Over a two-year time span, South African Claudine Van Wyk lost three beloved family members in a series of gruesome farm attacks in the troubled African nation.
Her story is hardly unique.
The horrendous violence that has become so common in South Africa is a terror that even cross-border violence or irrational violence against a religious minority doesn’t approach.
And the attacks are viewed by many experts as the signs of genocide, warning top government officials are inciting, if not participating directly in it.
The trigger for the latest murder and mayhem against whites is the land owned by descendants of Europeans who arrived generations ago and built up what is now becoming known as “Rainbow Nation.”
Among those ramping up the hatred is South African President Jacob Zuma, who sings a song about genocide and is now seeking to expropriate white-owned farms without even providing compensation.
Here’s Zuma singing the genocide song:
More than a few experts and political leaders have suggested there is a nexus between many of the barbaric farm murders and the political efforts to confiscate the farms and properties of white South Africans.
The hatred fomented by political leaders often turns bloody and brutal beyond belief.
Van Wyk’s tragedy
Van Wyk’s aunt and uncle, Johan and Gloudien Van Rensburg, were brutally murdered on their farm in northern Limpopo in June 2012.
The husband, 77 at the time, died from gunshot wounds.
His wife, though, did not die at the scene. She suffered torture at the hands of her captors and was burned repeatedly, probably using cigarettes, Claudine Van Wyk told WND. She was also shot four times.
“She was paralyzed because they shot her three times in the back,” Van Wyk said, adding that a subsequent shot in the head did not to kill her.
Gloudien Van Rensburg, beaten to a pulp and left in a coma, died in the hospital two weeks later.
“I remember it so vividly,” Van Wyk said in an interview with WND. “It was terrible.”
The attack prompted her to get involved in campaigning against farm murders, which have claimed thousands of victims, often following some of the most horrific torture imaginable.
Two years after losing her aunt and uncle, the unthinkable happened: Van Wyk’s father, Sarel Janse Van Rensburg, was killed on his farm.
According to Van Wyk and news reports about the incident, the brutal attack happened while the 75-year-old farmer was taking a coffee break.
“The attackers came in, they tied him up, his hands and feet. I don’t know what exactly happened, but when we got there, the blood was everywhere,” she said. “At first we thought he was shot, but he wasn’t. They beat him with a pole, they broke his nose, and he passed away due to head injuries.”
In an unusual turn of events in South Africa, the police, with help from local farmers, caught the two criminals, who were sentenced to 25 years in prison.
But the pain will be with Van Wyk forever.
“It’s strange what trauma can do to you,” she said. “I was in such shock, I started to scream, in Afrikaans, ‘Why did they kill him, why did they kill him?’”
“When we got there, people said to me, ‘Please Claudine, you cannot see your dad, he is in bad shape,’” she recalled.
She insisted, though, and was horrified to see the scene.
“I could see he fought with them, because it was blood all over,” she said.
“It’s quite shocking to realize that your beloved ones have gone through such a tragedy and had such torment before death,” she said. “I was just thinking about what went through his head in this terrible time; it’s so shocking, it’s so horrible.”
The whole community was devastated, she said.
“My dad was so beloved by people in the community; he was friends with everybody, he was a legend,” Van Wyk said.
Holding back the emotion, Van Wyk compared it to a shark attack.
“It’s so brutal, when this happens to your family members, something dies within you, you just can’t believe it.”
Two years after her father’s murder, “by the grace of God,” she is starting to put the pieces back together and move on with life.
“But the effect on my body; your hair falls out, it crushes you emotionally, physically, spiritually,” she said. “The children who are left behind, I don’t think they can ever be whole again, because part of you has been ripped out – it’s like something you carry with you for the rest of your life.”
Farm murders explode
In South Africa, where political leaders routinely sing genocidal songs and demonize the white Christian Afrikaners as the source of all that ails the nation, Van Wyk’s story is common.
