While black cultures in Africa were still referring to themselves by their tribal names, the white Europeans (mainly from the Netherlands and France) who emigrated to southern Africa in the 17th and 18th century were referred to after the continent in which they chose to settle, becoming the first to be called “Africans.”
They are still referred to as Africans in their native language Afrikaans: “Afrikaners” – and in English: “Africaners” or often they are simply referred to as “South Africans.”
The descendants of the early European pioneers, called the “boers” (farmers) would, from 1948 onward, through ruthless control, lead the country into an era of Apartheid. When the nation held its first democratic elections in 1994 and the African National Congress’s Nelson Mandela became president it was considered a model for peaceful transition of power to the people.
Alas, not all is well. Although there is no official declaration of war between or among religious or (the 14) cultural groups, the crime rate in the country resembles war. South Africans suffer the world’s highest rates in rape, child rape (babies being raped because it falsely believed to be a cure for AIDS), petty theft, vehicle theft and carjackings, fraud, corruption, and knife stabbings. South Africa is a social killing field.
“Kill the farmer”
South Africa also suffers one of the highest murder rates in the world: 37.3 per 100,000 – in comparison the murder rate in the USA is 5/100,000, in the EU it is 1/100,000, and in the rest of Africa is is 20/100,000. South Africa also has the highest murder rate of farmers: 246 per 100,000.
Yet, the chant continues: “Kill the boer, kill the farmer.”
The refrain is said to have been sung first by Peter Mokaba, then leader of the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL), in 1993, a year before the democratic elections. Some 2 decades after those famous elections the current leader of the ANCYL, Julius Malema, is calling on his followers to heed the chant again – in his words, “Shoot the boer.” And they are responding. In fact, since that first call, thousands of farmer have been murdered. This has led to farmers – even black farmers – to emigrate to other countries who are calling on their farming expertise. The result has been that the country has gone from an exporter of food to a nett importer of food.
On Earth and in Heaven
In 2004, then ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma, a self-proclaimed Christian, told supporters that those who voted for the party would be “blessed on Earth and in heaven.” During the 2011 elections Zuma, now ANC and South African president, speaking in Zulu, promised: “When you are carrying an ANC membership card, you are blessed. When you get up there, there are different cards used but when you have an ANC card, you will be let through to go to heaven.” Until then, farmers are killed almost daily.
In the meantime, they should instead consider to often and loudly recite South Africa’s greatest hero, Nelson Mandela: “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”