Looking back to look forward: 2021 in Review
Updated: Feb 13, 2022
Team Busting (aka the Geoffs) take a look at the year 2021 and the changes in the South African far-right as well as changes in the team. This review presents an overview as well as a way forward.
Who we are and what we’ve been up to
We’re a group of activists committed to challenging the white genocide narrative in South Africa, which is widely considered a far-right conspiracy theory. To be clear, we do not deny that farm murders and farm attacks are happening. These are heinous crimes that we all condemn in the strongest terms.
Like many South Africans, we have always been concerned about the high levels of violent crime in our country. Over the years, we saw an increase in claims particularly on social media that the violent crimes committed against the white farming community were part of a genocide aimed at exterminating them. Upon further investigation, there were many discrepancies regarding these claims and it was clear that the white genocide narrative was distorting farm murders to further a dangerous far-right agenda. In April 2018, a group of us joined forces and started a Facebook page called ‘Busting the Myth of White Genocide’ where we would fact-check these claims and counter the far-right narrative threatening racial harmony in our country.
It’s important to distinguish farm murders from white genocide, because while one is the murder of a person of any race or vocation that occurs on a farm or smallholding, the other is a conspiracy theory disputed by numerous academics and criminologists. The white genocide narrative claims that the murder of white victims in South Africa is part of some clandestine plan by the ANC government (or other groups) to target and exterminate the white race in this country. There is no conclusive evidence to support this claim. To hold this theory, you would have to ignore all the other murders of non-white people in rural areas and focus exclusively on the murder of one specific race. This is cherry-picking data, a big no-no to any statistician and paints a false picture of crime in South Africa.
In a country with some of the highest murder rates in the world, it is clear that farm murders are part of the greater crime wave that’s affecting our country and not some secret genocide. Violent murders affect South Africans of different races, not just white people. Claims that white people or even white farmers more specifically are murdered at a higher rate have been disproven. Yes, we know about the brutality and torture that happens during a small percentage of farm attacks, but sadly such extreme violence is not unique to farm murders and is actually common in many other crimes across our country. The white genocide narrative pushes an unfounded racist myth that does a disservice to the farming community – particularly the white farming community, who by being implicated in these narratives become further alienated from the rest of the country. In dispelling the white genocide myth and presenting accurate statistics, we are helping the rural community tell their story and situate farm murders as part of a broader crime wave that should not be ignored.
As the only group (to our knowledge) solely committed to countering this conspiracy theory online, we came under attack from the often militant far-right who couldn’t stand to see someone questioning their side of things (talk about ‘cancel culture’). Anticipating these online attacks, owing to our experiences as activists, we kept our identities hidden in order to protect ourselves and our families. Throughout 2018, the far-right tried and failed to find our real identities and so they began falsely accusing random individuals of being Busting admins. These innocent people were subjected to death threats and suffered tremendously from heavy doxxing. To date, our haters still haven’t identified any members of our team. It seems that they have lost interest in trying to find our real identities, at least for now.
The members of our team all have full-time jobs but we still found ways to share the work of fact-checking and myth-busting from time to time. However this past year, virtually every member of our small team has had to step back for a while either because of work or other projects. With the Busting office being left mostly vacant for weeks, we weren’t able to post as frequently as we used to.
In this time away, we all took some time to think about this Busting project of ours and decide on what we could change, adapt and improve on. This is a project we are all deeply passionate about and we all want to continue doing. We also have a strong sense of duty, as the need for a page such as ours in this day and age is as great as ever. We have some great ideas and big plans for the future but before we get to that, we first need to recap the issue itself, as well as look at what our friends on the white genocide wagon have been pushing in 2021.
The South African Far-right and White Genocide
White supremacy is an international phenomenon. The white genocide myth is part of a greater global conspiracy among white supremacists convinced that their racial dominance/power is under threat from the ‘lesser races’ who are working to destroy them. It is an ideology that is built on fear and hate of the groups it deems as inferior yet ironically posing an existential threat to their supposedly superior white race.
In South Africa, this fear has been used by the South African far-right to establish control of South Africa’s white population. The policy of Apartheid was intended to secure white domination of South African society as well as political and economic structures. The National Party that ruled South Africa from 1948 to 1994 began to realise that the subjugation of the majority throughout Apartheid was not sustainable. So they began to find ways of making compromises with the non-white population.
