Amanda Watson
News Editor
3 minute read
31 Oct 2017
6:45 am

#BlackMonday protest divides South Africans

Amanda Watson

Institute of Race Relations’ Dr Frans Cronje insists all is not lost.

Thousands of farmers and supporters of their cause joined mass rolling convoys around the country as part of #BlackMonday. One of those in convoys in Cape Town ended up at the Cape Town stadium area where prayers took place. Picture: David Ritchie/ANA

Enough is enough – aka #BlackMonday – was never about standing against something; it was about standing for hope, for peace, forgiveness, and unity.

That’s according to organisers Talita Basson and Daniel Briers, who were speaking after attending the funeral of farmer Joubert Conradie after he was gunned down during an attack on his farm in Klapmuts in the Western Cape.

Yet, despite their plea going out on Facebook, news of other attacks on farmers continued to break. Bokkie Potgieter, an elderly farmer in the Vryheid area, was hacked to death with a panga yesterday, said AfriForum’s Ian Cameron.

“The attacker was a known criminal and was arrested by the neighbouring farm’s labourers after he drove into a pole,” Cameron said.

Potgieter’s murder only proved the point AfriForum was trying to make, said Cameron. On one hand then, a worthy cause to some.

On the other, it seemed every white South African who had access to an old South African flag chose yesterday to wave it, which naturally raised tempers.

“To those who have been targeting white farmers, you are doing the Lord’s work for Africa. You are blessed,” said Zayks? (@NsikaXulu) on social media platform Twitter, reflecting the opinion of many people.

Across the racial chasm, Stop white genocide @SAGenocide tweeted a picture of a woman with what appeared to be deep cuts to her face and knuckles. “Woman stabbed over 9 times and cut trying to save her child from black savage bastards,” wrote @SAGenocide.

Yet, said the Institute of Race Relations’ (IRR) Dr Frans Cronje, all is not lost.

Referring to the IRR’s “Reasons to hope 2017”, which came on the heels of a particularly vocal 2016 for racists (Penny Sparrow, Vicki Momberg and Vanessa Hartley), the report noted; “The views of the overwhelming majority of South Africans are very different from the damaging vitriol to be found on social media and that often seems to dominate the race debate.

“Contrary to what many commentators claim, the 2016 survey shows that some 72% of South Africans report no personal experience of racism in their daily lives. In addition, more than half of respondents [55%] believe race relations have improved since 1994, while a much smaller proportion [13%] think they have worsened,” the report by IRR head of policy research Anthea Jeffery stated.

Cameron said he hoped government would do something bu he wasn’t expecting too much.

Indeed, police minister Fikile Mbalula’s outraged tweet to Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane over the old SA flag being waved appeared to be a brave effort at misdirection.

“…is this the #BlackMonday you’re in support of?” Mbalula asked. “What is this arrogant display of insensitive and disregard of our past?”

Mbalula would do “well to fight murder and crime, rather than insulting me by suggesting I support these flags or that regime”, Maimane shot back.

He may be feeling the pressure, with his party taking a stand against “all murders” instead of coming out for its traditional voter base and with elections in 2019, a wrong move could be costly.

With 19 016 people killed across South Africa in 2016-17, do 72 murdered farmers have a voice? “The murder rate for average South Africans is 34 per 100 000. For a farmer, it’s 156 per 100 000,” Cameron said.

“Let’s take the emotion out of it. “Without farmers, we won’t have food. “It’s as simple as that.”


ALSO READ: #BlackMonday – case of black and white?

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