By Pinky Khoabane
Farmers protesting against farm killings. Some were holding the old SA flags & Burning the SA Flag
UNTIL a few hours ago when I met a source for a story I’m writing – I had no idea today is Black Monday. A day when farmers are protesting against farm killings. Ironically these murders, for which there are protests across the country which have blockaded highways, are only of farmers and not of their workers, most of them Black, who are also victims of killings on farms.
Stories of workers killed on farms are plenty. Just last week, two farm workers who filmed themselves forcing Victor Mlotshwa into a coffin and threatening to set it alight were each sentenced to 10 years behind bars. There are numerous accounts, too many in fact, of farmer workers who are killed by their bosses and their hunter friends because they are “mistaken” for animals.
The numbers also dont back the exclusivity of the protests to only farmers. According to statistics, seventy-one (71) farmers were killed in the 2016/17 year in comparison to 19 000 of people killed in the entire country during the same period. Every life is precious and farmers’ lives are just as important as those of those killed every day.
The big question is why farmers view themselves as exclusive targets of what is a violent country in which we have all become victims. The answer is simply that racism has no logic. It is irrational. There is no reason for the farmers to protest without their workers, as a start, than simply that they dont view the lives of their workers as equal to theirs.
And this is the tragedy of racism. Throughout history racist ideology has been used as a rational defence for slavery and the apartheid separatist state. Racists have grouped human beings on the basis of the colour of their skin and other similar behaviours to rank each group against the other. Racists however, ultimately believe they are superior to other groups.
The organisers of the Black Monday would do well to give credibility to their protests by being inclusive and recognising that the killings of farmers are not exclusive to them alone. It is a scourge that has beset the entire nation – but then again South Africa isn’t a nation with a set of common values and united against a common enemy. And therein lies the tragedy of our country.