In fact, last month saw a new record of the number of farm attacks and farm murders, known as “plassmoorde” in Afrikaans, the language of Afrikaners who are descended from Dutch, French, German and other Christian Europeans.
According to Carte Blanche, an investigative news program on South African television, there were 16 recorded murders in 46 gruesome farm attacks across South Africa in February alone.
And even that may underestimate the total, as the government buries and conceal the data, often classifying the murders and tortures as “robberies.”
Others who have studied the issue, such as specialist investigator Mike Bolhuis of Project Farm Murders, say the numbers are as high as two to three farm murders per day.
The government also refuses to compile crime data based on race, further obscuring the truth about the extent of the problems.
Since the early 1990s, when white South Africans voted in a referendum to surrender power, the estimates of farm murders range between 2,000 and 4,000.
A monument to the victims features thousands of white crosses on a hill side.
Police figures show there have been some 15,000 farm attacks in that time period.
Some blacks have also been killed in farm attacks, though the torture and brutality appears to be largely absent.
There have been dozens of recorded farm murders so far in 2017, an average of one farm attack per day, according to South African media reports.
White South African farmers are between two and three times more likely to be murdered than even South African police officers.
They are also more likely to be killed than U.S. troops serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Other farm murders
The horror of many of the attacks make the murder of Van Wyk’s relatives look tame by comparison.
In one case last month that received international attention because the victims were British, a married couple was tortured for hours on their South African farm.
Among other horrors, the attackers tied up the victims, 64-year-old Sue Howarth and 66-year-old Robert Lynn, and tortured them for hours with a blowtorch.
A plastic bag was stuffed down Howarth’s throat after her breasts were burned beyond recognition, while her husband had a bag tied on his head and was cut up with a knife.
After hours of torture, the two victims were thrown in the back of their pickup truck and dumped on the side of the road. Both were also shot.
Another victim attacked last month was farmer Trevor Rees, who was tortured on his farm in southern Drakensberg.
He was forced to drink bleach, attacked with pliers, beaten for days and finally shot.
In yet another farm attack, this one in early March, an elderly woman was tortured with a power drill, with the attackers drilling holes in her while she was still alive.
As with so many victims of the farm attacks, she was left lying in a pool of her own blood.
In one farm attack in Parys that was recently brought up by the Afrikaner-dominated Freedom Front Plus Party in South Africa’s Parliament, a farmer’s testicles were cut off, cooked and eaten by the attackers.
Last March, 9-year-old Kayla Meyer was among the victims of a farm attack. The girl was beaten until she died of blunt trauma to the head.
Before that, the entire Potgieter family, including 2-year-old Wilmien, was savagely tortured to death on their farm.
Raping wives and children while the husbands and fathers are forced to watch is commonplace in the farm attacks.
Bibles are sometimes left on the victim’s mutilated bodies in what experts say is a sign of genocidal hatred.
The attacks are also increasingly moving into more populated areas.
In mid-March, a suburban home outside the capital of Pretoria was attacked, with the five victims tied up and then repeatedly stabbed. Just one survived.
In February 2014, Henk de Villiers was shot by three intruders.
The attackers also went for his wife, raping her and assaulting her before throwing her out the window and repeatedly kicking and striking her lifeless body.
Five police cars arrived at the scene of the crime, thinking that the farmer had shot black intruders, Ben Van Dyk, the son-in-law, told WND in a phone interview.
When they realized it was the other way around – the white farmer had been murdered by black attackers – “they just turned around and went back to the police station,” said Van Dyk, who works in South Africa’s booming private security sector.
“It’s been three years, and we still have not heard a word from the South African Police Service,” he added. “Nothing.”
It actually was the second attack on his in-laws’ farm. They had survived the first one, though the mother-in-law was shot in the hand and the father-in-law was stabbed.
One attacker was caught after the first attack. Some of the other attackers came to court and sat among the spectators, Van Dyk said, and when his parents-in-law pointed them out, authorities ignored them.
