Farm Murders in South Africa prompted a nation to wear black
It is 1 o clock in the morning, you are fast asleep or on the other side of the globe at work. Farmer Joubert Conradie wakes up to a noise inside his house. The outcome for him is fatal. Intruders shot at him and run away empty handed. In a beautiful wine region of Stellenbosch, there was another farm murder in South Africa. Between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2017 74 farmers were murdered. Shockingly the rate for farm murders is 156 per 100,000. The very same people supplying the produce South Africa needs for survival of life are being murdered at an alarming rate.
Last week my cousin tells his wife “next Monday we have to remember to wear black.” He was referring to the farm murders you will hear about daily whilst in South Africa.
Why is a nation wearing black today?
This morning my aunts two dogs come in to crawl up next to me. I picked up my phone to check the time. Ritualistically I open Facebook and scrolled through the news feed. What would normally be a continuous stream of travel articles is replaced with selfies and group photos of strangers wearing black. Reading the comments black and white are standing together today. Our family Whatsapp group is being filled with photos of my relatives wearing black. Together the country is protesting. The latest murder of Joubert Conradie may have been the inspiration. However, it is not only about farm murders. The current murder rate is 34 per 100,000. That is 19,380 people within the last financial year. To put this into comparison within 2 years Australia had 487 incidents of homicide.
Protesting because the murders and rape need to cease
I am not even mentioning the other crime statistics. But this protest today about wearing black originated because one too many South African farmers have been murdered. It is also representing the desperate plea of ordinary South Africans, black and white asking for change. Stating that life matters. Rape, murder and other crime should not happen, whether you are black or white. This protest happened today in a beautiful country I used to call home.
There are more than 800,000 South African expats. I am one of them and the key reason my family migrated was due to safety concerns. South Africans abroad also wore black today. In one of my expat groups, they were working together to appeal to news organizations to broadcast this desperate plight all South Africans are facing.
South Africa is in mourning
I am a world traveler. I have observed the chaos in Europe regarding refugees from the Middle East, Cambodia and Vietnam still rebuilding after wars from the 20th century. The list is non-exhaustive. What is happening in South Africa should be addressed globally. Why is a nation wearing black today? It is a symbol of mourning.
This beautiful country is frequently featured on National Geographic. The rainbow nation. A nation that the world perceives to be reunited. If you listen to Steve Hofmeyer’s (activist singer, actor, and songwriter) statement on Facebook you may see a different truth. This is not a nation that is reunited. It had great potential to do so. Even in my visit to Lesotho, I observed how different I would be treated due to my skin color.
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The truth about Apartheid
Mandela is a man that has done excellent things. He has become an icon of peace. This does not make him infallible to human error. Alarmingly last night I watched a video of Mandela singing about killing white people. Without understanding the words it may sound like a beautiful song. In this yesterday he was wrong to sing a song about killing white people. Especially in the South Africa of today with racial tension.
In 2012 within parliament politicians broke out in a song singing about killing the “Boer”. You can’t help but ask yourself is this right? Why is one form of discrimination still tolerated in the 21st century? This video is embarrassingly comical and unprofessional for the leaders of a country to act in such poor taste.
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?
First, we would need to take a look at Zimbabwe. Over the past two decades, Zimbabwe made international headlines. A nation rich in minerals however in financial turmoil. The running joke is Zimbabwean bank notes are worth less than toilet paper. A quarter of the nation (more than 3 million people) is currently starving due to drought. Over the past two decades, there has been a land repossession program. I have a cousin who resided there and overnight their farm was ambushed and burned down by 300 of their own workers. Even Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has admitted to failures in the land reform program. It is often South Africans will claim that there will be a repeat of Zimbabwe’s history in South Africa.
“I think the farms we gave to people are too large. They can’t manage them”. – President of Zimbabwe: Robert Mugabe
In 1994 87% of the land was owned by the white population. There is a 10 step land reformation program in place. To an outsider, this may sound fantastic in regards to achieving equality. This is when repercussions aren’t taken into consideration. The current population of South Africa is nearly 57 million. South Africa is 0.75% of the world’s population. Currently, the farmers produce enough food to feed the entire South African population. Imagine if farmers no longer exist. If the land is redistributed to people unskilled and untrained in producing large quantities of food. South Africa would also get added to the list of starving kids in Africa. History has already proven this. If Zimbabwe is used as an example. What was once a thriving nation is now struggling to survive under the controversial rule of a dictator. In the event South Africa was to follow suit of the Zimbabwean practice of land reformation, there will be a time bomb to its already pending financial death. The consequences would be life-threatening to many.
Risk of starvation
When you see a photo of a child in Africa the stigma associated with it is starvation. It is what charities always sell to convince you to donate money towards their cause. With a growing population of more than 57 million, there is a risk South Africa could be added to this list of starvation in Africa.
What is happening in South Africa?
The current land reformation program in South Africa has a 10 step process. Only enough land is being taken at a time from the farmers where they will not resist. Redistribution of land is based on a communist ideology. It is unfitting in a democratic society. When the government uses too much power it removes the voice of the people. They need to teach a man to fish and not give them a fish. With land reformation, adequate training will need to be provided. For a country attempting to achieve financial equality destruction of valuable resources would accomplish the opposite of the desired outcome.
Is there worsening racial tension happening in South Africa?
With politicians singing songs in support of killing the “white population” it raises a strong argument. Throughout the years it would not be uncommon for a white South African to make a statement that it is only a matter of time before there is a racial war. The white population has always been vastly outnumbered. With the high rate of murder currently happening against both black and white, it is too difficult to justify genocide against the white population. This is why the country came together today as one nation to protest horrific crimes committed regardless of race. Specifically the plight of farm murders in South Africa.
The rest of the world:
Australia, Canada, and the United States are all countries that were colonized. Despite this history, the rate of hate crime and political issues are nowhere near comparable to South Africa. The history of colonial countries are extremely similar. The result today vastly different. This certainly raises some questions. Australia, they argue about dual citizenship. The irony about it is 99% of parliament consist of descendants of expats. Colonialism in Australia is still a reality the key difference is the Aborigines are vastly outnumbered at only 3.3% of the population.
If we say nothing, if the murders continue, if the land is redistributed to people untrained and unskilled then South Africa may very soon face a starvation crisis. We need to ask ourselves what we are able to do to help South Africa create a better tomorrow.
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