Updated: Feb 21
Warning: This article contains photos of multiple bruised and injured elderly people and a bathroom with bloodstains.
In South Africa, there is a phenomenon you have likely heard of called farm murders, or PLAASMOORDE as it is known in Afrikaans.
Farm murders are a highly charged, emotional topic in South Africa. It is one that has caused a great deal of divisive politics and propaganda. Our research and publications seek to provide proper context to the phenomenon of farm murders and the narrative surrounding it
We must begin by saying that this article is not intended to undermine or discredit the victims of these crimes. Nobody deserves to be a victim of crime or to die a violent death. The victims of farm murders deserve our sympathy as much as the thousands of other murder victims all over South Africa, which has a a murder rate of around 20 000 per annum. The issue we are interrogating is the false, racialised narrative spun around farm murders. We will discuss how farm murders became the BIGGEST topic regarding crime in the country, how it became politicised, and how it was hijacked for selfish purposes. South Africa is a country with a high murder rate per capita, but of all the murders that take place in this country, farm murders receive the most press coverage. Up to 70.9% of Farm Murder incidents involving white victims make it into the mainstream media and many of these incidents are even reported on by overseas news outlets.
Over the course of the last few years, we saw multiple media outlets framing the farm murder protests, such as the one that took place in Senekal in 2020, as a threat that could spark a “race war”. The media should never have propagated this twisted narrative. It only adds fuel to the far-right claim that farm murders are a “White versus Black” or "Boer versus EFF” phenomenon. In reality, the issue of “farm murders” or “murders committed in rural areas” affects all rural persons in South Africa and is perpetrated by individual criminals and crime syndicates. The very term “farm murders” is a highly misleading and distorted one, perhaps intentionally so.
At this point, we have already lost a portion of readers. As we said stated earlier, this is a highly charged topic. Many people have consumed so much misinformation, propaganda, and biased narratives, they will not listen to anything contrary to the beliefs they have already formed, no matter how respectfully presented.
Neverthetheless, our work continues unabated.
Farmers, farmworkers and those living on farms do indeed deserve protection from criminals. However, we need to separate the rational, reasonable calls for rural safety from the irrational fear-mongering and exploitation of the issue of “farm murders” by groups with ulterior motives.
Farm murders are being framed as politically motivated murders targeting white people as part of a planned "White Genocide" to drive South African whites off of their land.
Example of these irrational claims include the following:
South Africa has a high overall murder rate – the ninth highest in the world. Farm murders are merely part of the greater phenomenon of violent crime in South Africa. The reasons for this high crime rate are numerous and complex, but what is certain is that historical and socio-economic factors play a significant role. Firstly, South Africa has the highest income inequality on earth. Secondly, the country possesses a violent history of brutalising people of colour during the last 400 years of colonialism and Apartheid. Has this normalised extreme violence, especially against people of colour and other minorities? As mentioned, The country sees around 20,000 homicides annually – most of these victims are black or so-called “coloured”. For example, in the City of Cape Town, which is seen as one of the murder capitals of the world, we still see majority white, black and coloured suburbs. Where people live in the Western Cape is still heavily drawn upon racial lines. This is a legacy of Apartheid’s segregation policies.
If we examine the number of murders in various Cape Town precincts over the 2019/20 Financial Year, we can see the aforementioned inequality in terms of the areas in which the most the murders take place: Majority White Precincts: Rondebosch: 1 Murder Claremont: 2 Murders
Fish Hoek: 1 Murder
Brackenfell: 5 Murders Majority Black Precincts:
Khayelitsha: 251 Murders
Nyanga: 185 Murders
Mufuleni: 165 Murders Gugulethu: 155 Murders (Source)
"The fact of the matter is that black South Africans are being killed in the same violent way whites are, but they are being killed at far greater numbers. " - Martin Van Staden, Editor in Chief of Being Libertarian, Rational Standard, and Think Liberty
We need to emphasise that the vast majority of people being murdered in South Africa are black. The same criminals and syndicates who rob and murder black people in their homes in rural areas, also target farms or smallholdings where white people live, either on the edge of cities (semi-rural) or further out in rural areas. This is because farms are seen as islands of wealth within a sea of poverty and the majority of farms and agricultural holdings (72%) in South Africa happen to be owned by white people.
They are called "so-called" farm attacks because South African statutory law does not define a "farm attack" as a specific crime. This is a very important point which we will return to later in the article. Now let's focus on the incorrect narrative that has been spun around the phenomenon of farm attacks. There are many people in South Africa and abroad that incorrectly believe in the "white genocide" conspiracy. This conspiracy is reworded in various forms and is always centered around whites being violently oppressed as a sort of "reverse apartheid".
The main pillars of the myth: Boere oppressed physically: When a white person falls victim to murder it is framed as a hate crime motivated by racial hatred "where nothing was stolen" and the attackers were supposedly only motivated by an enjoyment of raping and torturing white people. Boere oppressed economically: Programmes launched by the South African government to reconcile South Africans and redress the inequalities of Apartheid are framed as "reverse apartheid" and "systematic oppression" against whites e.g people wrongly believe black economic empowerment programmes are a "spiteful revenge on whites" and that white squatter camps (informal settlements) are filling up with white engineers and veterinarians - and other qualified whites who can't find jobs due to their skin color - around the country because of this. Both stem from a white victimhood complex. It's a fact that white South Africans are the least likely to be murdered than their black or colored counterparts.  It's a fact that white South Africans enjoy the lowest unemployment figures of any race in South Africa. 
