Hectares of politics

Extreme economic differences, racial thinking, uneven chances of education and employment, as well as corruption are splitting the South African society. Even 25 years after the end of Apartheid, many questions remain open, major problems unsolved. The white minority still owns most of the country‘s farmland. Is that fair after all those years of rightist apartheid regime? Who is allowed to farm the land, who can call it their home soil? People are demanding a radical land-reform. Political parties like the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Black Land First (BLF) demand expropriation of farmland without compensation. They want reparation for the suffering during apartheid regime. The ANC also makes expropriation without compensation part of their political agenda. The Boer landowners feel threatened, isolate themselves from society, and radicalize. Conflict between black and white is rising. Blacks fight for a home, jobs, power and for their version of history.


Farmhouse in the Karoo Desert. The land debate is also a debate about home. This is what makes it so emotional for those involved.


Many people feel that the ANC (African National Congress) has let dem down and did not deliver on its promises of equality in the proclaimed rainbow nation. However despite their steady decline in popularity since 1994 the majority still is voting for them due to their magnificent achievements in the past.


The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), led by former ANC youth league leader Julius Malema, has shaken up South African politics. In huge rallies, the red-clad supporters celebrate Malema as the Messiah. His program: expropriate land without compensation and nationalize mines and companies. They draw inspiration from the Marxist and Leninist tradition. The EFF promise jobs and is particularly well received by young black city dwellers that have had enough of the corrupt ANC government. The EFF and in particular Julius Malema are criticized for verbal racist attacks against whites.


Flag of the EFF


White farmers have formed neighborhood watches to patrol their houses and fields at night. This way they want to protect themselves against farm attacks and robberies. The patrol duty rotates in the community. The farmers are well connected and work together for their safety.


Farmers and farmworkers are fighting fires on their land. It’s the third fire this night. They assume the fires are set. This sometimes happens to show farmers that they are not welcome on their land, or sabotage their business, as they told me.



Farm near Orania Northern Cape


Harvest on a neighbouring farm


Many, especially young farmers are permanently armed to protect themselves against attackers or land-grabbers.



Huge commercial farms are a big business in South Africa.


House of a farmworker.


A farmworker at home. The accommodations are provided by the farmer and are located on the farm.


Workers assemble a new roof. The men are from Malawi. Employers prefer to hire foreigners. They are considered harder working. The panels that you install are made from concrete fever, they are heavier than corrugated iron and can not be bent. That's why they are not getting stolen. Region Hennops River, Gauteng


Living room of a farmhouse. Throughout the house, all doors and windows are latticed. Region Hennops River, Gauteng



The South African flag vom before 1994 hangs in a Restaurant in Orania a "white only" town.



Horse back riders wearing the traditional clothing of the first white South African settlers. They carry the flags that used to fly over South Africa. Todays flag is not among them.


Members of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) are posing with their flag during a ceremony for murdered white farmers. Another AWB member is holding the flag of the Transvaal state, a former state of white Boers that existed until 1902. Now, with growing racial tension, many Afrikaners want it back. AWB is an extreme right-winged Organisation that tried to violently prevent the end of Apartheid in the 90s. The ideology is inspired by Nazi Germany.


AWB members plant crosses for murdered white farmers in South Africa. Right-winged Afrikaners believe South Africa is on the brink or already in the process of a genocide against the white minority. According to the South African Police, 74 farmers were killed in 2017/2018. However, this number strongly contrasts with 19’016 homicides in South Africa in 2017.



The old flag of South Africa from before 1994 blows over the squatter camp Filadelfia Ark near Pretoria. Only whites are allowed to live here, blacks are not welcome. The residents say that the new South Africa has ruined them, in the past only the blacks were poor, today also the whites. This, they say, is due to Black Economic Empowerment. The program was launched in 2003 and aims to ensure equal opportunities for previously disadvantaged people.




During an eviction by the „red ants eviction service“ men with shields and prisebares form a line to protect their colleges taking down houses behind them. Every 10-30 meters a man with a rifle stands in front of the line.


Men of the Red Ants eviction service clear an illegal settlement on a land grab scene. With crowbars and raw men power hundreds of men knock down a village of approximately 160 houses within one morning. Land grabs occur more often lately, as affordable land to live on near cities is hardly available.




These young men doing this job earn about 11 USD for the eviction. They themselves live in houses that are hardly any better than the ones they knock down. Under their fellow blacks they are seen as traitors.


Drunken men playing domino. Alcohol abuse is a huge problem in poor black communities especially in rural areas. These man are farmworker or unemployed.



View in the sleeping room of a family in a squatter camp.