Relatives are afraid to pursue the case further, he said.
“All the politicians here, they are stirring up hatred against the whites, and it’s very dangerous,” Van Dyk told WND in a phone interview.
He believes powerful forces within and outside South Africa are plotting to exterminate the European-descent Afrikaner people.
When WND put out a request for interviews with survivors or family members of victims of farm attacks, there was an overwhelming response, with dozens of stories of unimaginable tragedy pouring in.
Ruling party: Bury them alive
Authorities in South Africa not only do not seem motivated to crack down on the savage crimes, they actually appear to be encouraging them.
During a discussion about the farm murders in Parliament on March 14, for example, Deputy Minister of Higher Education Mduduzi Manana, a member of the ruling African National Congress, shouted: “Bury them alive.”
Incitement to murder is a crime in South Africa, and multiple political figures have called for Manana to face charges and disciplinary measures.
“If Manana is a supporter of the brutal killing of fellow South African citizens, he does not belong in government, he belongs in jail,” said Front National spokesman Daniël Lötter. “Suspend him now!”
Eugene Brink, a political analyst at the Solidarity Research Institute, drew parallels with other genocides that have occurred in Africa.
“By his statements he concedes that the lives of farmers are worth nothing and that they do not have the constitutionally guaranteed right to life,” Brink said. “Statements such as his and those made by other politicians such as [Economic Freedom Fighters chief] Julius Malema, are inciting violence against white people in particular.
“This is the kind of rhetoric prominent Hutu leaders used against the Tutsi minority in the run up to the genocide in Rwanda,” Brink added. “It soon became more common and acceptable until it resulted in one of the worst ever genocides when about 800,000 people were killed in three months.”
But such remarks from leading members of the ANC, which rules South Africa in an alliance with the Communist Party, are hardly new.
In fact, even South African President Zuma, who leads the ANC and joined the Soviet-backed Communist Party when both parties were involved in terrorism against civilians, proudly sings genocidal songs calling for the extermination of whites – on national television.
Authorities also deliberately dismantled the “commando” self-defense units that once effectively provided security for rural areas.
Officials have also made it increasingly difficult for citizens to be armed for self-defense.
All of it points to a deliberate pattern, observers say.
Even years ago, top experts on genocide warned that there was evidence linking authorities to the escalating atrocities against white farmers.
Genocide Watch chief Gregory Stanton, a former anti-apartheid activist, visited South Africa in 2012 on a fact-finding mission and warned that the nation was showing signs that precede genocide, WND reported at the time.
“Things of this sort are what I have seen before in other genocides,” he said of the murdered white farmers. “This is what has happened in Burundi, it’s what happened in Rwanda. It has happened in many other places in the world.”
Stanton also said there was “strong circumstantial evidence of government support for the campaign of forced displacement and atrocities against white farmers and their families.”
“There is direct evidence of government incitement to genocide,” he added, calling for President Zuma to be impeached for the crime of inciting genocide.
In an email to a prominent Afrikaner monitoring the dangers, Stanton noted that Genocide Watch had raised the Genocide Stage level for South Africa to Stage 6 based on “evidence that the murders of Afrikaner farmers and other whites is organized by racist communists determined to drive whites out of South Africa, nationalize farms and mines, and bring on all the horrors of a communist state.”
At the time, Genocide Watch used an eight-stage model for genocide, with Stage 6 representing the planning and preparation phase, Stage 7 the extermination phase, and the 8th and final stage denial after the fact.
Since then, the scale has changed and now has 10 stages. South Africa is now listed by the group as being at Stage 6, which is the “polarization” phase, with preparation being the next phase after that.
“We returned it to polarization after the ANC expelled Malema and kicked him out of the presidency of the ANC Youth League,” Stanton said.
Others say the situation has deteriorated significantly since then.
As WND reported last month, even former South African President F.W. De Klerk, who shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela for his role in dismantling the apartheid system, recently suggested that authorities were fomenting racial conflict and discrimination that threatens to eliminate the Afrikaner minority in South Africa.