No credible organization anywhere in the world has found evidence of an ongoing white genocide in South Africa (Link). This has not stopped the rapid spread of the conspiracy, reaching as far as former US president Donald Trump and Australian Home affairs minister Peter Dutton. Donald Trump famously tweeted in 2018:
This tweet painted a picture of Zimbabwe style "government land seizures and killings" something which never occurred. Earlier that year Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton had considered fast-tracking visas for white South African farmers but was denied as Australia's foreign minister Julie Bishop refused to back Peter Dutton’s claim the group deserved “special treatment” over alleged persecution. This was a very sobering and scary sign of how a rightwing conspiracy was no longer a "fringe belief" but now creeping dangerously closer to the mainstream. We remember the case of a conservative US citizen who took in and sponsored a family of four Afrikaners who claimed to be fleeing persecution from the "White Genocide"in 2019. The poor American man later put up a video telling how he was scammed by the family, he spent over $30,000 in eleven months on them. (Video - Contains Strong Language) 2018 Was the year in which we started our facebook page to counter the white genocide narrative. We've seen how the myth of white genocide spreads and how their posts spread virally. Those with nefarious agendas are able to weave together their narrative by using social media strategies which play on the way our brains work.
Because of online “farm murders” Facebook pages and groups, Twitter accounts and blogs, each farm murder is not viewed as an isolated event. They are all viewed as connected and on a day when no farm murder takes place an incident from a previous year will be posted to keep the fear and outrage at boiling point.
Note the dates in the tweet, Ian Cameron of Afriforum tweets images from a 2014 incident in the year 2020. For what reason did he tweet this? One could have tweeted images of the equally bloody bathroom murder scene photographs from the Oscar Pistorius murder case and it would have been just as pointless.
Each farm attack case is charged in terms of outrage and emotion because of what came before, each story compounding to give the impression that unconnected events are connected, that all farm murders are extremely brutal and that there is a relentless onslaught on white South Africans by black people.
The human brain seeks to simplify, form patterns and make connections to make sense of our world. It also prefers to skim headlines and not read fine print. It seeks out the information that supports your beliefs and worldview and blocks out the information that does not. Even when farm murders decrease no focus is given to this fact by these white genocide pages and groups because the narrative must be that it is an ever-increasing threat and crisis. For example, most people don’t know that in January of 2020 there were a total of ZERO farm murders.
Let us show you two commonly used tools by propagandists which we will call the cherry basket and the magnifying glass.
The Cherry Basket: Just like going through rows of cherry bushes and choosing the shiniest cherries you desire for your basket, right-wingers are cherry picking the absolute worst/goriest farm murder incidents spanning over many years and pretending that these specific incidents represent ALL farm murders or even the average farm murder. Incidents that occurred in the past a total of one time are often added to the story selection as if they happen regularly, e.g. “EVERY DAY FARMERS CHILDREN ARE BEING BOILED TO DEATH!”.
Torture occurs in less than 5% of all farm attacks and that’s from Afriforum’s own statistics for 2019. Propagandists know that torture is infrequent in farm attacks so they add extra untrue details of mutilation and torture into incidents where they did not occur in order to make them more sensational and go extra-viral. Examples of embellishments include:
· The Hartswater incident – People made claims of body mutilation and rape. Police dismissed these false claims, the family of the victims also issued a statement.
· The Weenen incident – right-wing vlogger Willem Petzer claimed the pregnant woman was tortured. False.
Once the farm murders crowd found out the woman was actually Muslim and was not tortured, the posts and tweets did not reach the same level of "viralness" as when they were initially posted.
Here's an example of a typical "basket":
"On 1 December 2010 the Potgieter family was killed on their farm in the Free State Province. Attie Potgieter (40) was stabbed 151 times, while his wife, Wilna (36), and daughter, Wilmien (2), witnessed the killing. Thereafter, little Wilmien was executed in front of her mother and thrown in a box. During the clean-up of the crime scene the body was found in blood that half-filled the box. After having witnessed the brutal murder of her husband and daughter, Wilma was then also executed. A note, written in Sotho on a piece of cardboard saying "We have killed them. We are coming back", was found on the gate of the farm. On 22 October 2013 Dawid and Rallie de Villiers (both 87) were murdered on their farm in the Eastern Cape Province. The attacker(s) wrote ‘666' on the walls in the victims' blood. Their son, Dawie (53), was also on the scene. His eyes were gouged out and a machete (a sharp-edged blade) was left in his throat. He survived. These references serve as examples. It is possible to quote many similar incidents that left even hardened crime investigators reeling." - Ernst Roets, Deputy CEO of Afriforum This is an excerpt from AfriForum's Report to the South African Human Rights Commission for the National hearing relating to safety and security in farming communities, September 15, 2014. Yes the two murders and details are real, but as we said earlier most farm attacks do not resemble these particularly brutal cases of extra-lethal violence. The report was made in 2014, Ernst listed a case from 2013 and then one from 3 years before. It is clear that he was looking for the most shocking cases spanning over years to characterize the greater phenomenon of farm murders as a constant extreme gore-fest that is almost satanic in nature. Cherry picking cases that would shock Afriforum's supporter base of mostly white conservative Christian Afrikaners. There is no evidence to show that the average farm attack in South Africa is more brutal than the average home invasion anywhere else in South Africa but this is the point Ernst was trying to drive home with this barrage of gory details.
And it's worked. Believers of this narrative will often say that farm murders are "unique" due to the brutality of all of them and believe every farm attack is extremely violent and like something from a horror film. Those same people will then challenge you to name a single incident where a black person was brutally murdered or tortured as they believe it only happens to white people.
"One characteristic of South African crime, which sets it apart from crime in many other countries with high crime rates, is its often excessively violent nature (Du Preez 2013, 187; Steinberg 2001, 1). Any available evidence suggesting that the average farm attack or farm murder is more violent than the average assault or murder occurring elsewhere in the country is merely anecdotal (Du Preez 2013, 189)." - A new laager for a new South Africa
Afrikaans film and the imagined boundaries of Afrikanerdom By Adriaan Steyn Here's an example of a threat we received from Western Cape sculptor Rudolph Hough on our facebook page, who says we have been chosen to receive the death penalty. He is an example of a person who has completely digested the incorrect narrative.
