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Bloody Harvest

Bloody Harvest

by Liz Vercueil / 13.01.2010

So, it took only five days for the first South Africa farm killing of 2010 to take place. An elderly couple were killed on their Free State farm in what emergency personnel described as a massacre. Stabbed and shot in their own house, to be more precise. You wouldn’t think that being a farmer would justify danger pay, but you’d be wrong. In fact, in South Africa more farmers are murdered than cops, and that takes some doing. I could go into statistics about this, but you don’t have six weeks to read this article, and I don’t have the stomach left to research it. So let’s just stick to the last month or so.

Since the beginning of December at least eight people living on farms have been murdered and more than 12 farm attacks took place. These are just preliminary estimates, though. The numbers will inevitably tick upwards.

The question that begs answering is, of course, why?

In the vast majority of farm murders and attacks very little is stolen. Maybe a cellphone, or a car that will inevitably be abandoned or driven off the road as part of the mostly successful escape. Any conspiracy theorist will, at this point, be able to latch onto some possibilities. Is it political? Is there an organised campaign against white farmers? They are the one’s getting slaughtered, after all, and we do live in a country drenched in every kind of discrimination available. Or is theft without a side serving of murder just too last Wednesday to indulge in these days?

South Africa sees more people murdered on a daily basis than most warzones, so does it matter whether the victim’s a farmer? If you consider that farmers feed the nation and without them you’d have to dig up your garden, plant a mielie or ten and learn how to butcher your dinner, it does matter. Or if your family lives on a farm, like mine.

So what’s the solution? Build a fortress? Buy seven enraged, racist Rottweilers and keep them hungry while hoping they don’t devour your toddler?

The most practical advice, in my opinion, is to re-institute the commando system, which functioned as part of the defence force. This system allowed farmers to patrol and protect their land in conjunction with the military, and was erased shortly after 1994. Apparently for being way too politically incorrect.

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  1. Bruce says:

    The saying used to go’ ‘don’t criticise a farmer with your mouth full’ – but it probably needs a more cinical makeover.

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  2. dylan says:

    this is a very sad story, especially it being an older couple.

    but that said i have had the experience of living on a plot when i was younger and got
    to witness first hand how a lot of these farmers treated there staff. 
    there living conditions were appalling and salaries were far below minimum wage.

    having recently returned from a trip to the northwest province i was amazed as to how little
    had changed. a lot of these farmers seem to be stuck in a time warp and there attitude and
    treatment of there black staff has not changed much.

    this tied in with the fact that a hand full of white wealthy farmers still own 90 percent of the farm land in this country probably fuels a lot of resentment in the largely disadvantaged communities around these farms. 

    this could explaining why, in a lot of these murders, nothing is stolen.  it’s largely done out of 
    revenge or resentment. as with a lot of violent crime in south africa ( the figure is as high as two-thirds ) the people usually know each other or live in the same community.

    when all someone has is pride there is very little to stop them committing atrocities when 
    even this is taken away from them.

    this is just my opinion, i am in no way condoning any form of violence against anyone. 

    i seriously doubt bringing back any kind of “commando” style policing is going to solve
    any problems. i have lived through that and served my time in the army once already, it
    didn’t help then and i doubt very much it will help now.

    what we need is for people to wake up and change there attitudes and start treating each other with the same amount of respect and dignity they would expect themselves.

    a country, like a chain, is only as strong as it’s weakest link.


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  3. Perfecto says:

    A human rights lawyer (friend of mine) lived on a plot, the local farm workers/squatter camp residence used his house to have meals that he provided use his bathroom swimming pool ECT he paid the people that worked for him exceptionally well and provided them with excellent housing. Two of his unskilled “friends” asked him for a job, he immediately employed them as permanent gardeners and the promptly went ahead and killed him, with garden implements next to “their” swimming pool. Sorry Dylan you will have to find the “fault” else were. O yes the commando style policing did work and surely it is better than nothing. So Dylan good luck and watch your back you might not be as save as you think.

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  4. liz says:


    way less than 90% of arable agricultural land is in white hands at present. Land reform has actually been going on for more than a decade now.

    Here’s a link on that (if you understand afrikaans):

    This is one of many restitution cases that have been settled. Additionally the government doesn’t even know how much land is owned by black farmers.

    Read this:

    Successful farmers don’t treat their staff poorly. They wouldn’t be successful if they did.

    And no-one asks to be murdered. Or deserves it. If treating people poorly was reason enough I’d have killed at least 70 people by now. And I’m not even 40.

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  5. Lisa says:

    I have to agree with Dylan. All the bad karma from apartheid is gonna bite us in the ass. wake up people! we are all in this together. I cant even imagine what it must like to be poor and black. i think that as white people we need to show some respect to our fellow citizens who have been deprived and mistreated for so long. i mean what would u do if people treated u as bad as we treated them for the last 300 years.

