Last night I decided to watch Lauren Southern’s “Farmlands” (2018) documentary about the ongoing proto-genocide against white South Africans, especially farmers. Both the South African government and the media continue to suppress information exposing this reality. Perhaps watching this documentary as an American in 2021 hits closer to home than it would had I seen it when it first came out. The parallels between what is happening in South Africa and what is happening in the United States are striking.
Though Southern does not highlight everything that led to the crisis at hand anyone with a cursory knowledge of South African politics knows that preceding and accompanying much of the current violence has been a campaign to destroy and rewrite South African history. Not only are older books on South African history destroyed and replaced with Marxist retellings, but geographic locations have been renamed and monuments to white South Africans taken down. Sound familiar?
Like the United States South Africa has a history of racial tension famously manifested in apartheid. However, also like the United States, Marxists exploit this fact without giving a full account of what preceded apartheid and what took place after the African National Congress (ANC) took control of the country.
In 1652, the Dutch East Indian Company settled South African’s western coast while the rest of the country was inhabited by the nomadic Khoisan people. The Dutch maintained primarily peaceful relationships with the Khoisan by purchasing land, trading, and even marrying in some cases as they expanded into the interior of the region. Like the United States, many of the original settlers were indentured servants and lived under economic hardship as they cultivated their new home. The Trekboer and Voortrekkers were frontiersman who settled north beyond the Dutch colony and are known today as Afrikaners with their own language and culture.
As the Voortrekkers entered the area, Bantu tribes who lived to their north were at war. Shaka, the king of the Zulu tribe, defeated most of the other tribes, but it did not result in stability. In 1823, a rebellion resulted in the deaths of between one and two million people leaving the area almost completely depopulated. Several of the tribes fled south toward the Voortrekkers. Their sudden arrival created tension and signaled a new more violent relationship between the Dutch settlers and Bantu tribes.
In 1838, Zulu king Dingane heinously beat Voortrek leader Piet Retief and one hundred of his men in a surprise attack meant disguised as a friendly gathering. They then destroyed his entire camp including women, children, and Khoisan people who lived with the Voortrekkers in what became known as the Weenen massacre.
The Union of South Africa formed in 1910 after the British defeated the Dutch farmers (Boer). Though separation between blacks and whites was a social convention, it eventually became law after the election of the National Party in 1948 which banned interracial marriages, racial registration, and relocation of the many Bantu tribes to tribal homelands.
In 1961, Nelson Mandela, a member of the South African Communist Party, helped found the Spear of the Nation, which was a forerunner to today’s African National Congress. They announced their existence with fifty-seven bombings in one day. As Mandela served his twenty-seven year prison sentence, the anti-apartheid movement became even more radical as cruel and unusual methods, like necklacing, became popular to punish even black people who were thought to be collaborating with the government.
In the 1970s and 80s, internal and external pressure caused instability in the country. Eventually the National Party negotiated with the African National Congress to end apartheid in 1991. In 1994, Mandela became president. In 1996, the government legalized abortion and adopted a new constitution emphasizing positive rights, such as the right to education and a universal basic income. In 2000, firearm ownership was restricted. In 2003, The Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act attempted to compensate black people for being victims during a history of systemic racism by regulating private hiring policies. The South African Preferential Procurement Regulations further regulate government industries and government contracts by adjusting for racial victimhood. Same-sex marriage became legal in 2006.
Though the similarities are not exact, the position of the Dutch in South Africa bears a striking resemblance to the American situation. Not only did European settlers in present day United States clash with tribal peoples on the frontier, but they also struggled against the British, resettled tribal peoples, and experience civil unrest during times of racial integration. Though the political establishments in both countries envisioned peaceful race relations after altering legal policies in order to foster integration, in both countries these dreams have been temporary at best.
The present day Black Lives Matter movement echoes the policies and attitudes of South African political groups like the African National Congress, Black First Land First, and the Economic Freedom Fighters who are known for calling for the deaths of white farmers at their rallies.