Another frequently seen post which uses the method of cherry picking is the viral "white genocide gallery": Every couple of months in South Africa, since the invention of social media, a picture gallery has been doing the rounds, containing the bloodied faces of white victims of farm murders, some dead, some alive.
The photos are of various victims of violent crime gathered from separate incidents from different years. The shock effect of seeing many bloody or swollen white faces combined in one gallery or picture is meant to elicit an emotional response in the viewer. The viewer sees people who look like them who have been victims of brutality – it could be your father, your mother, your son, your daughter.
The viewers of these graphic and shocking images are hit with an emotional overload. Next they read the attached captions which are often a variation of: “These are black on white hate crimes”, “this is the white genocide of South Africa”, “the inconvenient truth of brutal farm murders” or “this is what the news refuses to report on”. No context for any of the photos is given, only highly charged words intended to call the viewer into action to sign a petition or share the post to their timeline. These kinds of posts receive massive viral spread online.
When we take a step back and have a sober and rational look at the photos in the gallery, we see they are from unrelated incidents from a timespan of many years. Not all of the incidents were farm attacks. Sometimes we find that images from films or overseas are also included in the galleries. In most of the incidents there was a response to the incident in the form of relatively quick justice being served and the perpetrators convicted.
These posts also appeal to those who have “swart gevaar” (black danger) paranoia, who share the posts to reaffirm those beliefs. It also appeals to South African expats who share the post to reaffirm why they made the difficult decision to leave South Africa for good.
This kind of strategy Is employed in various contexts by the alt-right around the world. Below you can see the same images of unrelated incidents of crime being reused and recycled to talk about the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and immigrants in Europe. In all these cases, the target audience are white people and the creator wants them to be scared of either black people, BLM protestors or Muslim immigrants. The sharers have no respect for the victims — for example, the photo of Anne Els can be seen in all three posts, a victim of a home invasion in 2014 who has had her photo circulated with various false labels and captions. Anne's incident is from 2014 and her image is being exploited in 2020.
This method of using shocking images is intended to undermine people’s support for causes as well as their empathy and respect for the groups advancing these causes. Examples we've seen: -“I used to support BLM but then I saw a photo on Facebook about how they beat up old woman” -“I used to like Muslim people but did you see how they beat up old innocent defenseless people in Sweden” -“I wasn’t going to hate the ANC but when I saw what the blacks are doing to pensioners on our farms I lost all respect for them, it’s the politicians that cause it”
-“I used to like South Africa because of Mandela but when I saw how they are killing their own white farmers I stopped supporting charities there – I only donate to Afriforum now”
The Magnifying Glass: In 2020 the Democratic Alliance (The DA, South Africa's Opposition Party) called Farm attacks a National Emergency - this was during the actual National Emergency, the pandemic. They used emotionally charged words repeatedly claiming farm attacks in 2020 are a "Scourge". There were actually more farm attacks and murders in 2019 in the first half of the year than the same period of 2020. One DA Councillor even described farms as a warzone.
The DA govern the Western Cape (The province with the extremely high murder rate from the start of the article), in 2019 there were over 1600 people of color murdered on the Cape Flats area of the Western Cape by midyear. Over the last 30 years, since 1990 there have been less than 100 farm murders in the Western Cape (Source).
The DA has gone all out for the cause of farm murders in 2020, which wouldn't be a problem if they didn't push forward so many inaccuracies, half truths and claims bordering on what we see on white genocide blogs - all of which we unpacked in this in-depth report earlier this year: (Link). This is the magnifying glass in action.
We also remember the terrible final week of July 2020, in which two triple family murders took place in South Africa, the Brand family in Hartswater in the Northern Cape and the Kebe family in Mfuleni in the Western Cape. Each family had three members murdered, but one was a farm murder and received coverage of a far greater magnitude. We counted a total of 3 mainstream media articles mentioning the Kebe family murder, whereas there were more than 70 articles mentioning the Brand family murder.
May the two families rest in peace, tragic victims of South Africa's serious problem of violent crime that affects all who live in it. Despite farm murders receiving wide media coverage there are still frequent claims that "nobody is covering it" or "the media is silent". (Link) During the latter half of 2020 it truly seemed as if there was a large farm murder protest every week in South Africa. Masses of people brandishing white crosses and blood red billboards about "stopping farm terrorists".
One time even overshadowing and literally drowning out a protest against gender-based violence (GBV) that happened in Cape Town at the end of August. You couldn’t hear the women’s chants over the loud motorbike revving of a group of bikers "riding against farm murders".
These bikers stole the show and aggravated the police by driving through police barricades and climbing up on the statue in front of parliament. Parents who thought they were bringing their children to what started out as a peaceful protest against GBV quickly had to teach their children how to endure stun grenades – which the police employed on everyone present in response to the bikers’ antics.
Even though more women are killed in one year than all the farmers killed since 1990 put together (Source), farm murders must always take center stage for those who believe white Afrikaner lives matter above all others.
Farm murders make up less than 0.3% of our countries total murders but you would never say this based on the amount of protests we saw in 2020. At first it didn’t make sense, but then we realised it made total sense if the people believe they are victims of a government sponsored white genocide. The white crosses, the blood splattered placards all made sense if we look at it from that perspective.
And how can we forget that whenever our president held a livestream to address the nation as we navigated through the Covid-19 pandemic, you would always see in the comments section so many white South Africans typing “WHAT ABOUT THE FARM MURDERS?”. Even though not only the President but various ministers and government representatives of the ruling ANC party have acknowledged the problem of farm murders, including the head of police (link).
In 2020 the response to Black Lives Matter and the death of George Floyd by conservative white South Africans was either "ALL LIVES MATTER", "BOER LIVES MATTER" or "White Lives Matter". Ernst Roets of Afriforum called the black lives matter movement Anti-White - actually writing an article titled "On Black Lives Matter and Farm Murders". One could say this was the magnifying glass shifting the focus off of a world unifying event and putting the focus back on those who believe white farmers lives matter more.
