Boers Are Moving North

Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg), May 3, 2011

They are calling it the next great trek. Almost two centuries after Boers hitched their wagons to oxen and headed inland to establish the South African republic, they are on the move again. This time they are flying–and their destination is the whole of the African continent.

White South African farmers are now being courted by the north, by countries who believe their agricultural expertise can kickstart an agrarian revolution across the continent. They are being offered millions of hectares of allegedly virgin rainforest and bush, as well as land already farmed by smallholders or used as pastures by herders.

In the biggest deal to date, Congo-Brazzaville has offered South Africa farmers long leases on up to 10m hectares of land, an area that includes abandoned state farms and bush in the remote south-west of the country. The first contracts, which put 88 000 hectares in the hands of 70 farmers, were signed at a ceremony in the country last month.

Meanwhile, in Mozambique, some 800 South African farmers have acquired a million hectares in the southern province of Gaza, thanks to an arrangement set up by sugar farmer Charl Senekal, an associate of South African President Jacob Zuma. This deal will be celebrated at a ceremony in Pretoria next month.

There have been sporadic moves north by white South African farmers since the end of apartheid. But the current migration is more organised, says Ruth Hall of the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies at the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. “South Africa is exporting [not just] its farmers, but also its value chains, to the rest of the continent,” she told a meeting on international land grabs in Brighton last week.

The mass movement is mostly organised by Agri South Africa, an association that represents 70 000 South Africa farmers. Its president Johannes Moller made a pitch for new deals at a conference on large-scale farming in Africa, held in Cairo last April. Since then, AgriSA has received offers of land from 22 African countries, says Hall. Along with free land come tax holidays, free rein to export produce and profits, and promises of new roads and power lines–angering locals who have never enjoyed such benefits.

Zambia wants South African pioneers to grow maize, and Sudan is offering land and irrigation water to grow sugar cane. Another deal, currently on hold, would see them take over 35 000 hectares of Libya.

With one-third of South Africa’s white-owned farmland to be transferred to black owners by 2014, many white South African landowners are keen to find new territory, though most want to keep their home farms as well, says Hall.

The new trek is attracting support from major South African finance houses such as Standard Bank and investment funds such as Emergent Asset Management, a UK-South Africa fund run by former Goldman Sachs high flyer Susan Payne. She claims to be investing in 14 African countries and promises a 30% annual return.

Many African countries believe the new white farmers can end their reliance on food imports. But the farmers and their financiers often have other plans. According to Theo de Jager, AgriSA deputy president and mastermind of the international deals, the farmers in Congo-Brazzaville want to grow more profitable tropical fruit for export to European supermarkets, rather than grains for locals.

Another concern is what land the farmers are being offered. The governments making overtures towards claim there is ample “empty” land–in which case the threat is that forests and other biodiversity hotspots will be gobbled up.

But much of the land is, in reality, already occupied by farmers and pastoralists. While the Congo-Brazzaville government says the land it is handing over to white South Africans has been empty since the closure of state farms more than 10 years ago, Hall says its former owners have returned and are growing cassava and peanuts. Like the original trek, the new invasion is likely to be met with resistance.

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  • highduke

    The whole idea is to make them work for Blacks on Black terms. Forget it. Get organized, sell your land, go back to Holland and be the decisive element in taking back Holland.

  • Jeddermann.

    The last time I heard about this “movement” was the settlements of Rhodesian [Zim] whitey farmers moving to Mozambique. 95 % of the arable land in that nation remains fallow!

    These Boer bring the know-how, can get the loans, have a rapport with and understand the locals, provide both a subsistence and cash crop and JOBS! A win-win situation for all. Large areas brought under cultivation in the industrial manner, NOT something the locals could do.

    The biggest problem in all of Africa is the instability, the war lords, etc. Get around that and you can have a potential paradise.

  • NBJ

    Why should these white farmers trust ANYTHING they have to say or offer? What will happen when these farmers get things up and running, and start making a profit? Will they be slaughtered in their homes and their property taken yet again? If there is already trouble brewing now, it will only get worse and whitey is outnumbered. That’s just my take on it. Perhaps someone from SA reading can give us their opinion.

  • Anonymous

    Like the original trek, the new invasion is likely to be met with resistance.

    Notice that the media has to slip the word “invasion” in at the end. Even an invitation is an “invasion” when whites are invited.

    Whites are the true boogeymen of the International Left. It would be funny if it weren’t so serious!

  • Anonymous

    This sounds great, but can blacks ever keep their greedy hands off white success when blacks are in charge? These farmers will be dispossessed of their new lands a generation or less. Africa is Africa because it’s filled with Africans.

    Africa won’t be safe for business until China takes over management. The Chinese may steal or cheat white farmers, but they probably won’t hack them to death with machetes.

