It's not all black and white

The frontliners of the campaign against farm murders are wrong about so many things they say to the media in their apparent attempt to demonstrate the gravity of the phenomenon. I say this in full support of the call for government to take these gruesome events seriously. Too many farm workers and their bosses die. These deaths are unnecessary. But I do not stand with wealthy, powerful individuals acting as representatives of these communities in order to control the narrative. They do not seem to care about these families except to use their pain to drive a well-funded campaign to...
The frontliners of the campaign against farm murders are wrong about so many things they say to the media in their apparent attempt to demonstrate the gravity of the phenomenon. I say this in full support of the call for government to take these gruesome events seriously. Too many farm workers and their bosses die. These deaths are unnecessary.

But I do not stand with wealthy, powerful individuals acting as representatives of these communities in order to control the narrative. They do not seem to care about these families except to use their pain to drive a well-funded campaign to push a right-wing agenda.

It is not a new tactic, it resembles, almost to a T, what white supremacists in the USA do to recruit people into their "guns and Jesus" hysteria cults claiming mixed coupling was white genocide and the scourge of a conspiracy to diminish the population of unmixed white people, who are "superior", of course.

In this context, race may be a good tool to research the effect of violence on white families in these communities, how it affects other minorities and how it affects black people. What are the roles of each of these demographics play in this mess? Around 2011, I recall how organisations in that sector were much bolder in declaring that these attacks were racially charged and part of a grander campaign by the ANC to proliferate "white genocide".

Years later, the "white genocide" fake news cycle became a powerful force in these rural communities among vulnerable and scared white farmers and their families, whose real experiences seemed to be a weapon for more powerful and politically driven forces such as AfriForum.

Farmers are the "breadbasket of the country", they say. Ignoring the incorrect use of that term, it seems there is a sideshow of folks who want to use this campaign to say South Africa can't afford to lose white farmers because they are the ones who feed us. These farmers have thousands of black farm workers, also feeding us, who are also dying, except they die hungry and landless.

What about the human aspect, the horror of these crime scenes, the suffering the victims must have endured and finding the root of the problem? This is now about how little white farmers are appreciated and regarded by government and society at large. Imagine being one of these families affected by a farm murder or attack.

Imagine being convinced by these groups that you were targeted because the ANC hates white people. How fearful you must feel anywhere you go, knowing that the blacks want to kill you because you are white. How is that helpful? A black farmer I view in the highest regard told me we need each other to make this country work for all of us.

There needn't be a distinction about who is a black or a white farmer. But it is also time that people are ready to answer tough questions around racial tensions in farming communities where the owners are white and the workers are black.

For more news your way, download The Citizen's app for iOS and Android.

This post is currently not accepting comments.