The moral decay of farm murder denial


On Tuesday 29 August, AfriForum broke the news that there was a farm attack on a couple from Pietermaritzburg in KwaZulu-Natal. They were seriously assaulted on their farm while their attackers “Kill the Boer, kill the farmer” shouted.

The female victim was stabbed with a spear, but both luckily survived the attack. Thanks to the quick response of the local farming community and civilian security structures, six suspects, including those in the getaway vehicle, were apprehended.

Such stories rest heavily on your heart, even though some of us’ emotional response to the brutality that characterizes most farm attacks may have begun to fade after years of exposure. However, something else accompanied this horror story that made my stomach turn: Denial. Disgusting denial from people who called these poor victims liars before the blood on their farmhouse floor was even dry.

This kind of behavior speaks of something deeper – more specifically moral decay.

Why are farm murders the only violent crime where some people believe it is acceptable and praiseworthy to simply call the victims liars? Why are farm murders the only violent crime journalists joke about on social media? Why are farm murders the only violent crime where those who raise awareness are insulted, ridiculed and slandered? Why are farm murders the only violent crime where insane levels of proof are required? Why is farm murder the only violent crime encouraged and romanticized by politicians? Why are farm murders the only violent crime where the party’s immediate reaction is to hastily quote South Africa’s general murder statistics like a mantra, instead of showing sympathy and empathy?

All explanation that makes sense is that many people have fallen victim to moral decay. Moral decay that is tolerated and excused. I think one of the most obvious features of our time is the fact that those who shout the loudest about racism or prejudice are often the biggest culprits when it comes to these hideous traits.

I grew up in an agricultural community. Most of my friends came from farms, which means I spent a lot of time on farms as a child. From childhood I was exposed to farming as a noble profession. Like dr. Dirk Hermann already wrote: “(Many of) them may not live on farms, but there is a piece of farm in every Afrikaner”. Dr. Wikus Buys says there is a reason why English speakers speak of a “yard”, while Afrikaners have a “backyard”. Our culture is so intertwined with farming that we are collectively known as the Boers.

Afrikaners who do not farm themselves have relatives or friends who farm. There is therefore an inherent reason why the issue of farm murders is so close to Afrikaners’ hearts. Today my Afrikaner heart bleeds once again for our farmers and I pray for their safety. However, I also pray for those who have become so cold and heartless; I pray that God will restore their broken moral compasses.

NP van Wyk Louw was right when he wrote: “Indeed, the ‛dark forces’ of selfishness, stupidity, unreasonableness are stronger in man than reasonableness”.

Organizations like AfriForum will continue to fight despite the monsters we encounter. We are not discouraged. Not even close.