We’ve seen the clear bias seep through the cracks when some farm attacks have been reported by sites who focus on farm attacks. We saw a case this year where a farmer and farmworker were both tied up by attackers. In the article the white farmer’s name, age, photo and state after the attack was reported on BUT the black farm worker got no photo, no name and no information on his condition afterwards. (link) Then there's an entity known as the “Rome Research Organisation”, which feeds right-wing sites such as "South Africa Today" with detailed farm attack information and data, but one area they slack on is the details when farmworkers fall victim to crime. White victims of crime receive more detail with full names and surnames published, but black farm workers are just listed as “Farm Worker”. They don’t want you to realise these are criminals robbing and attacking farms because farms are islands of wealth within a sea of poverty. In South Africa, this amounts to a place where ANYONE can fall victim to violence, no matter what race.
They also don’t want you to acknowledge the possibility that a small percentage of farm murders are extra-violent because of longstanding disputes between farmer and worker. Now let us clearly state that we DO NOT believe farmers deserve violence, nor do we ever condone violence. However, sometimes the relationship between farmers and workers must be acknowledged and factored in when looking at the motive of some of the most violent of all farm murders.
· The perpetrators of the extremely brutal 2012 Walkerville murders, in which a child was killed in boiling water and his parents killed, were the family’s gardener and the son of their domestic worker. The lawyer of the culprits says they claim the incident saw the perpetrators take revenge after years of alleged maltreatment on the part of the slain mother.
· Friend of rightwing icon Dan Roodt, Anneate Kenneally was murdered on her farm beaten to death with an iron bar. "Within hours of Kennealy’s murder, suspicion fell on one individual but – ironically – it was not a politically motivated extremist with a direct line to what one local observer called ‘the genocide-aires’ (extremists apparently targeting whites), but her assistant and farm worker, 40-year-old Kenny Ramatshimbila."(link)
· Right-wing extremist group called the AWB's leader Eugene Terre’blanche was bludgeoned to death by his own farmworker Chris Mahlangu at his farmhouse in Ventersdorp on 3 April, 2010.
The perpetrators of these three murders were not members of “anti-white extremist” organisations but people who lived and worked closely with their victims. These are extreme cases and unlike those we speak out against who pretend outlying cases are the norm, we have the maturity and honesty to say that these extreme cases are not the norm.
The dynamic between farm worker and farm owner and the dire conditions some workers still face today even after apartheid has ended is something you will never hear about from white genocide activists.
This video shows an armed Boer beating a defenseless black man in a rural area in 2020. Many farmers don't abuse their workers, but we must be aware that on some farms the old dynamics still persist leftover from apartheid.
To understand why there are people pushing the incorrect narrative around farm murders today and to understand their motivations we need to look at history:
There were many white people who were pro-apartheid who did not magically disappear in 1994 when the regime ended. Many could not afford to emigrate overseas, many stayed and had children and passed on their beliefs to those children. We were all reintroduced to this rabid crowd with the invention of social media. Comments sections, forums and groups were fouled by nasty crowds of pro apartheid trolls. This got so bad that in 2015 most of South Africa’s top news sites completely closed their comments section due to threads being drowned out by a cacophony of racism, sexism, insults and more. A very vocal minority of bitter trolls had taken their own piece of online real estate where they could voice their backwards opinions. We believe this vocal minority is more than just "the fringe".
The supporters of Apartheid that stayed in South Africa, had children
To the supporters of apartheid, nothing the government does will ever be good enough. A healthy person acknowledges corruption in government but to those who think ONLY black people are capable of corruption, they think all our countries problems started in 1994 and that we will become like Zimbabwe next year or the year after that, or the year after that. These people believe black people are out to get them and will kill them in their sleep simply for being white - swart gevaar paranoia. They were also upset about no longer being treated special in all circumstances. As the saying goes “When you're accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”. So therefore attempts by the ANC government to redress the damage done by apartheid through Black Economic Empowerment and Land Restitution programs is seen as “government oppression of the Afrikaner minority race”.
So when a white person falls victim to violent crime, as South Africans of all races do, the murder of a white South African is somehow viewed as more special by those on the right. It was not seen as crime it was seen as part of a special secret government white genocide or low level guerilla war and ethnic cleansing. The person murdered must always have front page news coverage and the investigation of murders of white people must be prioritized above all else. It must be elevated to the highest courts on planet earth. It must be taken before the United Nations and must be taken to the White House. "Or else". Before farm murders became the main focus, the white genocide galleries were made up of ANY "white person killed by the blacks" not just farmers. We kept track of the old websites of this era, such as PROJEK 2010 whose mission statement was: In Afrikaans: "Om die name en besonderhede te verkry van alle Afrikaners wat vanaf 1 Januarie 1994 deur swartes vermoor is, ten einde te verseker dat die volk nie in die toekoms aan “geheueverlies” ly nie. Om die inligting op datum te hou (nuwe gevalle by te werk) totdat die Afrikaner in vrede en veiligheid in ’n eie staat kan lewe." In English: "To obtain the names and details of all Afrikaners who were killed by blacks from 1 January 1994, in order to ensure that the people do not suffer from “memory loss” in the future. To keep the information up to date (updating new cases) until the Afrikaner can live in peace and security in his own state." The name of the website was registered under the domain "VOLKSMOORD" - which is the Afrikaans word for genocide.
Common themes running through the different pre-2010 white genocide blogs of the time were: A belief that white South African's are victims of a white genocide
Swart Gevaar Paranoia
There was even the Suidlanders Hoax that claimed that when Mandela died "the blacks" were going to start the night of the long knives also known as "UHURU" and kill all the whites around South Africa. It went viral before going viral was a thing. Emails, text messages and CD's did the rounds and caused panic among Afrikaner South Africans.