“President Zuma is determined to accelerate our descent along the road to state capture, economic crisis and racial confrontation,” he said at a conference last month, adding that the current rulers were contributing to the nation “stumbling aimlessly down the road to societal collapse.”
In what some critics derided as a striking understatement, De Klerk also accused the ruling establishment of being “openly hostile” to white people based “on negative racial stereotypes.”
The attitude was creating a “negative racial climate” aimed at “taking away the legitimate economic and cultural interests of [white] citizens, based purely on their race,” De Klerk added.
If current trends and government racism continue, he said, it will “lead to the disappearance of the white minority in South Africa within the next 50 to 60 years,” the widely respected former South African president warned.
His own late wife, former First Lady Mrs. Marike de Klerk, was murdered by a black security guard in Cape Town.
Zimbabwe style terror
New evidence that has emerged this year also suggests state sponsorship of the attacks, according to South African security sources.
In a series of security camera images captured by farmers in farm attacks and seen by WND, a group of black attackers carry advanced technological equipment such as cell-phone signal jammers, presumably to ensure that the farmers cannot call for help.
Because common criminals and burglars rarely have the means or the knowledge to purchase or operate such systems, some analysts speculated that rogue members of the South African military may have provided them.
Another view expressed by WND sources was that the technology could have been provided to the would-be killers by the Zimbabwean military of genocidal Marxist dictator Robert Mugabe to the north.
In Zimbabwe, formerly known as Rhodesia, Mugabe’s regime engaged in systematic slaughter of members of another African ethnic group, the Matabele, in what critics have called genocide.
Separately, his regime terrorized whites and confiscated white-owned farms so they could be handed to his cronies, similar to what the South African president seems to envision, critics say.
Zimbabwe went from exporting food as the “breadbasket of Africa” to relying on international food aid for basic survival.
Racist land grabs, murders
Experts say the same scenario will unfold in South Africa if President Zuma gets his way.
Speaking in Parliament in early March, Zuma called for “black parties” to unite to change the Constitution so that white-owned farms could be taken without compensation to be redistributed.
“We need to take bold steps that will transform our economy, including land ownership, very fast,” Zuma said.
“We are busy amending [laws] to enable faster land reform, including land expropriation without compensation as provided for in the constitution,” he added.
Other major political forces agree, and some even go further.
Former ANC Youth Leader Julius Malema, who styles himself “commander in chief” of the racist and Marxist-Leninist Economic Freedom Fighters party, argued that “no white person is a rightful land owner” anywhere in South Africa or the entire continent.
He also publicly called on blacks to simply steal land if they want it.
“People of South Africa, where you see a beautiful land, take it, it belongs to you,” Malema said in Parliament.
Before that, he suggested that genocide of whites was coming, eventually.
“We are not calling for the slaughter of white people‚ at least for now,” he added after years of spreading genocidal sentiment.
Malema, who was in London last year meeting with Lord Robin Renwick and other prominent figures, has also been a frequent singer of songs advocating the extermination of white South Africans in violation of the law.
Growing amounts of evidence also suggest that Malema may be conspiring with others to carry out the farm murders.
According to a recently released prisoner whose statements were aired on South African television program “Carte Blanche,” Malema is providing guns, balaclavas and cash to the attackers.
“He says you only have to murder a few farmers on farms,” says the prisoner, whose face was not shown.
Malema refused to respond to the allegations and declined to be interviewed, with his racist communist party saying he did not have time due to his busy schedule.
Some Afrikaner groups said government efforts to steal white land would be considered a declaration of war.
Others are resisting in Parliament.
But the situation is spiraling out of control, analysts say.
Racists justify torture, murder
To some racist and Marxist political figures, stealing white farms with atrocities is perfectly justified – even if the farmers are brutally tortured and murdered in the process.
