Some controversy on farm murder monument
09:00 (GMT+2), Wed, 13 June 2012
The annual pilgrimage of farmers and sympathetic parties to the so-called farm murder monument on the slopes of the Ysterberg alongside the N1 near Mokopane is set to take place on 2 June this year.
White crosses on a hillside honour those killed in farm attacks since 1994.
Photo: Sean Christie
The 1 600 white crosses on the hillside have been erected to honour those killed in farm attacks since 1994. Access to the site was on a whites-only basis when it was founded in 2004 but new owners, the Lennette Trust, threatened to remove the crosses unless the site became universally accessible.
Johan Willemse, a local historian and intermediary between the farm owners and interest groups, said the crosses now “commemorate Afrikaans, English, Portuguese, Sepedi...all the farmers who have died in farm attacks”. Willemse believes the monument is relevant for three reasons.
“Firstly it commemorates those who have died in farm attacks. Secondly, it is a visual sign of the murder of our agricultural community, and the consequent endangerment of food production in our country. Thirdly, it is a reminder of where we can find help in the holy trinity when words no longer work,” he said.
Willemse has registered the site as a municipal monument and is working towards having it declared a national monument.
Gavin Joachim, deputy director of the Trust for Community Outreach and Education, said it was problematic to commemorate victims of black on white farm violence only.
“Black on white violence is one aspect of farm violence, and farm violence is just one problem among much bigger problems to be found in South Africa’s rural areas, such as access to land and resources,” he said. Thabo Manyathi of the Association for Rural Advancement said the term farm attack reinforced an interpretation that saw farm violence as having a terrorist or military purpose, when there was absolutely no research to back this claim.
Issue date: 01 June 2012
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farm murders, monument, farmer, lennette trust, ysterberg, mokopane, violence, south africa