The circulation and intersection of supranational rights, discourses, and practices with local struggles have contributed to victories, disappointments, and in many instances, new articulations and understandings of rights for local people. In Botswana, the ever-increasing interaction of minority groups with international institutions, laws and conventions, nongovernmental groups (NGOs), and the Botswana courts has created a dialectic that continues to reshape vernacular rights discourses. The state has also been a party in this evolving dialectic and has found new means of intervening in the process. The Botswana state prides itself on its liberal practices and has received international acclaim as a result. The state’s success in promoting individual-based human rights provides a context for minorities to self-identify, recognize their oppression, and safely challenge the state. Initially disarmed by minority demands and legal action, the state has now attempted to redefine the goals of minorities and to reduce the substance and redress of justice claims to support for and celebration of minority groups' dance, food, and costume. This has produced, in the words of minority activists, “culture fatigue.” This paper will examine these processes; consider the conflicting and converging discourses and practices resulting from the mutual absorption of rights dialogue on the part of local groups, international bodies, and the state; and discuss the ways in which these have supported, clashed with, strengthened, or distorted the positions and outcomes of the various actors and their projects.


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pp. 211-240
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