Many white South Africans may not know who or what the Suidlanders are (a survivalist group), but many would have heard of the "UHURU", Siener van Rensburg prophecies, night of the long knives or Mandela death urban legend. Some white South Africans believed that just as in other former colonial countries that became independent in Africa such as Rhodesia, there would be some kind of mass black retribution and revenge against the former white overlords. But this never came. South Africa had no civil war or race war when apartheid ended and whites were not "driven into the sea". Whites who believed wholeheartedly in the night of the long knives would then forever ask when would the imaginary signal finally come for the blacks to come and slaughter all the whites? From 2010 onwards the white genocide myth would evolve yet again with the introduction of two people. Ernst Roets and Julius Malema.
The banner underneath the image of Ernst Roets is from his 2010 Afriforum Jeug campaign.
Ernst Roets was at that time the chairman of Afriforum Jeug (Youth) which is part of Afriforum a non-governmental organisation focused mainly on the interests of white Afrikaners. A group with an ambitious project aimed at rebranding Afrikaners from the oppressor to the oppressed (Link). In March 2010 at a rally on a university campus the then ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema sang the lyrics "shoot the Boer" (Dubul' ibhunu) from the anti-apartheid song "Ayasab' amagwala" (The cowards are scared)."Boer" is the Afrikaans word for "farmer", but is also used as a term for any Afrikaans-speaking white person. Thereafter on 1 April 2010, the North Gauteng High Court granted an interdict preventing Malema from publicly uttering the words of this or any other song which could be considered to be "instigating violence, distrust and/or hatred between black and white citizens in the Republic of South Africa". And in April 2011 Afriforum brought a case of hate speech against Malema in regard to the song and they reached a settlement when the Supreme Court of Appeal ordered Malema to refrain from singing such songs, forcing him to discourage his supporters from singing them. This is important to note as many claim Malema was not punished for singing the song.
It must be noted that we are not here to defend Malema or the song Dubul' ibhunu. Within this article we will look at whether Julius and the singing of the song did or did not inspire a scourge of farm murders and white genocide as claimed by many. If you would like to read specifically about the song and it's history and how it became illegal see
here: (1) (2) This would be the beginning of a lifelong fixation of Ernst Roets on Julius Malema. Ernst Roets then becoming deputy CEO of Afriforum and Julius being expelled from the ANC and going on to start the Economic Freedom Fighters. Julius Malema had now become the Bogeyman in the eyes of Afriforum seeing him as the living incarnation of swart gevaar and rooi gevaar rolled into one.
From this point onwards criminals in South Africa could breathe a sigh of relief, in the eyes of many white South Africans, syndicates and criminals now had nothing to do with robberies and murders on farms, it was suddenly all EFF death squads. Malema had become the scapegoat for farm murders even though the statistics and evidence did not correlate with the claims.
Did farm murders soar? No, there were actually more farm murders in the five years before Malema sang Kill the Boer than than the five years after. 311 VS 285.
Ernst Roets' put out an evocative special report on hate speech and farm murders. His report is titled "KILL THE FARMER - a brief study on the impact of politics and hate speech on the safety of south african farmers".
Let's have a look at Ernst's research, on line 21 of page 7 of his report Ernst Roets says: "To argue that all farm murders are motivated by racial or political factors would be inaccurate." This is not something that the average Afriforum supporter would agree with.
"To argue that all farm murders are motivated by racial or political factors would be inaccurate." - Ernst Roets, Deputy CEO of Afriforum
Now let's look at some graphs Ernst compiled to show the apparent link between hate speech and farm murders. On this graph Ernst plots every week of the year of 2010, from January to December, he then plots how many farm attacks occurred, which range between zero murders in 12 weeks spread across the year to a maximum of 6 in one instance of a week. The weeks in which Malema sang "Shoot the boer"are marked in orange.
- Graph from "KILL THE FARMER - a brief study on the impact of politics and hate speech on the safety of south african farmers" By Ernst Roets of Afriforum 16 March 2017 Look carefully at the graph, we imagine Ernst wants us to look at the graph and plainly see a surge of farm murders after Malema sang the song which people argue is a literal call to action, for example some believe black people hear the song and feel compelled to act out the exact words in the song to the letter and with immediacy. Our first question is what inspired the 14 murders that happened in 2010 before the song was sung? Secondly there does not seem to be a noticeable upsurge directly after the song is sung compared to the weeks before, in fact there is even an entire month thereafter where zero farm murders take place - 30 May up to 3 July. In a country with an average of 50 murders a day nationally.
Correlation does not imply causation - events which coincide with each other are not necessarily caused by each other. The only so-called evidence from Afriforum that EFF members committed the farm murders that year or that the farm murders were in fact inspired by the song is simply that the song contains the lyrics "shoot the boer".
To drive this point home we want to show you the difference in farm murders numbers, those in recent years compared to the early 2000s when they were at their highest. Keeping in mind there was no EFF back then, the EFF which is blamed for all farm murders was founded in 2013. Julius Malema was around 19 years of age in the year 2000.
Many people have a warped and misinformed opinion on farm murders based on false statistics and things they have seen on social media.
People believe farmers are murdered on a daily basis and are killed at an incredibly high rate in proportion to the small population of commercial farmers:
The truth: In the 2018/19 financial year there were 47 farm murders recorded (SAPS records). For it to be a daily occurrence it would need to be happening seven times as much. People have worked out an incorrect farm murder rate by using the population of commercial farmers as the denominator in the calculation - but it is not only commercial farmers with large enough earnings to be paying VAT that fall victim to violence by criminals on farms and smallholdings. The “farm murders” count includes people murdered who were not involved in commercial agriculture — as we saw in 2020 when Kallie Kriel, Afriforum CEO, tweeting about Julian Stobbs who was not a commercial farmer in any way shape or form – but lived on a smallholding called “the Jazz farm”.