The die-hard racists saw any attempt to reform Apartheid as a betrayal of the white race and the beginning of the end of everything they knew and loved in South Africa. So in the mid-1970s through to the modern-day, numerous (often militant), far-right movements rose in opposition to this supposed weakening of white domination by the National Party’s compromises to non-white people. This included such infamous groups as the AWB (Afrikaner resistance movement), the BWB (White resistance movement) and the Boeremag (Boer force). These were terrorist organisations that planted bombs and attacked innocent civilians to preserve Apartheid. They were convinced that a white genocide was either imminent or underway and saw their actions as an act of retaliation to attacks on the white race.
The far-right’s hateful rhetoric and extreme violence are often unpalatable to most white people, even those on the right. Thus many of these explicitly racist organizations have declined over the years or been forced to rebrand themselves. The AWB is still active in South Africa as of 2021. After being struck by a series of humiliating events resulting in a massive decline in membership and prestige, the AWB also went through some major restructuring. They are now a ‘self-defence’ organization run by old veterans in brown khakis. Gone are the days of Nazi-style AWB marches, their gatherings now resemble a family-friendly shooting club offering arms training to white Tannies and Karens so they can protect themselves from criminals (and maybe genocide). When it comes to farm murders, we’ve seen AWB members at a few STOP FARM MURDERS protests in the past, but it seems that at the end of 2021 they are more like the old SA flag; an Apartheid symbol of hate confined to backyard braais and dust-covered walls.
While it is easy to make jokes about them, the AWB and their ideology still pose a real threat to a democratic multi-racial South Africa. Their belief in white power and racial supremacy is still alive and well with many passing it on their children or readying themselves for a race war.
The South African ‘White Genocide’ movement and the ‘Stop Farm Murders’ campaign
The ‘Stop Farm Murders’ movement has its links to the AWB and the South African far-right. The most telling indication of this is that they focus exclusively on the murder of white people, even though most murders in South Africa are of people of other races. The use of white crosses to symbolise the lives lost to farm murders is something that the AWB also did – which reinforces this racial exclusivity. The witkruis (white cross) monument, where thousands of crosses are planted in memory of farm murder victims only features crosses for white victims, even though farm murders affect South Africans of all races. The late Eugène Terre’Blanche, founding leader of the AWB, was killed on his farm in April 2010 and famously had a cross planted at the Witkruis monument with his name.
When we started our page in early 2018, there were countless ‘Stop Farm Murders’ pages that had been promoting the white genocide narrative for years. It’s surprising that some of these pages with their hundreds of thousands of followers noticed our small page almost immediately and began to attack us. Perhaps this points to the fact that their fragile narrative cannot withstand much pushback.
As of 2021, many of these pages have gone dormant. Some of them were started as far back as 2008. There’s generally been a lesser focus on white genocide of late, as people on the right seem more concerned about COVID and vaccines, but the issue still elicits strong emotions predominantly from older white South Africans who lived through Apartheid.
Over the years, we’ve had so-called farm murder ‘activists’ who have devoted their lives to spreading the white genocide gospel. These people are often more committed to sensationalizing the problem of farm murders rather than presenting actual statistics or reporting on true events. This sensationalism is presented in the manner in which they focus on a few brutal farm murders and keep re-telling these stories over and over, or how they distort the events of various stories to make the murder seem more violent. They also share gory pictures of white victims, often without the permission of the victims’ families. Imagine the pain it causes to a grieving person to see pictures of their loved one’s suffering circulating on the internet without their permission.
Far-right sensationalist Katie Hopkins and Canadian alt-right pseudo-reporter Lauren Southern were amongst prominent far-right figures to come to South Africa to make white genocide documentaries. That was back in 2017 when the issue had become so sensationalized that Donald Trump infamously tweeted about it.
There has been no response or return from these fake reporters since the release of their documentaries. It’s as if they completely forgot that a white genocide was underway. Katie shed tears the last time she was here and left convinced that a genocide was taking place. Now in 2021, she seems to have completely forgotten about South Africa, effectively abandoning her beloved Boers in their genocide!
As for Lauren Southern’s Farmlands (which we have already debunked) a massive bombshell was dropped by Caolan Robertson who helped in the filming and production of Farmlands back in 2018. Having worked closely with Southern and other prominent figures in the far-right, Robertson later became disillusioned and left the movement. He disclosed that during the making of the documentary, they (Lauren and her team) knew that there was no white genocide in South Africa and only said it to “appease the right” even though it was a lie.
Following Trump’s loss of the American presidency, there was a pervasive feeling of hopelessness among those white South African genocide believers who wanted Trump to swoop in and ‘intervene’. Many began talking about the need for self-reliance and not waiting on anybody to come and save them.
One example was Willem Petzer, a far-right social media personality who has been pushing the white genocide narrative for years. He started out on YouTube and has consequently branched out into Facebook, Twitter and even Discord. He has been trying to take his propaganda to new levels, experimenting with new mediums. He’s tried his hand at making documentaries on subject matter such as the town of Orania.
