President Donald Trump announced late on Wednesday that he had asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to study South African land and farm seizures and killing of farm owners, by implication of white race. The African National Congress (ANC)-controlled government in Pretoria accused the President of stoking racial divisions in the country, while his haters at home attacked him for supposedly adopting a White Nationalist talking point.
All hell broke loose after Trump tweeted on August 21, after a FoxNews report by Tucker Carson, that he had asked Pompeo to “closely study land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers” in South Africa. A spokeswoman for President Cyril Ramaphosa responded that “South Africa totally rejects this narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past.” Domestic Trumpophobes went berserk. “The President of the United States has adopted a vile white supremacist hate narrative,” according to the HuffPost, “right out of the darkest corners of the internet, and is turning it into policy.”
Trump’s “hate narrative,” as it happens, is based on horrid facts. Over ten percent of all Afrikaner commercial farmers have been murdered since 1994, which makes them more vulnerable than active-duty personnel of the U.S. Special Forces in Iraq or Afghanistan. Between 1994 and March 2012, there had been an estimated 1,336 murders of whites on South African farms. This is by far the highest homicide rate for any distinct racial/socioeconomic group in South Africa, and one of the highest for a statistically comparable group anywhere in the world.
The last comprehensive government analysis of farm attack victims by race was conducted 18 years ago, when the South African Police’s Crime Information Analysis Centre stated that of the 1,398 people attacked on farms, 61.6% were white. At that time whites already accounted for barely 10 percent of South Africa’s population, which indicates that they were targeted as whites. Gideon Meiring, head of the Transvaal Agricultural Union’s Safety & Security Committee, accused the police of failing to prevent farm attacks, saying “they are not part of the solution but part of the bloody problem.” Kallie Kriel of AfriForum accused politicians, including Agriculture Minister Lulu Xingwana, of inciting hatred against white farmers: “Those who inflame hate and aggression towards them have to be regarded as accomplices to the murders of farmers.”
Racial statistics on crime are no longer collected by the South African government for reasons easy to understand. Contrary to some claims in the media, the problem of racist murders of white farmers has become considerably more serious since 2011, even with the reduced number of potential victims. Back in 2012, Reuters reported that the number of farmers of European descent had decreased by one third since 1997, and that continuing farm killings provided incentive for them to sell their properties. A spike in violent attacks on farmers in February 2017 led to the country’s largest prayer meeting ever being held on 22–23 April 2017 in Bloemfontein, attracting over 1,000,000 participants. The mainstream media in the United States ignored both this massive gathering and the tragic saga behind it.
Last March Australian immigration minister Peter Dutton suggested white South African farmers should receive special visas due to the “horrific circumstances” they faced at home, and that they “deserve help from a civilized country.” Only three weeks ago (August 1) South African president Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the ruling ANC would seek to change the country’s constitution to explicitly allow the expropriation of white-owned land without any compensation.
Not just the farmers, the entire Afrikaner nation is literally disappearing. From close to four million two decades ago, its numbers have fallen to under three million today. Emigration is fueled by soaring crime rates, by ethno-racial rural cleansing, and by legally mandated antiwhite economic and employment policies enacted and pursued by the ANC government. A program known as Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) has left hundreds of thousands of skilled whites unemployed and destitute, while giving jobs to incompetent blacks and causing incalculable losses to the country’s economy.
The same problem is also affecting up to two million English-speaking whites who till remain in the country, but their bonds to South Africa’s soil have always been looser than that of the descendants of the 16th-century Dutch and Huguenot settlers. Unlike most of his English-speaking neighbors, the Afrikaner has no reserve motherland across the sea. He has lost South Africa and has the choice of being destroyed by her vast heterogeneity or emigrating to Australia or Canada or New Zealand.
