Canadian alt-right political activist, Lauren Southern, has released a documentary called ‘Farmlands‘ which promises to be an expose on the cruelty faced by white South Africans. Through video snippets on her twitter account, Lauren attempts to paint a picture in which BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) laws as well as brutal farm murders have left the country’s white minority destitute and fearing for their lives.
South Africa’s government has taken jobs from the white minority with its Black Economic Empowerment laws & with many of them destitute, they are refused help because of their skin colour. I visited one place that actually wants to help. WATCH: https://t.co/uJScEglyId #Farmlands pic.twitter.com/icQZc5JuLZ
— Lauren Southern (@Lauren_Southern) February 21, 2018
However, this documentary has thus far proven to be rife with misinformation. The reality is that the majority of white South Africans do not face this type of poverty. In fact, recent studies from BusinessTech have revealed shocking disparities between the wages of black and white South Africans – with white male professionals earning almost double that of black male professionals. In 2017, Quartz Africa illustrated an employment landscape which starkly contradicts Lauren Southern’s – one in which black unemployment sits at 31.4% as compared to the 6.6% among white people. These statistics are particularly troubling when noting that white people make up a mere 8.9% of the total South African population; using discretion alone, one can easily see that white South Africans hold a disproportionately large amount of wealth.
This can be traced to various operations which took place under the Apartheid government, such as the Migrant Labour System and Group Areas Act (1950). To simplify, the Apartheid government displaced millions of black South Africans from land which was rightfully theirs and implemented policies to ensure that they would remain destitute. Additionally, the Bantu Education Act (1953) guaranteed that black South Africans would receive inadequate education in order to perpetuate a cycle in which they remained subservient laborers. Despite the end of Apartheid roughly 24 years ago, black South Africans remain burdened by legacies of poor education, racial discrimination and the loss of their land – which was never returned.
This, of course, is why BBBEE (Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment) was introduced – an attempt to rectify the unemployment inequalities across South Africa. Furthermore, current President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced his support of “expropriation without compensation” – a principle which will see stolen land being responsibly redistributed among black agricultural workers. A new education plan has also been set in motion which will offer financial assistance to students who cannot afford to attend tertiary institutions.
Yet, not everybody seems joyful about the prospect of supporting equality. ‘Farmlands‘ strategically exploits the tragic instances of recent farm murders in order to create a “white genocide” agenda in South Africa. It is true that, between 2016 and 2017, 74 farm murders have occurred – with 61% of victims being white. However, the National Operational Coordinating Committee has previously been unable to prove that these crimes are purely racially motivated.
Furthermore, Lauren fails to mention that many of these “whites-only refugee camps” are in fact racist “white-only enclaves” – something that the Western Cape ruling party has recognized and spoken out against.
So why does Lauren Southern feel the need to spread the message of an impending white doom? The issue lies in the attitudes of white South Africans who are unable to cope with emerging black power. The fact is that the Apartheid government legislated the black population into poverty; consequently, the white minority was all but guaranteed employment and success even if they were unqualified. Mail & Guardian contributor, Khaya Dlanga, expressed his view that many white South Africans feel as though they deserve employment simply by virtue of being white. We are now seeing the manifestations of their attitude in their resentment towards the black population.
The issue here is that the apartheid government legislated black people into poverty and white people into wealth. Thus many felt that it was their right to be wealthy by virtue of being white, therefore, a black person doing better than them was unfathomable and unjust. https://t.co/eCCV2toGE5
— Khaya Dlanga (@khayadlanga) February 22, 2018
Head of ISS Africa, Ottilia Anna, amply stated that the documentary could’ve been condensed into 10 seconds:
“Why are you angry?”
“Because Apartheid ended.”
That whole “documentary” could have been 10 seconds short.
“Why are you angry?”
— Ottilia Anna M 🦁 (@MaS1banda) February 22, 2018