„How could I go somewhere else?“

White farmers in South Africa
24th of september 2002
Deutschlandfunk/Westdeutscher Rundfunk/Saarländischer Rundfunk co-production
Feature Programme
(duration: 56 minutes; audio excerpt: 4´55

How should one imagine a typical South African farmer? Blond, sturdy men in khaki-shorts and wollen socks pulled over their calves, a weapon for self-defense in their hand and a yearning for the good old times? Or did they accept the fact that since the abolition of Apartheid in 1994 they live in a new South Africa, governed by blacks? Most of the farmers are Boers, thus traditionally a conservative group. Under Apartheid they were one of the most loyal pillars of the racist regime. Now, some are worried, some are terrified at the sight of their uncertain future. Nearly every month a farmer gets murdered – the culprits are rarely caught. Is the motive for the murder robbery? Or rather the explosion of pent-up rage against the racist of yesterday? As a consequence, the farmers have started to arm themselves to the teeth; some even recruit members for their own little paramilitary. How do the farmers think after eight years of the so-called new South Africa? Are they still fighting for their own „Volksstaat“ or do they feel an integral part of the post-Apartheid State? Did they come to terms with the past by recognizing their mistakes or rather by sweeping them under the carpet? A lot of things point to a torn, polarized society – but a closer look shows first signs of rapprochement, of remorse, of a fresh start. Totally out of the question remains the option of emigration, as one farmer puts it: „How could I go somewhere else? I´m an African. My skin is just white.“