Land and Power in South Africa

In August, Donald Trump tweeted that he had ordered the State Department to look into "land and farm seizures and expropriations and the large scale killing of farmers" in South Africa, a country where the overwhelming majority of farms and farmland are owned by whites. 

In doing so, he introduced millions to a searing political war in South Africa, where calls for redistribution of white-owned land to millions of landless blacks have become overwhelming, and where the government may soon pursue a policy of land expropriation without compensation. Afrikaner groups have portrayed this as a war against them and have waged extensive campaigns to draw support from the far right in America and Europe, where they have claimed that white farmers are murdered at shocking rates, for political reasons. On right-wing media this is often portrayed as the beginning of a "white genocide," and the portrayed plight of whites in South Africa has become a rallying cry for white nationalists around the world. 

This project works to show the reality of the political battle over land in South Africa, where land ownership has become a hugely important political symbol. It will look to explore the truth of conflicting reports about farm murders, to hear from South Africans eager for land reform, and will involve embedding with one of the largest and most secretive Afrikaner groups, the Suidlanders, who are preparing for an apocalyptic conflict in the country.