Dongas road protest group


Dongas road protest group

 

The Dongas Tribe was a collection of UK road protesters and travellers in England originally noted for their occupation of Twyford Down outside Winchester, Hampshire. This was a protest against the M3 motorway extension which destroyed some rich ecological sites, one of the very few habitats of the Chalkhill Blue butterfly and 6 species of rare orchid, and ancient monuments there (SSSI & Scheduled Ancient Monument). The name Dongas comes from the Matabele word for "Gully". This had somehow been given by Winchester locals to the deep drovers' tracks on Twyford Down.

Following "Yellow Wednesday", when hordes of police and security guards invaded the camp to bulldoze the area, the Dongas Tribe left Twyford Down for Bramdean Common. Earth First!, who had been heavily involved in the setting up and support of the camp and actions, continued the protests and restarted a camp in Plague Pits Valley.

They constituted about twenty people. Some of the Tribe maintained an involvement in various subsequent road protests (Solsbury Hill, North Wales, Newbury bypass), but gradually morphed into a semi-nomadic "tribe", traveling the South West of England on foot, squatting various hill-forts and putting on seasonal gatherings in an attempt to reawaken a sense of connectedness with the land. The last of the nomadic Dongas were travelling in Cornwall until the end of 1999, after which some of them moved to France to continue their nomadic lifestyle.[citation needed]

Some of the original Dongas (as they became called) of the mid 1990s were musicians who made a living[citation needed] by busking, sometimes using ancient sounding original[citation needed] folk tunes from Brittany in France. One, at least, has since turned semi-professional[citation needed] musician with a band called Mordekkers. Several of the Dongas can be seen at the Big Green Gathering festival in Somerset, England.

The first child born in Dongas Tribe ways named May Brigit "Donga" Lambert and was born on 1 May 1994. Her mother Rosie Lambert carried on protesting and is still to this day a proud Donga. Most of the people that lived in the Donga Tribe are still out there fighting for their beliefs.

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