The Turners were targeted after nightfall on June 14 when two armed men stormed their farm. “They dragged me all over the house and put me under the shower and turned it on and left me for 15 minutes. I said ‘please don’t rape me, I’ve got HIV’.” Some time later, Oki was found slumped motionless covered in blood after being savagely beaten by the attackers searching for the key to the couple’s safe. Dozens of white farmers are murdered in similar circumstances in South Africa every year.
“My problem is that farm murders are racialised and politicised.” While black farmers have so far been largely reluctant to march with their white colleagues, they face many of the same risks.That we are not going to allow.” ‘I will go back’ Feeling abandoned by the government, many white farmers have taken steps to protect themselves.Some patrol their land under moonlight, pistols tucked into their belts, to deter would-be attackers.“We don’t feel protected by the government,” said Vuyo Mahlati, president of the African Farmers Association of South Africa.“We need to deal with everyone trying to utilise farming as a centre of a right-wing political discourse.The rural crime epidemic has inflamed political and racial tensions nearly a quarter-of-a-century after the fall of apartheid.Farm murders are just one issue that reveals how South Africa is struggling with violence, an economic slowdown and divisions along race lines.“There are political factors that play a role here.We are concerned about hate speech, political leaders who…‘We built this country’ That narrative has alarmed many white rural communities.“We’re being hunted,” said Pauli, a 43-year-old farmer who declined to give her surname.