The Mayeyi people
are a breakway grouping of the Wayeyi people of the Okavango
Delta. They are known to tourists who visit Botswana as the
people who make their livelihoods in the swamps themselves and
are characteristic of their use of mokoros, canoes
dug out from the trunk of a sausage tree.
Between the late
1950s and 1969 the Mayeyi were forcibly removed from the Linyanti
marshes so that they could be better administered by the then
South West African Government. As a result, the Mayeyi, a once
water-bound semi hunter-gather and small scale agricultural
people were forced into the dryland north of hte marshes and
had to take up the practice of pastoralism. Like many groups
in Africa, the Mayeyi, an impoverished people, find themselves
struggling between the disjuncture of tradition and modernity.
Part of the internal
struggle to comprehend and make sense of the world and its injustices
can be seen through the lens of witchcraft and spirit possession
belief. These practices not only make sense of the world, an
often confusing and contradictory place, but enable people to
engage with the world in an imaginative manner.