We’ve also seen doctors, musicians, ex-rugby players, people living on plots as a lifestyle choice rather than for any for-profit farming enterprise – all reported on in the news as “farm attack victims”. The population affected by “farm murders” is therefore FAR more than the often-cited figure of 32,000 commercial farmers, including anyone living or working on farms AND smallholdings. And if the population is larger the farm murder rate would therefore work out far lower than Afriforum's extremely high farm murder rate calculation. (Link) (link 2)
Manufacturing the narrative in-house: Ernst Roets produced a video in 2018 called “What you need to know about farm murders”, we think it’s a good video to share with you as an overview of some of the misleading narratives Afriforum spreads regarding farm murders as well as letting Ernst speak for himself.
If one does not know the history of South Africa (as many foreigners don’t) one may just believe Ernst’s introduction to be fact. But we are not so easily caught out. We know from history that the primary targets of uMkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the armed wing of the ANC that operated from 1961-1994, were industrial and military targets. For example Sasolburg fuel tanks, Railway lines and Railway depots, Power Stations such as Escom installations and even Koeberg Nuclear power station just to name a few. Until we watched Ernst’s video we had never heard of a concentrated campaign of MK against farmers (With any notable results) because an MK member attacking a farm was so rare. That’s why Ernst begrudgingly says at the end of the introduction that “There were very little farm attacks” – and that’s the truth, there were yes – but very little. Ernst talks about the Landmine Campaign but fails to mention some key details. It ran for a whole of two years, 1985-1987. Ernst speaks like it ran across the timespan of apartheid. The campaign was then cancelled by MK themselves due to the high rate of civilian casualties especially among black farm workers (Driving Tractors) and failed to mainly destroy military patrols as had been originally intended (Link). MK were setting Anti-tank mines on rural roads in Northern Transvaal, not across the entirety of rural South Africa and the campaign ended resulting in (depending on who you are talking to) 23 deaths as claimed by the ANC or 25 deaths as claimed by the Apartheid government. (1) (2) (3) In a submission to the TRC the ANC expressed its “sincere regret” for the civilian deaths and injuries in this campaign. The ANC stressed that it had ordered its operatives to carry out careful surveillance and to use anti-tank rather than antipersonnel mines so that individual labourers on foot would not detonate the explosives. Something that must be noted, as terrible as the ANC’s armed wings bombings during the 80s sound it must be placed into the context of the armed struggle against the Apartheid regime. The ANC is not currently waging a low intensity guerilla war and killing white Afrikaners in the countryside today (as is subtly implied by Roet’s introduction).
"This conclusion was not easily arrived at. It was only when all else had failed, when all channels of peaceful protest had been barred to us, that the decision was made to embark on violent forms of political struggle, and to form uMkhonto we Sizwe. We did so not because we desired such a course, but solely because the government had left us with no other choice" - Nelson Mandela
Ernst then talks about MK veterans coming back into South Africa at the end of apartheid and farm attacks beginning. There is no subtlety in his speech. Ernst is implying that MK veterans came back into South Africa and could continue their guerrilla war against the Boer unhindered. We’ve monitored South African rightwing forums and facebook groups long enough, we’ve seen all the conspiracies and talking points and are no stranger to this one. Ernst does not provide evidence for the idea that the ANC is behind farm attacks. We thought perhaps he would tell a story of farm attackers across 5 provinces being caught and revealed to be MK members where under interrogation they reveal field bases and plans to attack and cripple the white farmers with orders coming all the way from the top, Mandela himself. But alas evidence for this fantastical claim would be too much to ask for from Ernst.
Next Ernst talks about trends within farm attacks, young men attacking elderly people who live on farms and smallholdings. We don't argue with him here. Often retired elderly people are are robbed because they are seen as easier targets by criminals and syndicates rather than for example a younger fit and active commercial farmer down the road. Also notice Ernst says the farm attackers are young men. This is a video from 2018. Let's say you were an MK member who took part in the Landmine Campaign of 1985 against the Afrikaners and were 25 at the time. In 2018 you would be 58 years old. Any MK member old enough to remember any of the old apartheid era ANC Leaflets, radio broadcasts and internal communications that may have mentioned farmers being potential targets is old now and definitely not "a young man". It is also ludicrous to think that the average young black South African today can tell you the contents of apartheid era Radio Freedom broadcasts by ANC Cadres.
Ernst: "Usually very little is stolen during these attacks and in many cases, the most horrible methods of torture imaginable is executed"
If it hasn’t become painfully obvious by now, Afriforum is painting the picture that farm murders are motivated by black hatred for whites and that black intruders are there solely for the opportunity to inflict revenge on white Afrikaners in the most painful and torturous way possible. We see it over and over on right wing comment threads “nothing is ever stolen” “the savages are just there to torture”.
A quick scan of 2020's farm attack news articles reveals what's actually happening, over and over we see bakkie (vehicle) stolen, firearms stolen, laptops, cash and phones stolen.
And in the cases where nothing was stolen it is always assumed to be "purely because they just came to kill and nothing more" when there are other explanations such as sometimes: The victims offered resistance;
The suspects were surprised at the scene of the crime;
or the criminals had the intention to commit non-property crimes such as rape.
We are not justifying or excusing any criminal acts inflicted upon people in rural areas by criminals - we merely want people to approach this with rational thinking free of conspiracies.
Afriforum in their own 2019 report on farm attacks stated that 4% of the total incidents of that year contained torture. That would obviously mean that 96% percent of farm attacks for that year DID NOT contain torture. Their 2017 report had similar findings. Again, "Any available evidence suggesting that the average farm attack or farm murder is more violent than the average assault or murder occurring elsewhere in the country is merely anecdotal" (Du Preez 2013, 189)
The number of people tortured on farms is consistent with the number of people tortured in home invasions in urban areas. A University of South Africa crime researcher, Dr Rudolph Zinn interviewed house robbers and created a report profiling them. The study revealed that 13% of house robbers would torture victims using anything from irons, boiling water to melted plastic in order for them to hand over valuables such as jewelry or cash. We have seen multiple incidents of this in cases where robbers are trying to get their victims to open safes for them. It is also a myth that ONLY white farmers are victims of torture in South Africa.
