By Petro Marais, News24, 10/30/2017
It is 1 o clock in the morning, you are fast asleep. Farmer Joubert Conradie wakes up to a noise inside the house. The outcome is fatal. He is shot by intruders in his own home. This happened in Stellenbosch, a wine region frequented by tourists all across the world. Another farm murder. Between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2017 there were 74 farm murders alone. Shockingly the rate for farm murders is 156 per 100,000. These are people, deserving of life.
I heard my cousin say to his wife “next Monday we have to remember to wear black.” He referred to the farm murders that I hear about every single day for the past 7 weeks I have been in South Africa.
I’m wearing black
As the two dogs come in early to crawl up next to me I pick up my phone. Scrolling through my newsfeed that is a ritual to most. I notice how South Africa is standing together today. Where my newsfeed is normally cluttered with travel related articles it is filled with selfies and group photos of strangers wearing black. My whatsapp is also being filled with photos of relatives wearing black today. Together the country is protesting. The latest murder of Joubert Conradie may have been the inspiration. However it is not only about farm murders.
It is to protest the crime being committed in a beautiful country I once called home.
I am not oblivious but I travel the world. I see all the atrocities, the turmoil this world is turning into. But what is happening in South Africa should be addressed globally. Why is a nation wearing black today? A symbol of mourning.
What could there possibly to mourn about. This beautiful country with landscapes to die for. The rainbow nation. One that the world see as reunited. If you listen to Steve Hofmeyer’s (activist singer, actor and songwriter) statement on Facebook you may get a different picture. This is not a nation that is reunited. It had great potential to do so.
Alarmingly last night I watched a video about Mandela singing about killing white people. Over the years I have heard controversial statements. He has become a symbol of peace. Only last year within parliament politicians broke out in a song singing about killing the “white population”. You can’t help but ask yourself is this right? Why is one form of discrimination still tolerated in the 21st century?
Murder, rape and armed robbery is wallpaper. You almost become oblivious. My new adopted home country also has crime. But it is not even comparable. If just one of the murders were to happen in Australia it would be covered in the media even past the date the offender has been sentenced and locked up.
Why is this happening?
Most the world have heard about Zimbabwe. A nation rich in minerals but in financial turmoil. A quarter of the nation (more than 3 million people) is currently starving due to drought. However over the past two decades there have been land repossession programme. I have a cousin who resided there and overnight their farm was attacked and burned down by their own workers. Even Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has admitted to failures in the land reform programme.
“I think the farms we gave to people are too large. They can’t manage them”. – President of Zimbabwe: Robert Mugabe
Due to the majority of the land being owned by the white population in South Africa there is also a land reformation programme in place. To an outsider this may sound fantastic. There is a big BUT though. The current population of South Africa is nearly 57 million. That is a huge amount of mouths to feed. South Africa currently produces enough food to feed it’s population. However what happens if farmers no longer exist. If the land is redistributed to people unskilled and untrained in producing large quantities of food.
When you see a photo of a child in Africa the stigma associated with it is starvation. It is what charities always sell to get you to donate money towards their cause. Very soon with a growing population more than 57 million people may be added to this list of starvation in Africa.
Australia, Canada and the United States are all countries that were colonised. Despite this history the rate of hate crime and political issues are nowhere near comparable to South Africa. Instead in Australia they argue about inherited citizenship. The irony about it is 99% of parliament consists of foreigners by inheritance. If we say nothing, if the murders continue, if the land is redistributed to people untrained and unskilled South Africa may very soon face a starvation crisis.