Following the murder of two more Free State farmers, an agricultural worker and rapper, Jason Baartman (25), is trending with a song in which he asks the nation to protect the farmers and workers that feed them.
Baartman, a production assistant in the apple nursery division of Laastedrif Agri in Ceres in the Western Cape, is pleasantly surprised that a track he wrote three years ago has now got the tongues wagging.
The song, “Maak die boer dood” (or “Kill the farmer”) takes a firm stance against farm killings and seeks to enlighten listeners on the horrific footprints left behind by these crimes.
Noluthando Ngcakani reports that since Food For Mzansi first reported that Teboho Machakela, a 37-year-old farmer, died after being shot in the head on his Odendaalsrus farm, another attack has rocked the Free State. Just 37 kilometres further, Pieter Hills was shot dead on his farm in Henneman. His son, Eddie (26), was wounded.
The Citizen reports that SAPS spokesperson, brigadier Motantsi Makhele, says that “a competent team of investigators have been assigned to investigate the matter.”
Thoko Didiza, the minister of agriculture, land reform and rural development, says their deaths are a great loss, not only to their families and friends, but to the agricultural sector as a whole. “I call upon the police to live no stone unturned in making sure that culprits are put behind bars.”
Meanwhile Baartman tells Duncan Masiwa that farm attacks have also impacted him and the Western Cape farming community in which he lives.
“It’s a daily journey of looking over your shoulder,” he says. “You are always afraid because you don’t know who the next victim will be. The reality is that at any given point you could be next.”
‘See farmers and workers as humans too’
He says, “If you are going to kill farmers, then we will starve… It’s not just the farmer. It’s the whole chain that is impacted. If you kill the farmer, you are actually killing yourself, your family and others who depend on the farmer.”
The young rapper hopes that his track will help criminals and the entire nation to see farmers and their workers “as humans too”.
“That farmer has a family and land to take care of. People need to understand the fundamental role they play. Without food we can’t live, so killing the farmers is like killing the nation.”
Working on a farm comes with fear and difficulty and Baartman admits that every day he grows a little more scared.
“But I have a purpose in farming. I have to make sure the people on the outside get their products. There are just too many people who depend on me and that makes me not look at the negative only.”