  • Graham Richards

    The Boers should know better than to do this. Once the farms are up & running, prosperous and attractive they will be ‘stolen’ back once more by the “oppressed” and the farmers murdered.

    Goldman Sachs are dreaming if they believe they will make 30% returns. Initially they will be taxed back to reality & then all investments will be nationalised.

    Lets revisit this operation in 10 years time!!

  • Henry Clay

    Eventually the farmers will be persecuted in their new African venues. They should stay on the planes until they reach Europe, North America, or the more European parts of South America.

  • Anonymous

    Here is what happened in South Africa when blacks tried to run the farms.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OVxVWnWENRs

    Not to mention all the rape and murder.

  • Madison Grant

    The South African and Zimbabwean gov’ts stole the white farmers’ land while the world yawned. What makes these gullible whites think Gaddafi and the thugs running Zambia and the Congo won’t do the same?

    They should move to Australia, New Zealand or Canada.

  • Lime Light

    South African farmers are treated worse than traitors in their own country. Good luck to them as they trek north. Who knows what will happen to them there, but in their own country they will be murdered. Kind of ironic that they’re safer in the north!

    http://ozziesaffa.blogspot.com/

  • sam d

    Whites colonized UNINHABITED land….or nearly so….and it was land legitimately available for the taking by anyone.

    As they prospered, blacks came with their hands out and their mouths open. The HUGE mistake whites made was in using these pitiful moochers for labor. As we all know now, they inundated the area until they were a majority, afterwhich they demanded full ownership of the cities and towns, simply because they were black.

    The white sissified, wimpish do-gooders promoted black takeover, thinking they would be treated with respect and privilege. That many of them were either run out of the area or murdered shows the true extent of their stupidity.

    Unintended consequences oftentimes turn out to be the fullfilment of justice.

  • Anonymous

    And ‘just coincidentally’ Africa’s billion person population is scheduled to be 2.5 billion by 2060. This despite AIDS, Ebola and Million-per-Year genocidal warfare across the continent.

    Such is the real source of your 30% annual return guarantee.

    The globalist idiots are creating yet another mass-consumerist market without any regard for what happens when Africa, as the world, comes off the ‘oil standard’ for runaway economic growth and there are only starving mouths to feed.

    This in turn should inform everyone who understands what is really going on (and has already happened) why settled, civilized, white republics that had _little or nothing to do_ with European Imperialism were in fact disenfranchised and obliterated from the 1960s through the 80s.

    Success is stable. It is generational. It is self-investing.

    It doesn’t grow out of control. And so it cannot be exploited by external interests whose only skill is the selling-up of everything they throw money out and selling out of everyone they give promises to.

    And these poor white fools, having lost everything are gullibly moving to places where internecine warfare is even -more- entrenched. Thinking if they work a little harder, they will get it all back and live like landed nobility.

    Again.

    When in fact, it will likely be stolen by the elites like a ripened fruit picked when ready.

    Or it will be overrun by natives when there is no more oil/money to support the Western Style of large scale commercial farming and/or jealousy of success sets in.

    Results: Ecologic nightmare. Cultural annihilation. Genocidal famine.

    Whoohoo!

  • Anonymous

    The Boers should have just created a small country for themselves. The best thing now would be for them to migrate to a western country. We could use some hard-headed, no-nonsense race realists. Sadly, I see no future for them anywhere in Africa at all now.

  • joe

    N. Africa and other places may encourage white farmers to come to get things going, but it won’t last long. Envy and other interests would quickly change the rules, and everyone would be back to square one.

  • Jeddermann.

    “Whites colonized UNINHABITED land….or nearly so….and it was land legitimately available for the taking by anyone.”

    Lands that were uninhabited at the time, but had been previously occupied by tribes that had moved away due to pressure from the Zulu. Everyone wanted to get away from the Zulu and did so if they could. Leaving the land unoccupied when the whitey arrived.

    And MOVING north means NOT to North Africa but to lands NORTH of South Africa I would assume. Perhaps not even north of the equator. NOT north of Sub-Sahara Africa, as it is called.

  • Ben

    I’m suspicious as to where this article actually comes from. No author and link is provided.

  • s

    As long as farming is the possibility for the extreme expansion of africas population, farmers should stop farming. Unless creating yourself a lovegarden of the farm and mainly feeding your own kind. For in the end, there is no other future than children.

  • s

    The future of the boers lies in getting made a a clean cut ideology/philosophy which they agree upon and is made to handle the reality of these times and Africa. Thereafter you can put its flag somewhere and start gathering territory and building a nation.

    Those who show up will agree to the program, and are not likely to produce fantastic counterideas to every little act.

    But getting the ideology clear is not easy. The blogsphere must flower.

  • South African

    I am not a farmer, but these are questions I have in mind.

    “They should stay on the planes until they reach Europe, North America, or the more European parts of South America”.

    “go back to Holland and be the decisive element in taking back Holland.”