“We do understand that black people are upset and angry, and rightfully so, because land has been stolen historically, and it needs to be returned,” claimed Lindsay Maasdorp, national spokesperson for the Marxist-Leninist Black First Land First (BLF) revolutionary movement.
“If black people are responding to that violence with violence, then they are well in their rights to take back land by any means necessary,” he added, seemingly endorsing the brutal farm murders as a means of taking land.
Before that, he appeared to be encouraging people to burn down white-owned farms.
“Black god needs servants in [Cape Town]: wind + matches + white owned farms,” he wrote on social media as devastating fires, likely arson according to officials, were destroying property in the Afrikaner-dominated Western Cape.
The leader of the BLF, Andile Mngxitama, also justified the farm murders.
“If you look at the gruesome manner in which farmers are attacked, it is more like a response or revenge,” he said.
“The death of these farmers is minuscule compared to the horrors that black people face,” Mngxitama added without elaborating on the horrors.
Virtually no serious historian or scholar accepts the claim that land in South Africa was stolen by whites, as the documentary evidence trail is long and robust.
Dutch immigrants first arrived to the practically uninhabited Western Cape of South Africa in 1652.
Hate speech in government and farm murders
Ernst Roets, the deputy CEO of civil-rights group AfriForum, is one of a growing number of experts who have suggested that the hate whipped up by political leaders is helping to fuel some of the murders.
“We don’t know what goes on in the mind of somebody who commits a farm attack,” he told WND in a phone interview during a trip to the United States.
“But we have people who testified under oath, who said they killed their victims because they were influenced by the ANC’s singing of ‘kill the boer, kill the farmer,’” he said, referring to one of the anti-white genocidal song sung by Zuma, Malema and other leaders. “This causes hate.”
In a new report released this month titled “Kill the Farmer: A brief study on the impact of politics and hate on the safety of South African farmers,” AfriForum documents that farm attacks tend to increase dramatically after political leaders stir up hatred against white farmers.
Speaking to WND, Roets said there were cases where it can be proved that there was a link between the hate speech of political leaders and the gruesome farm murders.
“It’s a complex phenomenon,” he said. “Some cases are politically motivated, some aren’t.”
“The biggest issue for us is we have a climate in South Africa in which violence against white farmers is romanticized by the songs, by the statements of political leaders,” added Roets. “You have people singing about shooting farmers, and farmers are being shot. That’s the reality in South Africa.”
To deal with the issue, Roets said AfriForum’s campaign was based on a “double strategy.”
First, the government should treat the farm murders as a priority crime, something it has consistently refused to do.
Secondly, communities themselves must look out for their own safety, including by creating “safety networks for farming communities,” Roets said.
“And the political climate, where white farmers are used as scapegoats and blamed for everything wrong with South Africa, we need to address that,” he added.
Part of the problem is rooted in history, he said.
In 1985, the ANC’s military wing, founded by Mandela and others, decided it would not differentiate between military and civilian targets.
The decision led to a wave of brutal murders and terrorism targeting civilians, including black opponents of the ANC, and white farmers in particular.
“They actually decided that white farmers and their families would be targeted,” Roets said. “They never removed that policy. So we’re not saying it is still active, but it was never officially rescinded.”
The problem is not that the ANC is not doing enough.
“They’re doing nothing,” Roets said.
“In fact, we have a ruling party that once encouraged this,” he added. “Now they just ignore it or pretend that it’s not a problem.”
Real solutions must also be sought outside the box, he said.
The question of self-determination for minorities such as Afrikaners and others is becoming more relevant among minority communities, he explained.
“More and more people feel the system is not working, there doesn’t seem to be a future for this system,” he continued. “People can’t be optimistic, so I think this will become a bigger debate in the years to follow.”
Self-determination and help from abroad
As the question of self-determination becomes increasingly prominent, one political party, the Freedom Front Plus, which represents mostly Afrikaners but also other minorities, is helping lead the way.
