At Newcastle in northern KwaZulu-Natal, the first Saturday of spring was a time of mourning and protest rather than celebration yesterday. Just a week ago, Glen and Vida Rafferty were killed on their farm outside the nearby hamlet of Normandien in a pattern thousands refused to accept any longer.

From an open strip of land on the fringe of Newcastle, between 800 and 1 000 tractors, trucks and cars set off bumper-to-bumper in a procession to the Rafferty home on a route flanked by 500 hundred crosses erected on each side of the rural road. Organisers estimated some 3 000 people took part.

The convoy proceeded peacefully – and tearfully at the end, with the laying of flowers at the entrance to the Raffertys’ property.

Flowers laid at the entrance to the farm of murdered couple, Glen and Vida Rafferty. Picture: Gabriel Crouse

There, a large banner conveyed the farming community’s plea: ‘President Ramaphosa – How Many More Must Die?’

The grim scale of South Africa’s farm attacks featured prominently in Move One Million protest gatherings across the country yesterday – and even in London’s Trafalgar Square.

Protesters in Trafalgar Square. Picture: Faye Slater

In London, the guest speaker, South African-born BBC Africa Editor Martin Plaut, told the crowd of about 600: ‘What happened to the leaders’ belief in justice and freedom? We must have the courage that our history tells us we have. We must have the freedom.’

In Newcastle, locals heard about the protest by word-of-mouth, described as the ‘bush-telegraph’, and showed up from across the district. Those interviewed expressed clear points of interest on the broader political issues.

Bheki Magudulela explained why he had joined the protest. ‘We are supporting each other. There should be no killing anymore. White or black, we are all one.’

Placards on one of the farm vehicles in the procession. Picture: Gabriel Crouse

Another local, Jason Slambert, said; ‘We’re all here as a team, together we can make a difference.’

An elderly farmer who asked to be identified simply as Vusi said that, in his community, ‘we don’t look at the colour, we look at what people are doing’. Referring to the murder of Glen and Vida Rafferty, he said, pointing to his family: ‘Next time it’s going to be me, or one of us.’

He added: ‘We don’t know the killer, the killer is wearing a mask.’

Participants in the protest like those in endorsed calls for political leaders to take farm attacks more seriously, both in word and deed, and emphasised the solidarity of the community across creed, colour and class.

According to the Transvaal Agricultural Union, there were 586 farm murders between 2010 and 2019.

In the Rafferty case, some expressed uncertainty about the motive. Farmer Karel Swanepoel said: ‘I wasn’t there myself, but from what neighbours say nothing was stolen, so theft does not appear to be the motivation.’

As in other protests yesterday, those who joined the procession to Normandien called for a general reduction of crime, corruption and maladministration.

13 COMMENTS

  1. Farm murders will stop when there are no more white farmers to murder.

    It’s an accepted, though unwritten policy of the ANC. Ramaphosa has no power to stop it!

    We all know this.

  2. cyril useless , not fit to be president… he just remains quiet like Mabuza.. they both in huge denial but the karma works, it will come back onto them… for every action there is a reaction.. and the people ALL fed-up..they will eventually revolt… and the constitution that all and sundry quote is useless….

  3. Farm murders are terrible but lets be honest – we dont know if there is a political agenda or not. Farms are isolated and easy targets and it takes a long time for help to arrive, which is just how criminals like it.

    • These murderers are all cowards and farmers are easy targets given their ages and locations. The farmer must be vigilant and have his weapons at his side at all times NOT in safe!!!! This is Rhodesia all over again!

  4. This must end or else we will move onto civil war to sort these murderous parasites. It is organized and the ANC \ EFF \ BFLF is enjoying it. That is what the ANC planned since the start. Ramaposa was interviewed in the USA and he said to the reporter, there is no such thing as farm murders or the killing of whites and land grabs.
    Karma is catching up to you MR. PRESIDENT ! You said you want to boil white people like frogs. Slowly so that we cannot realize what the black people are going to do with us.

  5. The ANC has lost the halo it was bestowed upon it as the brineger of democracy to Seffrica in 1994. Everyday the rising crime rate, the massive corruption, the nepotism, the self enrichment, the massive incompetence practiced by the ANC, iit racist laws in respect of Affirmative Action, the results of which can be labeled a crime against the people of Seffrica, exonerates the former National Party govenment in respect of allged opression of blacks and proves former prime Minister HF Verwoerd to be a real prophet when he warned that black rule by the ANC will be bad for everybody in Seffrica but especially for blacks.

    The ANC slip is showing: it has become the biggest crime syndicate Seffrica has ever known. It steals from everybody, the tax payers, the public, even our next generation. It has condemned millions to unemployment and poverty. It hs created the biggest bloatest yet least productive civil service ever. It hs demonstrated their absolute disdain fo the Constitution and the Rule of Law. Corruption and incompetence is in their DNA, they can not be cured.

  6. Bring back the Commandos. For those who don’t remember they were a quasi rural force consisting mainly of farmers who’s sole purpose was to protect vulnerable land owners. Being a terrorist organisation themselves the ANC were frightened out of their wits at the thought of a functioning armed organisation. Din’t want anyone to copy their methods.

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