here are some pictures taken between 2010 and 2012 on visits to Limpopo to speak (mainly) with Transvaal Agricultural Union (TAU) members about farm violence. When the TAU split from Agri SA in the late 1990s it was largely because of differences on land reform policy and interpretations of farm violence.
The TAU felt – and its leaders continue to feel – that farm attacks go beyond crime, approaching the level of terrorism.
In commercial farming districts in Limpopo, North West and Mpumalanga, where the TAU is strong, there’s a more aggressive, separatist set of sights and symbols to go with the outraged tone of the TAU’s rhetoric. And yet the TAU isn’t blind to the fact that this image jars with broad sections of South African society.
In 2010, for example, the northern chapter even staged a media tour with the aim of demonstrating that guns and electrified fences were reasonable responses to the security crisis in Limpopo. Unfortunately, although all the journalists had a jol learning to use an array of firearms, very few carried the intended message with them. If anything the brandy-loosened chat around the evening campfires (not to mention the ever present hand guns worn outside khaki shorts) enforced long-standing stereotypes about Afrikaans farmers.
Large tracts of the countryside are undoubtedly crying out for extreme image makeovers. At the risk of sounding facetious there might even be a business idea in this, or the basis for a reality TV show.