Apartheid has been one of the most demonized words in any Western language for decades. Yet it had ceased to denote a political concept or a model of race relations long before its demise, becoming instead a metaphysical notion—on par with Hitler and fascism. As I explained in the pages of Chronicles a few years ago (“A Vanishing Nation,” February 2014), this was not so in April 1951, when the CFR journal Foreign Affairs explained to its readers that the trek-Boers, intensely religious Calvinists who placed a wide and deep gulf between themselves and the natives, acted in an understandable and fundamentally unobjectionable manner:
Only a powerful concern for the purity of race could have kept a numerically smaller society from miscegenation in the midst of a vast majority of natives. This belief in the rightness of the color bar was untouched by the liberalism of the West. To attribute Apartheid legislation to a desire to crush and to oppress subject races is a distortion. The Afrikaner is certain that only in separation, justly ordered and faithfully undertaken, can the two conditions—the preservation of the white race and the welfare of the black—be assured in South Africa.
South African problems cannot be solved by applying the principles of homogeneous European countries, Foreign Affairs further argued: “The Afrikaner Nationalists are often accused of the heresies of the Herrenvolk. To them, however, this is a superficial view. They believe that nationalism is a healthy instinct, intended by God to give expression to human purpose. They frankly refuse to accept the principles of liberalism as the final basis for the ordering of society.”
For that very reason, the Afrikaners became the Western elite class’s most-hated nation between the early 1960’s and 1994. The problem was not how they treated blacks, but who they were. The Afrikaner culture and identity are surprisingly similar to those of the American nation as it developed in the 19th century. Both had broken their political and emotional cords with Europe and developed a new identity, with a name to match. Both were religious and saw their tribulations in clearly Christian terms. Both wanted to be left alone, and were deeply antipathetic to any participation in Europe’s disputes. There was a difference: By the end of the 18th century the Americans were free to develop and expand as they deemed fit. The Afrikaners were never able to do likewise. To be left alone by the British, they trekked into the wilderness of the Free State and Transvaal. They fought Basutu warriors and Zulu impis, and in the end were forced to fight two wars against the biggest empire in history.
The Boers fought heroically but inevitably lost their war of independence against the British in 1899-1902. Tens of thousands of Boer women and children perished of starvation and disease in British concentration camps which were set up by Lord Kitchener to sweep the country bare of everything that could give sustenance to the guerrillas. The clearance of civilians amounted to the uprooting of an entire nation. Yet the Boers’ gradual recovery between the wars culminated in the Nationalist victory in 1948. At last we’ve got our country back, most Afrikaners felt, and proceeded to resist “the winds of change”—heralded by India’s bloody partition a year earlier—with a complex system that sought to keep the races firmly segregated indefinitely.
Had the Afrikaner nation been 20 or 30 million strong, the system could have been more viable in principle and less unjust in its application. It could have resulted in the creation of a “Volkstaat,” a new Boer republic capable, like today’s Israel (also since 1948) of independent existence in a hostile environment. The Afrikaners attempted the impossible, however: They tried to keep 87 percent of the land and resources for European-descended people who accounted for one fifth of the population half a century ago, and to place quotas on European immigration lest the Afrikaner majority within the white community be jeopardized.
Apartheid was neither irrational nor iniquitous ab initio, but successive Nationalist governments had made it so by confusing the ends and means of policy, and by making the system irredeemably odious to the majority in the process. Diplomatically astute in the aftermath of the Boer War—as manifested by the illustrious career of Field Marshal Jan Smuts—by the 1960’s Afrikaner leaders had lost the ability to assess the significance of global trends that threatened their long-term survival. Foremost among those was the transformation of the Western world.
By the late 1970’s Western elites had ceased to believe that nationalism is a healthy instinct and that God exists (let alone that He gives any expression to human purpose). White South Africa’s refusal to accept the principles of liberalism became grounds for relentless hostility to it on both sides of the Atlantic. The 1980’s saw the maturing of Western self-hate to such a degree that the white South African was inevitably developed into the demonic “other,” the unwelcome reminder of what they had been and what they had betrayed. Soldiering on under such circumstances abroad, while withstanding a native demographic explosion at home, had drained the Afrikaners’ energy and morale to the point where, two decades ago, they threw in the towel.
The subsequent ruin of the Afrikaner nation could be predicted with mathematical precision. It has been aided and abetted by the morally and culturally degenerate Western elite class. What the members of that class have done to Africa’s only white tribe, they are doing no less earnestly to the countries and nations they rule or dominate.
Trump cannot save the Boers, but he should be commended for drawing attention to their plight.
[Image via Ryanj93 [CC BY-SA 4.0]]