“The Land Issue” has become a major source of controversy over the past few years. A rising tide of murders of rural white farmers has been accompanied by a political narrative calling for the redistribution of white-owned farms.
Between 2012 and 2016 the attacks on farms increased 72.9% according to the Blood Sisters, a private organization responsible for cleaning up crime scenes. These statistics are both undocumented and unreported by the government and news organizations. “We Can Stop the Genocide,” an group advocating for rural white farmers reports that there have been 168,164 farm attacks and 22,786 farm Murders Since 2010. The Blood Sisters believe 90% of the increases is connected to resentment caused by racial discrimination and unemployment, which is around 50%. Recently, the London Times reported that youth unemployment between the ages of 15 and 24 is at 75%. While 16.3 million people are on social grants only 3.1 million serve as an income tax base.
All of the farm massacres Southern discovered included what felt like twisted elements resulting from a depraved mind. The drowning of a twelve year old in boiling hot water, an elderly man ambushed and shot execution style in the head six times in his own home, and an elderly woman strangled and her eyes gouged out with a kitchen fork are just a few of the incidents. Unfortunately, the government offers little assistance and rural farmers have to coordinate their own protection. One interviewee told Southern that when white South Africans did hold a mass protest against farm murders on Black Monday, the Minister of Defense threatened a civil war if it were ever done again.
Though the rise in anti-white violent crime is most potent in rural areas, the situation does not only impact rural farmers. Southern also interviewed a paint ball shop outside of Port Elizabeth that experienced over one hundred break-ins, some of which were violent, in a ten year period forcing the shop to close down.
Unfortunately, the most charitable reading that can be made of ANC party officials is that they are unconcerned about the plight of white farmers, which is mainly a creation of their own making. Thabo Mokwena, a member of the ANC’s provincial executive committee, characterized the policy of the government forcibly taking land from white farmers without compensation as a good objective. Even without forced resettlement, the Black Economic Empowerment Policy has led to the destruction of many farms as utility companies, forced to lay off most of their white workers, are unable to respond to drought conditions. Southern also interviewed lower class whites living in squatter camps who were denied jobs and healthcare because of the color of their skin. And, these conditions exist under the guidance of the ANC who, compared to other organizations, are the moderates.
Southern interviewed the Deputy President of the Black First Land First organization who told her that because black people’s lived experience had not improved since the ending of apartheid, her organization aimed “to put the land and economy back in the hands of black South Africans.” It should be noted she said this even as her country’s government is overwhelmingly controlled by parties that claim to be affiliated and promoting black interests. Yet, this political situation has somehow been unable to “obtain freedom” for the “black majority.” Because white people have stolen black people’s land, as the story goes, it is up to black South Africans to go to “war at farms” and take “everything” that white people own.
Such ultimatums are so absolute that white South Africans are left without any ability to negotiate. Some have left the country of their birth, but that costs around the equivalent of 300,000 dollars. Others, like the Suidlanders, are preparing for the possibility of a civil war along racial lines. One exclusively white community called Orania is in an attempt to maintain white South African “culture” and “tradition.” While they do enjoy an almost nonexistent crime rate, their own currency, and security, they only have a little over 5,000 people. None of these solutions are desirable for most white South African farmers who simply want to work their land and enjoy the fruit of their labors without interference.
As people and organizations in the Unites States wrestle with questions of critical race theory, intersectionality, and all that comes with them, including deconstructing history and considering reparations, I hope they will remember what is happening in South Africa. They are farther down the road of a similar path and it is one leading to the destruction of their country. Not only economically, but also morally. Last summer, as cities burned and rioters threatened to take their path of destruction to the suburbs in order to supposedly fight against racial injustice, no one aware of the situation plaguing South Africa was confused. They had seen it before. They understood the Marxist thinking behind it. As neighborhoods form watch groups, funding is cut for police, and children are short-circuited by a simplified retelling of history to hate their family and country instead of love them, will we learn their lesson?