The FF+ or FF Plus, as the party is also known, is the sixth largest party in Parliament and the fourth largest in key provinces such as Gauteng.
Party leader Pieter Groenewald has been working within South Africa and outside it to pursue self-determination for his people and other minorities, a right enshrined in South Africa’s Constitution.
Speaking to WND, Groenewald said the future of Afrikaners in South Africa was at risk.
“Since 1994 there has been an alarming increase of brutal murders of farmers and farm workers, in the privacy of their farms,” he observed.
“These atrocities are committed by hateful criminal and politically motivated elements by directly targeting a strategic minority community and their farming enterprises responsible not only for food security, but which also contributes considerably to job creation, economic growth and the prosperity of the entire South African nation,” Groenewald added.
“There is no doubt that many of these crimes are motivated by hatred due to the severe torture and insidious infliction of pain before the victims are executed and should be classified as hate crimes,” he said. “These attacks are usually highly organized.”
The political leader also noted that lies and myths – the notion that whites “stole” land, for example – underpin much of the government’s “political propaganda.”
Senior politicians, Groenewald explained, “actively propagate genocide against white minorities,” with the hatred they spread serving as the equivalent of a match to dry fields that could “set South Africa alight.”
The international average murder rate is 7 per 100,000, he noted. “In the case of mainly white farmers in South Africa, the figure is a staggering 133 per 100,000,” Groenewald said.
“Many observers therefore believe this comprises genocide,” he added.
Beyond the murders, though, are systematic efforts to discriminate against and destroy the minority community.
“In the last two decades, laws like Affirmative Action and Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment has forced the Afrikaner out of the workplace, denied him jobs and equal opportunities and drove him in huge numbers out of the country,” Groenewald said.
“Their language [Afrikaans] has also been a target, with Afrikaans being removed from schools, universities and the public sector,” he added.
Indeed, under the government’s “Transformation” schemes of “representivity,” which demand that all institutions be representative of South African demographics, minorities may not have majority representation even within their own cultural institutions.
The effect of it all is taking its toll on minorities.
“It is common knowledge that more than a million white South Africans have emigrated mainly for these reasons,” Groenewald said.
“Combine this with hate-crimes like farm murders and it becomes quite clear that the future of Afrikaners in South Africa is at great risk,” he concluded.
Outside of Parliament, the FF Plus is working to bring attention to the situation to the U.N. through the Human Rights Council and the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO).
Support from Christians around the world would also be helpful, Groenewald added.
“We believe Christianity is a strong binding force for people worldwide sharing the Christian religion, and in particular in Western countries,” he said.
“Christians, specifically in strong evangelical countries like the USA, can also play a very important role in assisting Afrikaners and other suppressed minorities similar to the one they play in their relationship with Israel.”
He called for American Christians to help spread the message of the atrocities taking place in South Africa “wide and far.”
Another way to help is by lobbying Congress to “to take note of the atrocities and to investigate the South African government in this respect and to apply pressure on the government to acknowledge all minorities’ right to life and self-determination.”
Finally, he recommended getting involved in projects to establish social development and entrepreneurial projects to alleviate the economic plight of the Afrikaners and other minorities who face official discrimination.
Preparing for worse to come
As WND reported last month, with the hate and violence being inflamed daily among the populace by political leaders, and with economic conditions deteriorating, thousands of Christian Afrikaners have joined a non-violent Christian preparedness group known as the Suidlanders.
The idea is to escape from the cities to rural farms with the women and children and claim protection under international law in the event of a civil war or societal collapse – assuming their farms have not been seized by government and redistributed in the meantime.
Two leaders of the Christian “prepper” group are currently touring America hoping to raise awareness of their plight and funds to purchase supplies for civilian non-combatants.
Anyone interested in meeting the pair or in hosting a presentation, even for only a few people, should contact the group through its website at Suidlanders.org.
Neither the EFF nor the ANC responded to requests for comment from WND about the farm murders and land grabs.