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Are farm murders underplayed by the media and met with silence?

There is a widespread perception that farm murders are underplayed by the media, that farm murders can only be read about on social media, that they are met with all-round silence. As if to signify a government coverup. Examples:

The idea is so prevalent that farm murders are met with total media silence, that one of the largest facebook pages on the topic of white genocide on facebook is named "Breaking the Silence About South Africa". It is run by a woman from the United Kingdom.

When we delved into this mystery to discover what the truth is, we found that farm murders are in fact the opposite of under reported. We looked at the findings of researchers and professors as well as a case study of our own where we manually counted the amount of news articles for two similar incidents of murder that occurred in the same week. Let's start with the findings of Afriforum's deputy CEO Ernst Roets. His investigation into the media coverage of farm murders wherein Roets found that 70.9% of farm murders (in their study years) were covered in the press. We imagine he would prefer if every case of a farm murder was reported.

When compared to the reporting rate for the murder of woman in South Africa, Doctor Nechama Brodie (Author of Femicide in South Africa) found that fewer than 20% of femicides committed in South Africa are covered by the news media. Just to give some figures for those who are not aware, in South Africa during the 2018/19 financial year there were 47 Farm Murders recorded. (Source) Over the same period there were 2771 woman murdered - that translates to around 7 woman murdered every day. (Source) Therefore farm murders are receiving extremely high media coverage in comparison to other categories of murder that are far higher in numbers.

Next we looked at the publication by Carolyn E. Holmes PH.D called "Victimhood for an Audience - Portrayals of Extra-Lethal Violence and their Utility for Self-Identified Victims". On page 13 we read the following: "Indeed, preliminary evidence suggests that the Afrikaans-medium media tend to cover farm violence more frequently and using more extreme terms (Jansen, 2017). Afrikaans media also covers stories of farm violence and farm murders more frequently than English-language media in South Africa.

This increased coverage is not correlated with an increase in the absolute number of farm

murders. Between 2013 and 2018, even with a growing population, the absolute number of farm murders declined somewhat. English-language media articles from News24, the largest news conglomerate in South Africa, declined over that same time frame. But in both activist media, specifically the Afriforum-hosted sites of MarulaMedia and AfriforumNuus, and in the Afrikaans press, stories about farm murders became more frequent, even as the incidents themselves did not. At the same time, self-reported membership in Afriforum grew by more than 160% (Fig. 4)."

Graph from "Victimhood For an Audience" That is very interesting, evidence shows the articles on farm murders increased despite the actual farm murders decreasing over the same period. Elmien (WJ) du Plessis, an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law at the North-West University had the following to say on the topic of farm murders coverage:

We wanted to see for ourselves just how high the coverage on farm murders is in South Africa, so we did a manual count of the coverage of two incidents that happened days apart from eachother. An article by IOL from the 3rd of August 2020 mentioned: “Two families – one black and one white – died violently in South Africa last week. Mfuleni in the Western Cape and Hartswater in the North West, 1 061km apart, shared a common grief. " Two murders, both equally tragic wherein each case three family members were slain. One was a farm murder and one took place in an Urban area.

The Kebe Family Triple murder coverage: Nomaphelo Kebe, 45, her daughter, Wendy, 23, and son Sive, 17, were tragically gunned down execution-style in Mfuleni in the Western Cape, before their family car was taken and later found gutted. The daughter Wendy had actually appeared in a Daily Maverick article a year before regarding her involvement in protest action against Gender Based Violence.

Online news:




Zero Videos Found

This excludes social media posts.

Brand Family Murder Coverage (Hartswater): Retired farmer Danie Brand, 83, his wife Breggie, 73, and their daughter Elzabie, 54, tragically went missing after they were attacked on their smallholding in Hartswater, Northern Cape. Their bodies were later found in a field far from their smallholding. They had cars stolen as well as a laptop and phone. Five people have been arrested. The social media posts alleging that torture and rape occurred were officially found to be false. Online News Coverage:

27 July

27 July

28 July 28 July Dianne Kohler-Barnard:

29 July

29 July

29 July

30 July

30 July

30 July

30 July

31 July

31 July

31 July

2 Aug

2 Aug Foreign Media,zabojstwa-farmerow-w-rpa-ataki-mialy-nasilic-sie-od-poczatku-pandemii#

4 Aug

5 Aug

6 Aug

6 Aug - Mini Documentary on incident (link in youtube section)

6 Aug

7 Aug

13 Aug

14 Aug

19 Aug


News 22k views

News 18K views

Mini Documentary 35K views

News 51K views

Magazine 16K views

Vlogger 19K views

Headline: "Their Lives Mattered": Brand family decries Govt's silence after farm attack We tallied up over 70+ articles on the Hartswater murders. We hope this sheds light on the coverage that farm murders receive in SA. Please contact us if we missed any additional articles.

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