An example of an article from the opinion piece factory website PoliticsWeb. Something that doesn’t fit into the narrative of whites targeted for politically motivated revenge is the fact that black farmers are also killed by criminals. An inconvenient truth for those who racialize farm attacks and think white farmers are targeted for their skin color. Criminals showed no mercy to slain cattle farmer Teboho Machakela or any of the black farmers and farmworkers murdered during 2020 – would people say their deaths were caused by or inspired by political talk or struggle songs? Definitely not. Neither were they killed by rogue uMkhonto we Sizwe guerrillas. In the 45,000 words you've read so far - you will see that not once has the word "racist" been mentioned. We purposefully left it out as we may have lost some rare classical libertarian readers who were somehow coaxed into reading this if we had pulled the rabbit out of the hat too soon. So we want to ask you, do you get the feeling that the incorrect and popular narrative of farm murders is racist and not inclusive of the safety of all rural South Africans? One look at the primary stalwarts of the incorrect "white farmers targeted" narrative will provide you with the answer: Afriforum:
Afriforum went to court to defend the apartheid flag from being banned and CEO Kallie Kriel believes apartheid was not a crime against humanity.
Katie Hopkins from the United Kingdom made a special trip to South Africa and made Farm Murders her focus, interviewing Steve Hofmeyr and Ernst Roets for her film: "PLAASMOORDE THE KILLING FIELDS". It is clearly labelled as "THE GENOCIDE OF WHITE SOUTH AFRICAN FARMERS". A documentary in which Ernst Roets took part with enthusiasm, as well as promoted it.
Katie Hopkins was permanently removed from Twitter for violating ‘hateful conduct’ policy.
Hopkins has been heavily criticised in the past for her comments, including comparing migrants to cockroaches.
Katie was part of a number of far right individuals such as Lauren Southern who used the plight of South African farmers as justification for white nationalism overseas. Far right activists with histories of racism were pretending to be "conservative activists" and "journalists". The message by these foreigners is "Look at South Africa, this is what will happen if you let the brown people take over, if you let the cultural marxism and multiculturalism win".
Steve Hofmeyr is a famous South African singer who took up the cause of fighting "volksmoord" starting with the Red October march.
Steve Hofmeyr has called black people the architects of Apartheid and has tweeted praising the apartheid flag on more than one occasion. At this stage Steve does not care how many more sponsors he will lose.
Willem has shown in online posts he believes in the white genocide myth:
Prioritization: The claims that farm murders are unique because of the violence in farm attacks and their pervasiveness are largely unsupportable. Yet activists are trying many different angles to elevate the status of farm murders to the top priority in the land. Don't get us wrong, we believe farm murders deserve the same attention as all other murders in South Africa, a farm dweller is no less deserving of protection and justice than any other citizen of this land. What we are against is the completely irrational demands put forth by white genocide activists. For example, Debbie Els the head of "Stop Farm Terrorist Attacks" who led a march on Parliament on the 18th of June 2020 (not the first or the last) demanded that the Government declare farms to become categorized as National Key Points . What are examples of National Key Points? (1).
The Reserve Bank
The South African Mint
Koeberg Nuclear power station
The Union Buildings Presidency
These are the most protected buildings in the entire nation which are of extreme importance to the functioning of the country. Debbie wants farms (even ones who export strawberries and wine overseas) to be on the same level as Koeberg Nuclear Power Station and if her demands are not met she claims they will have no choice but to have the ANC government step down with immediate effect. One look at her politics gave us the reasoning behind such an arrogant demand. (link). Covid denialism, Anti Vaccines, white genocide conspiracies - we found all this and more in her facebook posts. Then there is MP Dianne Kohler Barnard of the DA wants farm murders to be classified as “hate crimes”. This is an argument we have seen posted and tweeted by far right social media accounts years before but is now something actually being pursued by South Africa's opposition party.
In South Africa a hate crime is a hate crime whether it happens on a farm or on a beach or in the city or on a bus. If a murder fits the description of a hate crime it will be dealt with as such (As we saw with the case of two Boers putting a black man into a coffin) but most farm attacks do not fit this definition. Only in the eyes of right wingers are ALL farm murders vicious racist black on white hate crimes. Dianne Kohler Barnard is famous for sharing a facebook post praising apartheid prime minister PW Botha (link). Many thought she would have been fired from the DA for this but instead became an integral part of the plans for a "new" DA in the post Maimane era.
Missions to the United Nations : Besides traveling to various majority white countries around the world to share their version of the farm attacks narrative, Afriforum has been on a mission to the United Nations, more than once in an effort to put pressure on the South African government with regards to farm murders and "oppression of minorities" (White Afrikaners).
In 2015, South African political party the Vryheidsfront Plus, known in English as the Freedom Front Plus (FF+), sent a delegation to the United Nations. FF+ chairman Dr Pieter Groenewald said that compared to international norms, farm murders in South Africa “can justifiably be viewed as genocide”. He wrote: “The United Nations Human Rights Commission should now force the ANC government to take urgent steps to put a stop to it.”
Throughout this article you may have noticed the frequent links to sources and articles to backup our claims but now just this instance with regards to Afriforum and the DA and the prioritization of farm murders we'd like to share with you a hunch, an opinion or gut feeling. We think that even if violent crimes that happen to people living on farms and smallholdings receives:
- A dedicated strategy that targets the criminal groups responsible,
- task teams that specialise in rural crime,
- the appointment of experienced and skilled people of integrity working on these cases
- as well as regularly releasing of detailed stats on rural safety
all of the above given with one exception: farm murders are NOT given the label of priority crime. The DA and Afriforum would NOT be happy and satisfied.
