work and academic experience.
- Black Managers are forced to drive from Maun to Vumbura which including a ferry is a 10hour trip while White managers are pampered by the employer with flights which take 40minutes. A clear act of discrimination.
- Black employees are not allowed to converse in their native language among themselves in those remote camps while White Managers/ Afrikaners freely converse in their mother tongue which is not even an official language in Botswana. This is not only an invasion and suppression of our language/identity but exploitation of our culture and resources
- White Managers/ Afrikaners are perpetuating a racist culture in Botswana Safari camps which is the call of the day in neighbouring South Africa
- While Blacks in South Africa are still fighting the remnants of Apartheid and blatant racism, Afrikaners are now exporting their racist culture through Wilderness Safaris
- These acts of racial discrimination among others have long been reported to Maun Labour department. Sadly, nothing has ever been done.
- Therefore we are calling for the intervention of the Rise Fund’s Founder’s Board who owns 34% shares (80million worth) in the Wilderness Safaris through TPG Growth. These board members are reported to be Bill McGlashan, David Bonderman and Jim Coulter, founding partners of TPG Capital; Jeff Skoll, first president of eBay; Rock star Bono; philanthropist Lynne Benioff, wife of a flamboyant tech billionaire, Marc Benioff (Salesforce.com); British billionaire, Sir Richard Branson (Virgin); Mellody Hobson, Vice-Chair of Starbucks, former chair of the board of directors of DreamWorks Animation and wife of Hollywood director-producer, George Lucas; Reid Hoffman, co-founder and executive chairman of LinkedIn; Sudanese-British philanthropist and telecoms billionaire, Mo Ibrahim; Indian Mahindra conglomerate chairperson, Anand Mahindra; philanthropist Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Apple founder, Steve Jobs; billionaire philanthropist and founder of eBay, Pierre Omidyar; and Unilever CEO, Paul Polman.