n Acta Criminologica: Southern African Journal of Criminology - The socio-political background of farm attacks in South Africa

Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1012-8093



The dynamics of farm attacks are much more complicated than is usually envisaged. Although many of the farm attacks seem to be of a criminal nature and are often attributed to prevailing socio-economic conditions in especially rural areas, these attacks reveal certain trends and patterns which could point to a possible interplay of ulterior motives (NICOC 1997:9). Those who attempt to isolate a single cause for these attacks are indeed very naive in their approach while also totally underestimating the complexity of the phenomenon. Farm attacks must be studied within the total socio-political-economical interaction of the revolutionary and post-apartheid environment. Moolman (1998:59-81) identifies the following twelve possible causes for farm attacks in South Africa, i e. hatred, negative perceptions and racial relations, lost morals, a culture of violence, illegal firearms, socio-economic conditions, farmers regarded as outlaws, unfulfilled expectations, public hearings of the TRC, redistribution of land, escaping justice and revenge.

This article focuses on the discussion of the perceptions and experiences of apartheid among some blacks as it emerged from various interviews and literature study and reveals the sometimes distorted arguments which the revolutionary movements used to motivate their followers to become actively involved in the struggle. The sometimes biased political views on apartheid offered in this article are not the views of the author, but represent the political views of the revolutionary alliance which they communicated to their followers and made them to believe. Many counter-arguments can be offered against these biased viewpoints. This is, however, not the aim of this article and would be counter-productive. Producing counter-arguments to these biased political arguments of the revolutionary alliance will bring this article nothing closer in identifying the extent of the intense hatred which developed against the Afrikaner and which is currently, to a great extent, responsible for some of the attacks on the farming community in South Africa (Moolman 1998:13).

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