    When your Visa has expired after a month, you will be deported back to South Africa. They have no need for whites from a country that used to live according to a biological world view.

    But apart from the political issues, what about the economic issues?

    Due to the Dollar exchange rate the net value of the farmers total assets will shrink to a tenth of its Rand value.

    Is there a demand and market gap for farmers in the USA and Europe, or is the market already over saturated and entrenched by the existing farmers?

    Western Europe has patchwork farms and is densely urbanized from corner to corner. The PIGS countries are bankrupt, you don’t want to start farming there. Soon everybody will be in competition as Eastern Europe starts flooding westwards for jobs.

    Eastern Europe has space and need for skills – e.g. Georgia on the Caucasian border.

    The USA has wide open spaces, but I imagine already highly industrialized with no market gap for foreign newcomers who have to start afresh.

    And the biggest question of them all – when is the EU and the USA going to collapse economically?

  • Bantu Education

    Slightly off-topic but the story I am about to relate exemplifies the childish African mentality and the painful gullibility and endlessly forgiving nature of whites who employ them.

    I bought this excellent travel book several years ago but am only reading it now.

    “AFRICA UNCORKED – Travels in Extreme Wine Territory” (2002) is about the extensive African travels of S.Africa’s best known wine writer, John Platter, to every wine-producing country in Africa. (there are more than you might think)

    (p 90) relates their visit to John D’Ollier and his Californian wife Eli at their Lake Naivasha Vineyard in Kenya where a few years earlier they had made “Kenya’s first and only champagne”.

    The D’Olliers related what would be a very humorous story if it wasn’t so sad.

    Sad firstly because it demonstrates how whites are always so willing to make excuses for black mis-behaviour and incompetence, to the point of utter foolhardiness.

    Sad secondly because of its later tragic ending (not related in the book)

    As the D’Olliers related the story –

    “at the time we had a ‘promising black assistant’, an ex-policeman although only a lad, who became so keen on the business that he began reading books on wine-making”. Although he was only a beginner they wanted to encourage him and so they put his name on the labels as “the winemaker”…!

    They did this, they explained, in the spirit of “Harambee” the national motto which means “lets pull together” in Swahili. (South African blacks like to boast about their “Ubuntu”, which supposedly means “helping each other”, in other words a complete myth, blacks being by far the least co-operative race)

    Well, guess what?. This was enough to convince “Lucky” (his name wasn’t given) that the wine belonged to him and so for his bosses birthday he presented him with 2 Magnums of “his wine”.

    But that was just the start – Lucky was presumably trusted with the keys to the store and on returning from a trip to Nairobi the D’Olliers found the entire village playing very loud music and everyone drunk from a huge “champagne party” hosted by Lucky the “winemaker”.

    The D’Olliers laughed it all off and only “retired” him a “year or two” later after he claimed “copyright fees” for “his wine”

    They made it sound light-hearted but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it became quite nasty. Anyone who has ever employed them will affirm that Africans can only ever be dismissed for very serious matters.

    I was curious to know what had happened to them and the vineyard since, so I googled John D’Ollier.

    You’ll never guess but in Oct 2010 his 60th birthday party gathering was invaded by a group of AK-47 wielding “bandits” – he was killed and 2 friends were “seriously wounded”.

    No arrests have been made. (or will ever be made!)

    http://goo.gl/VrcdD

  • South African

    A frustrated readers comment by a senior white person on another website in South Africa (language use a bit modified to be more presentable):

    “My friend I hope you are right, but sadly, I think the afrikaners are cowards and scared my brother. Rugby, sunny skies and Chevrolet comes to mind (explanation: old car ad jingle, now denoting panem et circenses). We have heard this all before about enough is enough, even AWB made empty promises after ET’s murder, where are they now?????? The afrikaners are so divided and liberal, and many of them suck up to the blacks. A white afrikaner lawyer is defending that black police for killing that lady outside the police station, shame on you, you bloody traitor and pig. Sorry my friend you have too much faith in the boer, read about the anglo boer war how many sided with the British. To tell you the truth, I have lost faith in our afrikaner and english whitey’s. I my self served 13 years in the old SADF (explanation: SA defense force) on the border (explanation: Angolan war), my brother, and never thought the boer would hand over our country and quite suck up in this manner to the blacks”.

    It sounds strikingly familiar to some of your Vietnam veterans feelings (and also current veterans), having read some of their websites.

  • Publius

    That Youtube video, showing the vast barren fields, summarizes quite well what Phil Dutoit wrote about a few years ago in his “Great South African Land Scandal”. I like the brief interview with the black fellow (an employee of the previous owners, perhaps?) who is quite honest: “the people they gave it to didn’t know how to farm”.

    But there may be some hope. That lady realizes the truth, which of course, she had to couch in the language of economics: “South Africa is exporting [not just] its farmers, but also its value chains, to the rest of the continent,”