Because their target audience of (not farmers) but the farm murder "crowd" - the people who don't want the apartheid flag banned, who don't see apartheid as a crime against humanity - don't understand the nuanced points we speak of here, when they hear "farm murders prioritised" they think that FINALLY the white boer's life has been prioritised above everyone else. And that would make for a happy Afriforum monthly subscriber or donater , and it would make a happy Democratic Alliance voter who has chosen the DA over the FF+. We didn't make this about race, Afriforum did. We didn't make this political , the DA did.
We've seen many high profile farm murder cases where the police swiftly apprehended the guilty parties for example the Hartswater case in 2020. Relatives of the slain members of the Brand family praised the police for their response on the case. Later that year police in KZN arrested former employees who had killed the farmers they worked for - the very next day after the murder took place. For an example of an often mentioned case , the killers involved in the infamous Lindley murders in 2010 were brought to justice and received harsh sentences. Farm murderers are often caught and punished to the full extent of the law and where South Africa's imperfect police service falls short and justice is not served it is the same for black or white or any race. There is no racist favor happening where the police only solve non-farm murder cases.
The Land: There has been a wave of misinformation in the last two years regarding Expropriation Without Compensation (EWC). Many people do not understand it, the why, the who and the how. It has at times dominated the headlines, and has made investors uncomfortable. If you speak English or Afrikaans and seek information on google regarding this subject, you will be met with a flood of anti-EWC articles, videos and more.
There are adult men and woman walking around South Africa believing that the bill means “All white farmers land will be taken away” or “All private property will be taken and we will be forced to rent for life from the government” – all untrue. People with vested interests in avoiding any of the spoils of apartheid being taken away through land reform and land restitution are trying to link EWC to Farm Murders. Even though there have been farm murders long before EWC was even spoken about, because the two are unrelated.
Examples of EWC propaganda:
What is it actually?: Expropriation Without Compensation is one of many options to obtain land for reform, part of a broader toolkit. In October 2020 South Africa’s Expropriation Bill was gazetted. It will for the first time allow the expropriation of property without compensation. But this can only happen in select circumstances, and the courts will always remain the ultimate arbiter. A process is also underway to amend Section 25 of South Africa’s constitution to allow for EWC. As in many other countries, expropriation has been part of South African law for decades. The state has expropriated land to build roads, hospitals, and even for the Gautrain.
An overseas example is the village that will be demolished in the United Kingdom to build Heathrow airport’s third runway. The department of public works and infrastructure set down a uniform process for all expropriations to take place, as well as a uniform means to calculate just and equitable compensation.
In plain English this means there are strict checks and balances in place. Does it mean Zimbabwaean land grabs?: As we stated earlier - the state does not make this decision — the courts do. Very different from how things went down in Zimbabwe. A word that has been thrown around since the start thanks to the work of Afriforum, the SA Institute of Race Relations and many others. Thanks to these bad actors, many farmers now believe that EWC means a gang of black killers with machetes will appear at their gate demanding their land in the name of the ANC even though the president has assured there will be no government approved mass landgrabs as was seen in Zimbabwe. The reality is actually extremely far from Zimbabwe. EWC is actually far more slow and boring than it's detractors would have you believe.
A testament to how reasonable this whole process has been are the countrywide public hearings on the EWC bill . Ernst Roets, Deputy CEO of white rights group Afriforum even attended this and expressed his views on the Bill – something which does not occur under “ZIMBABWE STYLED fast-track land reform and violence”. If the country was actually racist and anti-white Ernst's voice would not be heard at all.
Flip Buys, Chairman of Solidariteit, Afriforum’s parent organization said "On expropriation, they can't threaten that sort of thing and not expect a reaction,"
"Some battles you must fight. We must save the country from what happened in Zimbabwe,". Organisations such as Afriforum explicitly and frequently say that EWC will be like the Zimbabwe Land invasions and armed sieges of white owned farms – a ridiculous comparison.
This is the go-to picture used by fearmongering propagandists we see on social media - It's not from South Africa:
Does the world approve of EWC:
Speaking to the Mail & Guardian, United States ambassador to South Africa Lana Marks stated with regards to EWC that she is “100% satisfied in the way in which President [Cyril] Ramaphosa is handling everything — in a totally open and transparent manner. I am totally satisfied." “I have personally advised all partners regarding this in the United States. There will be no confiscation whatsoever of private land … So now, having said that there will be no confiscation of any private land whatsoever, now is the time for major US investment in South Africa.”. Other countries have also given their approval.
The White Genocide crowd was very angry when they heard this, so Steve Hofmeyr shared a petition to have Ambassador Marks removed.
ANC Treasurer General Paul Mashatile gave even more clarifying information back in July 2018:
"There were people who I met earlier in the year who asked if we were going to take away their houses. I said we had no such intention. Why should we come to suburbs and take people's houses?"
"This is not land grabs. In fact, in contrast, it will avoid land grabs because it will be controlled by the state."
"Government must be the one to identify land to be expropriated and go beyond focusing on just privately-owned land. When we start rolling out restitution, security of tenure, we will look at all land, especially government-owned land."
"The government owns vast tracts of land. There is land lying fallow, owned by absentee landlords, and we have to look at all of that."
In 2018 Afriforum then distributed an unverified list of "farms targeted for expropriation" causing nationwide panic. (link). Afriforum's dogged determination in stigmatising the parliamentary process around land expropriation without compensation is very telling.
It has been 27 years since our country became a democracy and today millions of citizens are still living in poverty. Though some want to blame corruption within the ANC government one cannot ignore the titanic task of fixing the deep and lasting damage created throughout the periods of colonialism and apartheid. From 1960 to 1983, the apartheid government forcibly moved 3.5 million black South Africans in one of the largest mass removals of people in modern history. Black, Indian and “colored” were forced to move and placed into distant segregated townships. Here are links if you would like to read more on this subject. (1) (2) (3) There is therefore a need for land reform in South Africa, something that has been moving at a snails pace. Some South Africans who were forcibly removed during apartheid died before seeing restoration of their land or fair compensation.