In 2021, he was much less active on the white genocide propaganda overall, suggesting that maybe the issue was never really as serious as he made it out to be. These days, he releases grainy vlogs often with bad lighting complaining about white victimhood, even though on average white South Africans still enjoy the highest living standards in the country and arguably the world.
Through 2021, Petzer has only focused on one single farm murder – that of Brendin Horner, a 21-year-old stock farmer from the Free State who was tragically murdered. Last year, Petzer was very active on social media, mobilizing the Boere to gather in Senekal where the suspects arrested in connection to Horner’s murder were being tried. The protest in Senekal later turned into a riot as hundreds of farmers went on a rampage assaulting journalists and then stormed the courthouse in an attempt to find the suspects and take the law into their own hands. Petzer spent a large part of this year covering this one murder and trying to help André Pienaar, the only farmer arrested at the Senekal riot for setting fire to a police vehicle. It’s amazing how Petzer always complained so loudly about violent protestors destroying public property, yet did everything he could to protect this one farmer out of hundreds who was arrested for vandalizing police and court property.
Another notable character in this white genocide fiasco was Jason Bartlett. Jason, a South African art auctioneer living in the USA burst onto the scene in early 2020 claiming that he was going to walk from Dallas, Texas to Washington DC to tell US President Donald Trump to stop the ‘Boer extinction’. For this bold mission, Jason styled himself as the ‘Buffalo Boer’. It made no sense why he wanted to walk to DC to tell Trump about the South African farm murders, when Trump had already tweeted about it in 2017.
So why would a man walk 1350 miles all to tell the POTUS about something he already knew? Simple, Jason wanted people to give him money to pay for his American visa application. We got some inside information from one of Jason’s disgruntled followers about his little scheme. Apparently, the buffalo knew well before that he wasn’t going to meet Trump but kept the big lie about meeting The Don going, so old people back home would keep sending him money. Jason eventually got to DC, but he never met Trump and after receiving thousands of dollars in donations, he vanished. He literally moved to a different state and closed down all his social media profiles. He even closed down his ‘Boer Extinction’ website!
We doubt that Jason actually believed there was a real Boer genocide underway. If he did, would he have just abandoned the Boers in their slaughter? Genocide is the most serious threat to a group of people. One doesn’t simply hang their hat and move on. In the end, Jason abandoned everything he claimed to fight for, betraying those who believed in him. His walk achieved nothing except lining his pockets and spreading blatant lies about South Africa.
This goes to show that this whole white genocide and/or Stop Farm Murders movement is a lucrative source of income, something other grifters seem to have picked up. We have not forgotten about this fraudster. We always suspected that Jason would delete his accounts after he made his money so we’ve kept records from his little venture.
Another big change this year was Scott Balson’s annoying YouTube channel Loving Life was closed down. Scott was a Rhodesian-born pensioner living in Australia, where he spent his days preaching that South Africa would be collapsing in the next few weeks/months (we’ve all heard that one before) and pushing mostly unfounded anecdotal tales of white genocide. Before the demise of his YouTube channel, Scott had been getting into fights with other right-wing vloggers and even hosted Jason Bartlett on his show a number of times. He started a whole new platform and last we checked is still struggling to get the bulk of his boomer followers to sign up to it.
There are other self-styled farm murder ‘activists’ who are still in the game. Debbie Els, a staunch anti-vaxxer and Petrus Phakamile Sitho, a token black activist known for showing up to farm murder protests with his arms draped in metal chains. Both these characters are still very active on social media promoting unfounded conspiracy theories and pushing false statistics, which is disappointing as their shenanigans only serve to delegitimize crimes experienced on farms or in rural areas as a serious problem.
An activist should always have the right statistics on hand to explain their cause. Considering the disregard for statistics and the over-the-top performances Debbie and Petrus are known to indulge in, it’s clear that their initiatives have less to do with raising awareness and more to do with getting gullible, racist white people to throw money at them. Seeing as this has become their bread and butter, we expect these two to continue with their grift for some time to come.
Bittereiers (aka Bittereinders)
These new kids on the block, led by Steve Hofmeyr's own spawn, Devon, hatched on to the scene in early 2021. According to their own social media statements, they are an organization committed to fighting to restore Afrikaner culture (which has never been under threat in the first place). They are known to mobilize gangs of angry middle-aged white men to fight the EFF or any other group they deem as the enemy. Their street-based antics resemble the infamous far-right group The Proud Boys in the USA and their brown shirts seem to pay homage to Nazi Stormtroopers.