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  6. Nathan Zeno says:

    Previous comment courtesy of 1989

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  7. Dave says:

    dylan, never thought about that before man. some good points

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  8. Jeff says:

    BBC World broadcast a docu about violent attacks in SA last Sunday, well worth seeing. Scared Afrikaner families hiding behind fences and turning to church for comfort, people buying into gated golf communities. A few people portraited were less scared and tried to blend in the ‘new south africa’, a preacher and a salesman who worked on an otherwise black street market. They seemed to be more relaxed about it all and at least looked happier.
    Next SA docu thus sunday at 11.30.

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  9. forget the rhino says:

    To the Previously Disadvantaged

    We are sorry that our ancestors were intelligent, advanced and daring
    enough to explore the wild oceans to discover new countries and develop

    We are sorry that those who came before us took you out of the bush and
    taught you that there was more to life than beating drums, killing each
    other and chasing animals with sticks and stones.

    We are sorry that they planned, funded and developed roads, towns,
    mines, factories, airports and harbours, all of which you now claim to
    be your long deprived inheritance giving you every right to change and
    rename these at your discretion.

    We are sorry that our parents taught us the value of small but strong
    families, to not breed like rabbits and end up as underfed, diseased,
    illiterate shack dwellers living in poverty.

    We are sorry that when the evil apartheid government provided you with
    schools, you decided they’d look better without windows or in piles of

    We happily gave up those bad days of getting spanked in our all white
    schools for doing something wrong and much prefer these days of freedom
    where problems can be resolved with knives and guns.

    We are sorry that it is hard to shake off the bitterness of the past
    when you keep on raping, torturing and killing our friends and family
    members, and then hide behind the fence of ‘human rights’ with smiles on
    your faces.

    We are sorry that we do not trust the government. We have no reason to
    be so suspicious because none of these poor hard working intellectuals
    have ever been involved in any form of corruption or ‘irregularities’.

    We are sorry that we do not trust the police force and, even though they
    have openly admitted that they have lost the war against crime and
    criminals, we should not be negative and just ignore their corruption
    and carry on hoping for the best.

    We are sorry that it is more important to you to have players of colour
    in our national teams than winning games and promoting patriotism. We
    know that sponsorship doesn’t depend on a team’s success.

    We are sorry that our border posts have been flung open and now left you
    competing for jobs against illegal immigrants from our beautiful
    neighbouring countries. All of them countries that have grown into
    economic powerhouses after kicking out the ‘settlers’.

    We are sorry that we don’t believe in witchcraft, beetroot and garlic
    cures, urinating on street corners, virginity testing, slaughtering of
    bulls in our back yards, trading women for cattle and other barbaric

    Maybe we just grew up differently.

    We are sorry that your medical care, water supplies, roads, railways and
    electricity supplies are going down the toilet because skilled people
    who could have planned for and resolved these issues had to be thrown
    away because they were of the wrong ethnic background and now have to
    work in foreign countries where their skills are more needed.

    We are so sorry that we’d like this country to fulfill its potential so
    we can once again be proud South Africans.

    Previously Advantaged

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  10. Cath says:

    Guys! This is a hard one. I read Rian Malan’s “My Traitor’s Heart” over the chill time and still haven’t worked out why these things happen/ed, who’s to blame and how to fix it. READ IT

    We have to try however. Try try try and a bit of hope. I don’t think we can be a generation of blame anymore.
    Compasion, education, patients and a hellava lot of time.

    It’s no more them and us bullshit people. We are it. We are the future of our country.
    We are all advantaged now. We can think freely. It’s what we do with this thought that counts.

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  11. der kommissar says:

    forget the rhino – bitterness and cynicism of this nature probably won’t go down well with mahala’s readers. are you part of the problem or part of the solution?

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  12. Afrimoon says:

    At least forget the rhino is showing some signs of ANGER


    Unlike the limp-wristed masses we’re so sorry about everything till jesus come (which coincides with the end of the reign of the ANC)

    Directed ANGER leads to ACTION – good or bad

    Which can also be said of farm murderers

    The only differentiating factor is character, which is what makes us human, of which a farm murderer has nothing

    Hang them

    0 tolerance worked for the streets of New York

    Since when is mahala all about being PC?

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  13. montle the homeless homo says:

    when i was in boarding school in bloemfontein this one kid sais to me ” ja, once my father caught one of the blacks stealing a sheep so he shot him with a 4-10 shot gun and burried him in an ant hill, theres millions of anthills on our farm”

    another farm story classic from boarding school is ” we hit our dogs with the workers overalls so they hate the smell of blacks and get angry whenever a kaffir comes around”

    i dont dig farmers that much, i like the work they do but most of them are a bunch of cunts…i’m going to be a farmer one day and im going to be one mean cunt, piss on my tomatoes AND CABBAGES and sell them to wholesale markets…then im going to rape my livestock, cum inside them and sell you the meat….

