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Q: Are white farmer's murders more brutal than murders of other races?

Updated: Jul 2, 2020

Warning: this article contains written accounts of torture and extreme violence.

There is a perception that white people (Especially white farmers) are treated worse than when black people are victims of crime. The perception is that criminals are somehow more "lenient" on black people. So we are challenged to present here examples of black people falling victim to these extreme acts of violence in South Africa, the kind of headlines we have been conditioned to associate with white farm murders such as:

“Family Tortured with hot iron”,

“Husband forced to watch wife being raped”,

"Hung by feet with wire and stabbed to death", "Raped and killed with foreign object" (Keeping in mind that 95% of farm attacks are not this extreme - sources provided at bottom of page)

And here are the examples, we added headlines worded the same way as in farm murder news articles:

Farm Manager Tankiso Isaac Pharoe and his wife were attacked on the farm where he worked. The attackers overpowered the couple and dragged them to a field where Tankiso had his hands tied behind his back and was hung by his feet with wire. They then stabbed him to death while he was tied up and raped his wife. Luckily she survived. Link:

A family in Marikana, Soshanguve was tortured by a gang of five armed robbers. Their home was broken into by the gang. One of the thugs held the mother's baby by the leg and swung her in the air threatening to kill her if they didn't give all their money. The thugs switched on a hot iron and proceeded to burn and torture three of the family members bodies. The torture went on from 11pm until about 3am in the morning.


A family in Umlazi were massacred by two men during the night. Nompilo Mzila‚ 27‚ said the two gunmen killed her sister Hlengiwe while her one-year-old nephew clung to the 35-year-old’s chest. Mzila saw her mother being executed while lying next to her in the bed before she was dragged into a passage and raped. The horrific ordeal took place at her home in the township’s G-Section. The attackers got into the house through a bathroom window after murdering her brothers Lungisani and Mlungisi‚ who were asleep in an outside room. Link:

Duduzile Zozo (26) was raped and killed in Thokoza, Gauteng. Her body was found in her next-door neighbour’s yard with a toilet brush pushed up her vagina.

Polokwane businessman, Malesela William Kgadima, aged 45, was sleeping in his house when he was attacked and robbed by unknown suspects. Investigations revealed that Kgadima was tortured and strangled to death, before having his hands and legs tied up.


Thapelo Makhutle was brutally killed in Kuruman in the Northern Cape. His throat was slit to the point where he was virtually beheaded, his genitals were mutilated and his severed testicles were forced into his mouth

Link: Then there was the torture and murder of Thembelani Qwakanisa in Grahamstown. Forensic pathologist Dr Stuart Dwyer's detailed and shocking evidence: "Dwyer found extensive and varied injuries, most inflicted by blunt force, including “multiple contusions, abrasions, fractures, lacerations and burns” on various parts of his body. Various objects including a pickaxe handle, a hammer, a stick and a blunt panga had been used. Qwakanisa’s teeth were pulled out with pliers, he was forced to drink boiling water and a stapler was used on his private parts, among other acts." Link:


These references serve as examples. It is possible to quote many similar incidents that left even hardened crime investigators reeling. As most victims of crime in South Africa are black and colored there would obviously be cases of black and colored people falling victim to extreme violence dealt from criminals. Now we are expecting one of two responses from the right wing at this point: "You think you are so clever?? All you have done is CHERRY PICK all the most brutal murders spanning over many years and presented a handful here to shock us into thinking this is the norm?"

