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Opinion

Heart of Darkness

South Africa

“Dark human shapes could be made out in the distance, flitting indistinctly against the gloomy border of the forest, and near the river two bronze figures, leaning on tall spears, stood in the sunlight under fantastic head-dresses of spotted skins, warlike and still in statuesque repose” – Joseph Conrad  (1899)

 

While the world’s media gleefully present the grinning visage of South African rugby captain Siya Kolisi and his blonde wife Rachel has the bright new faces of “The Rainbow Nation” – behind the scenes, hidden from the cameras and the newscasts – the number of murderous attacks on white farmers has steadily increased since 2015. Spiking so high in 2017 that over a million Afrikaners took to the streets on 30th October, “Black Monday”, to protest the situation. Which rather makes sycophantic journalists like David Walsh in the Sunday Times Magazine quoting “Captain Fantastic” saying things like “My grandmother raised me. She never told me not to love someone because of their skin colour” and speak gushingly of Kolisi in the same breath as Nelson Mandela, as either appallingly ignorant or willfully complicit in downplaying a long-running genocide that now accounts for thousands of white crosses at the Witkruismonument just outside Polokwane.

Each marking an event like the one Bernadette Hall recounts when her husband was tied up and shot in the head by black raiders: “You smell the people, taste the blood, feel the fear, hear the voices, every time you talk about it”.  Or Annette Kennealy, who had tweeted in frustration about 10 farm attacks, including a murder, in less than 4 days and who was herself later found face down in a pool of blood with multiple stab wounds in Limpopo. A hammer and iron rod lying next to her body. Then there was the case of Jessica Khun and Johanco Fleischman, whose Toyota Hilux had broken down and while they were waiting for help were assaulted by three blacks who hissed, “Umhulungu”, a derogatory term for whites. A seventy one year old farmer in the Frankfort District in the Free State having his throat cut. Elderly white residents in Kameeldrift  being tied up with cable and robbed and a father and son being shot in Guateng.

I will spare you the details of the numerous autopsies following the multitude of other attacks that include boiling water being poured over the faces of wailing infants; farmer’s wives being gang raped along with their teenage and prepubescent daughters; electric cables being attached to women’s nipples and adolescent boy’s testicles, white men being wrapped in barbed wire and dragged around their land behind a tractor and the sharpened panga points that glint at sunset over the Veldt.

Atrocities that are dismissed, as a mere “detail” of the soaring crime rate in the country, which averages 59 murders per day and is considered the rape capital of the world. Gareth Newham, head of the Justice and Violence Prevention Programme at The Institute of Security Studies in South Africa said: “The narrative that is being peddled internationally, which is alarmist, is that there’s a genocide against white people in South Africa and that is the most egregious statement because there is no data to support that whatsoever”. Newham, continuing, in the predictable politically-correct way: “Young black males are far more likely to be victims of murder than any other population group in South Africa”.

Which is no doubt true, but who is doing the killing? Not the white farmers or the Boers who still live among them, I would suggest. Indeed, the Transvaal Agricultural Union statistics show 59 murders of white farmers in 2017 and a further 8 in the first 3 months of 2018 alone. With the long-term upward trend since 2009 representing an official total of 586 as of 2019.

But it is perhaps the spite filled cruelty of the murders that is the most worrisome aspect. For ignoring the multiple discriminatory laws the African National Congress’s one party state have introduced that favour blacks over whites in the employment market and the burgeoning shanty towns like Munsieville where poor whites congregate for safety under tin roofs in ghetto-like conditions, Julius Malema, leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters, proves once again his utter ignorance of African history by declaring:

“When whites arrived in South Africa, they had committed a black genocide, when blacks were dispossessed of their land. They found peaceful Africans here and they killed them. They slaughtered them like animals. We are not calling for the slaughtering of white people, at least for now.”

Hate-filled sentiments that are echoed by Zanele Lwana, Vice President of the militant group Black First, Land First, who amplifies the same theme:

“We are black. We were oppressed and massacred on the basis we were black and not white. It cannot be that twenty four years into democracy and to be poor means to be black and to be rich means to be white. It means something’s wrong.”

Words which have dire consequences when repeated time and again among the wide-eyed illiterate mobs wielding machetes as they gather at the farm gates clamoring for vengeance. Their chants reminiscent of the yelping packs of drooling hyenas stalking the Savannah. Barbaric scenes that seem to personify the primitive culture that is perfectly memorialised in Conrad’s classic story Heart of Darkness.

 

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