Shadows Over the Vineyards

19th January 2019

More than on my two previous visits to South Africa the people I talk to this time exude an underlying sense of latent violence in the country.  This is particularly noticeable when I catch up with two former students at Backsberg.  One of them, who works there and lives nearby says that ‘you live in a level of stress all the time’. She has had friends attacked, and one even murdered. A wine farm owner down the road from her was killed by an intruder a few months ago.  She lives in a gated community but is tempted to go abroad again – she likes to have the freedom to move around which she is losing now in rural South Africa. 

My other ex-student says that there is a lot of generalised anger against whites. There was a farm attack on Charles Back of Fairview recently by a black; he was injured by unhurt. She says that Charles tried to play it down – saying it is not primarily racial; it’s a few disaffected people with anger issues.  She finds this refusal to focus on colour admirable but wonders if he was just trying to calm tension.