We have been keeping a close eye on this gang and observed how they stir hate and mobilize brawls, all while pretending to be the ‘peaceful ones'. In October, they tried to organize a farm murder protest by defiantly nailing homemade white crosses into their backyard lawn. They also uploaded multiple group shots of their bitter-faced selves with broad arms crossed over their beer bellies. Like Petrus and his chains, the whole Bittereiers project is just an act to convince the white community that these okes are super serious about farm murders. But all this noise and flexing does nothing to actually stop farm murders. No amount of posturing, posing or insulting Malema will ever stop real crimes. This isn’t a popularity contest, these are real families suffering terrible crimes.
After hyping up their most recent farm murder protest, the Bittereiers only uploaded this video (below) of themselves blocking a busy Pretoria road during rush hour. It appears as if the motorists had been rushing to work only to have a group of people blocking a public road in protest of an issue we all recognize to be somewhat disingenuous – if not outright racist. The police didn’t want to intervene, so naturally, the motorists got incensed. The only reason they uploaded this short clip from a whole day’s event was because it shows predominantly black motorists angrily screaming at the ‘poor white protestors’.
This incident had absolutely nothing to do with farm murders, it had everything to do with vilifying black people as the enemy and portraying the white radicals as the victims, even though it was the Bittereiers who set up this spectacle.
After this incident, the Bittereiers went for some time without posting anything else or arranging any other events. They later claimed that they’ve been so busy growing that they didn’t have the time to post. We’ve seen a number of far-right movements like these built on the rhetoric of white victimhood come before. Remember Red October? History has taught us that these movements are often not sustainable. People eventually grow tired of their noise when they realize that the people leading them are either running out of ideas or are more concerned about themselves than the cause. That is what happened to the AWB and Red October. It’s highly likely that the Bittereirers will go down this same path. Our concern is the amount of damage they will have caused to social cohesion before their inevitable demise. One last note on our beloved Bittereiers: Have you ever noticed that the people at the helm of these narratives own security companies? Well, Devon Hofmeyr is one of those people. Funny coincidence that the security industry thrives on fear, so why should he care if that fear is based on racial hatred and ignorance? We are not saying crime is not a real problem in South Africa, but linking everyday crime to a much more nefarious race-baiting narrative is both dangerous and disingenuous. Again, the narrative of white victimhood is lucrative in many ways.
Finally, here’s our outlook for our page and the future ahead. The White Genocide myth is still very popular and is still spreading among the local and international right-wingers. We’ve been expanding our work beyond Facebook to other platforms where the far-right operates, and what we are seeing out there is terrifying. The threat posed by the radical right is still very real and with the proliferation of COVID-related conspiracy theories we’ve been seeing the gap between the extreme right and the moderate right grow thinner. This is very concerning as it uses narratives based on vaccine skepticism to create a direct pipeline between typically moderate ideas like alternative or herbal medicine and dangerous anti-semitic conspiracies such as global white genocide.
This is the same pipeline that radicalized terrorists like Dylann Roof in the United States, Brenton Tarrant in New Zealand, and Anders Behring Breivik in Norway to commit atrocious acts of terror. We are deeply concerned about the possibility of factions of white South Africans becoming more radicalized online by the white genocide myth and this leading to racially motivated attacks here in South Africa. This has already happened before with the Witwolf who went on a racist killing spree in 1988 and Johan Nel during the Skierlik massacre in 2009.
In the year 2022, we are planning to expand the depth of our research into the history of the South African far-right movement and its links to the farm murders movement. We are already working on longer articles in both digital and printable format to help equip more people to counter the false white genocide narrative that is causing so much division in our country.
We will continue to post on Facebook and share occasional Tweets but as we are short-staffed at the moment, we will be focusing more on longer pieces and building a formidable Busting the Myth of White Genocide directory on our website. This virtual space is already becoming a vital go-to source so anyone anywhere can fight white supremacy and warn the people around them about right-wing misinformation. If resources allow, we might even launch an app in future to make our content more accessible, but as for now, this website will be our main focus.
We have also been honoured to have a group of loyal followers supporting us every step of the way. The work we do has always relied on our allies and friends to disseminate. We wish to thank all our loyal supporters who have kept us going. It’s always encouraging to know that we are not alone. The only way we can defeat this dangerous racist myth is by working together, so stay tuned and tell your family, friends and pets to follow us too.
As we go into 2022 with a solid picture of what is happening in the world of white genocide, let us brace ourselves for another year of anti-racism, fiery braai-side debates and fighting misinformation through the power of the internet. Be confident in the knowledge that history and facts are on our side.
There is more to come, so watch this space!
- Team Busting