The scattered community of Riemvasmaak never gave up hope. But the battle for its remote and desolate homeland on the outskirts of the Kalahari Desert has unfolded over more than a century:
1870s: People of Herero, Damara, and Nama origin first appeared in the area.
1920s: Land set aside for black occupation. Damara group under King Dawid asked Roman Catholic Church to establish a mission.
1934: Status as a native reserve confirmed. Xhosas add to the ethnic mix.
1966: Augrabies Falls National Park is created.
1973-74: People of Riemvasmaak are forcibly removed under government's ``black spot removal program.''
1976: Augrabies Falls National Park is extended to include 4,270 hectares (10,550 acres) of Riemvasmaak.
1981: South African Defence Force (SADF) takes over most of Riemvasmaak as a testing site.
1988: SADF and National Parks Board reach agreement that land used by SADF be declared a national park.
1992: People of Riemvasmaak form a committee to lobby for the return of their land.
1993: Claim goes before the Advisory Commission on Land Allocation, a body set up by the government to hear land claims by dispossed communities.
February, 1994: Land is restored, except 20,000 hectares, (49,400 acres) which remain in SADF hands.
May, 1994: SADF relinquishes remaining land, and 200 Riemvasmakers, returning to their land for the first time in 20 years, hold celebration at the Roman Catholic mission.