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  14. Davey says:

    If the saying is true that “the people of a country get the government that they voted for” then the people of SA must prefer violence. Otherwise they would have already voted for another party that promised to eradicate it. The real fear lies in the majority of people in SA when they cast their vote,considering our past having the balls to take another direction takes a lot of courage.

    What goes around comes around, where is Peter Mokaba these days?

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  15. Sleaze says:

    Peter Mokaba died in 2002 most likely from an an aids related illness, he was an MP and prominent AIDS denialist. Fitting then given his views on our agricultural producers that no amount of garlic, onion and African potatoes were able to offset the onset of the disease. No farmers attending his funeral.

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  16. Sleaze says:

    should be attended though if it was in in the present tense sure the turn out will be the same

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  17. Jason says:

    Violence is part of this country’s history, and is proving to be part of the future.

    Cath, I too (re)read My Traitors Heart in the last while. I couldn’t believe the shit described in there – and it’s all tribal/cultural shit – however you cannot simply polarise your views based on the colour/culture line. The white ‘tribes’ were pulling some pretty hectic shit too in the name of their own gods and ancestors.

    Montle, for a seemingly intelligent writer you happen to spew the foulest bullshit I’ve seen since since Zeno’s naked lumps on my screen. If you’re trying to be taken seriously tone down the vitriol. It’s been done elsewhere, eons ago, with far better effect. Man up.

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  18. Oh Yeah says:

    Yeah its all fucked. Dont worry, the whole continent will get gentrified by the NWO soon enough.

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  19. emmanence says:

    there is so much here to respond to I don’t even know what to write or where to start, so I’m going to confine myself to one comment:
    Re NY’s 0 tolerance policy – read Freakonomics for the analysis that shows that actually the decrease in crime was due to other factors, that happened to coincide with that period of time, 0 tolerance doesn’t really shift things, transformation that concentrates on people’s dignity, worth and equality does.

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  20. tdww says:

    I would be intrigued to see proper evidence of the so-called conspiracy against white farmers. Everything that I have read about this seems slightly anecdotal, reports from Human Rights Watch notwithstanding. Do a search on the internet and all you find is a barrage of websites authored by right wing nuts. Anyone point me to some sane academic studies about the murder rate amongst South Africa’s white farmers?

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  21. Optional says:

    In our country ignorance certainly is not bliss.

    “What we’ve got here is… failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it… well, he gets it. I don’t like it any more than you men.”

    We have a clear case of an Irresistible Force Meeting the Immovable Object.

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  22. montle the homeless homo says:

    Intelligence is not my kinda thing, violence is.

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  23. meent b says:

    It doesn’t take a genius to see that our country has huge problems…that is if, every once in a while, you tune to a different radio station. One that does not feed you american/brittish chart toppers and political correct and overly optimistic bullshit.

    Feeling guilty and being made to feel guilty for the previous generation’s mistakes is not in our best interest, neither in the interest of our beautifull country. Can’t you see that it is used as an excuse and means to cover-up corruption and incompetence. What is in the best interest of our future as South Africans is to forget our weaknesses and past mistakes, since we’e all have many and have made terrible ones, and rather take pride in all the great things we’ve done here e.g world-class infrastructure and efficient and first class institutions and systems that has been inherited from Apartheid. We should try to protect and further this positive legacy and leave behind, though not forget, the negative one.

    To all those who are so openly against white farmers: Fuck you! It’s not as if they we’re the only ones who partook in Apartheid, though all the blame gets dumped on them. Do you, as city-dweller pay for your cleaning lady’s shack/rdp house in the township? Pay her electricty bill? Give her fresh produce from your garden patch in the back yard? Do you have to keep her alive, at 24h00 on a Saturday evening, while she lies on your kitchen floor, blood spurting from a head-wound, after she was stabbed by her drunk sister. This while the ambulance takes two hours to reach you, because of a myriad of reasons. Who is the pig now? The apathetic city-dwellers? The department of Health? The Police Force? The individual’s themselves? Or the farmer? – See, it is easy to judge and generalize, so let us just all drop the act!

    Regarding the topic, let us not forget that killing a person is a crime, and a hideous one at that. No amount of rationalisation and relatavistic “buts” can justify an act like that. That is just bad reasoning. It is a terribly sad thing that so many South Africans, white and black, gets murdered every day. It is not something to be taken lightly by anyone, including our government.

    Closing staemnet: We should all remember that there are basic rules of conduct that are unambiguous. If everyone sticks to that we will be fine. The Golden Rule for example. Furthermore, let us stop the childish bickering that only stems from our own insecurities and focus on the important things like education, healthcare, a solid legal and policing sytem and infrastructure development.

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  24. Nicholas says:

    Lets stop killing each other and build the nation malema wake up and smell the coffee i am black and ANC member we cant live in dark we need whites

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