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  • Writer's picturesuryasrikumar2

Water Right’s Battle in Southern Africa

The Water Right’s Battle in Africa is a contentious issue with many moving parts. Many moving parts want to claim over famous water sources in Southern Africa- rich with wildlife and native history. Each group has some claim over the land and needs it for some use. From the African Government’s perspective, the land is owned by the African Nation and thus use of it should be regulated towards the African Government. On top of this, as it is a national source of land, the government is also the group that manages the water and ensures that it reaches federal safety levels in “water care” such as salinity and acidity. The U.S government’s viewpoint aligns with this. Just as the US government has the responsibility to care for all the lakes in its territories, the African Nation must follow suit. From both of these perspectives, the idea of a “sacred” land is nearly non-existent. The nature of the government is to be free from religion and the idea of a sacred land is tied to religion. Rather a sacred land, is just land that is not touched upon to appease the local natives and any groups who might define it as sacred. In this case, being able to use the water for a watershed area outweighs the values of indigenous groups (in the eyes of the government), so being a sacred land does not matter. From the perspective of the indigenous groups, the land has been under their care for many decades and thus they have a spiritual claim to the land and should be allowed to keep control of it. However, they do not believe they control the land, they just want it to be untouched by the government. Finally, they believe that if a land is sacred the government should not be able to portion it off and control it. This makes the issue polarizing as the two groups share nearly no middle grounds. However, both groups have their own values. While from a cultural and ethical side, the indigenous are much more favorable, pragmatically the governments are clearly right. In this case, I will negotiate a compromise from the government's perspective. My top priority would be to gain enough land for the watershed project. Seeing as the area in question is certainly a large area with lots of water, a good compromise to make would be to section off a smaller part then promised in order to ensure the animals still have the resources they need to thrive. Additionally, we could make sure this land was used just for the watershed project and not add any commercial aspect to also ensure that the land is kept sacred. I think that both sides would agree to this as the prerogative for the land is to the government and thus the indigenous communities would take any compromise they got. Throughout this experience, I learned that when negotiating it is necessary to weigh the pros and cons of every side in order to make decisions and ensure that the best deal is created.

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