Great observation! That's EXACTLY what Afriforum and the VF+ do. They take a handful of extreme murders picked from a timespan of many years. Presented to shock you into thinking these murders are the norm and represent most farm attacks. They then repeat the stories over and over again, bringing them up purely as a tool to tap into people's emotions. Example from Afriforum's Report to the South African Human Rights Commission for the National hearing relating to safety and security in farming communities:

The difference being we provided our list of gruesome incidents to provide perspective, not to take them to the United Nations or to get new memberships. The next thing the rightwing will likely say is: "Congratulations. All your list did is show what we all know. That the blacks are savage barbarians" No. Criminals of any race are capable of brutal acts. We live in a violent country with a violent history. Criminals are brutal here. South Africa is still recovering from a dark history where people of color were systematically brutalized by the apartheid state and their security police force. Here's an excerpt from One Long Scream - Jacqueline Rose on trauma and justice in South Africa: "The day he spoke out was the 31st anniversary of the state-ordered murder of the anti-apartheid activists from the Eastern Cape known as the Cradock Four: his father, Fort Calata, Matthew Goniwe, Sparro Mkonto and Sicelo Mhlauli. The men were tortured by blowtorch, and stabbed multiple times. The fingers on Fort Calata’s left hand were severed; on one severed finger was his wife’s wedding band, which she had removed because her fingers had swollen – she was six months pregnant. This wasn’t merely torture, the activist Allan Boesak recalled, but a ‘demonstration’. The attackers – it is believed – were from the Security Police, specifically the notorious ‘Hammer Unit’, whose members used their own personal weapons and would drive into the townships ‘dressed as kaffirs, with our faces and heads blackened’. " The apartheid Security Police were notorious for their brutal torture techniques that they used on prisoners. For example the name "Vlakplaas" sends shivers down the spines of millions of South Africans. Security Police commander Dirk Coetzee's death squad would kidnap anti-Apartheid activists and bring them to the Vlakplaas farm, where they'd be tortured for information. They would also recruit Askaris (Black traitors) sometimes by torturing them. Askaris would then be part of the death squad and help kill black activists who fought against the apartheid government. Apart from the Security Police training Askaris to kill and torture, there was also Operation Marion in 1986 where the Apartheid government trained black Inkatha supporters to become death squads for deployment in South Africa to fight the ANC and UDF in bloody black on black violence. These are just a few dark chapters from our countries long historical battle with white supremacy. A clinical psychologist named Mthetho Tshemese, noted in a TEDx presentation that South Africa is collectively suffering from a severe psychological trauma.

There will be some people reading this article that used to think that "only black people are capable of brutal acts of crime". Then there are some people who believed that "Mostly white people are victims of brutal acts of crime". We wrote this piece to dispel these myths. The notion that black people are somehow treated more lenient than white victims of crime is false. We are all in the same boat. We must not let the "White rights groups" divide us with these (clever) tactics. The sooner South Africans begin to understand that any race can fall victim to our very serious violent crime problem - the better.

Sources: Link - Afriforum report on Farm Attack Brutality:

Link - Farm murders are not ordinary crime - Pieter Groenewald:

More examples of violent incidents affecting all races: Black people are the majority of crime victims: According to Lizette Lancaster from the Institute for Security Studies, “Whites are far less likely to be murdered than their black or colored counterparts.” Lancaster also said that in roughly 86.9 percent of murders that are reported the victims are Afrikan, whereas as only 1.8 percent are white.

Sidenote - Statistics and facts on torture in South Africa: How often do farm attacks contain torture?

2016/17 Financial year contained 357 farm attacks, where 3.6% incidents contained torture. 2019 Calendar year contained 552 farm attacks, where 4% of incidents contained torture. (Source: Afriforum's Farm attack and murder report 2017 and 2019)

Comparison to house robberies:

The Institute for Security Studies report "Violent crime on farms and smallholdings in South Africa - Policy Brief 2018" found that farm attacks are relatively similar to attacks in urban areas, such as house or business robberies (both of which are sub-categories of ‘robbery with aggravated circumstances’). University of South Africa crime researcher, Dr Rudolph Zinn interviewed house robbers and created a report profiling them. The study, which is backed up by the police who have conducted similar research, revealed that 13% of house robbers would torture their victims using anything from molten plastic to boiling water and hot irons to ensure that the homeowner hands over all of his valuables such as cash and jewellery. What are the hotspots for home invasions (2018):

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