Since the dying years of apartheid, so-called farm attacks and farm murders have become commonplace in South Africa. In public discourse, these crimes have often been politicized and understood in racial terms, with some arguing that they constitute a form of white or Afrikaner genocide. Acclaimed director Darrell Roodt’s Treurgrond [Soil of mourning] (2015) is an Afrikaans feature film that takes farm attacks as its subject matter. In this article, I explore the film’s key motifs and how they relate to popular constructions of Afrikaner identity and of Afrikaners’ position in postapartheid society. By shifting between the textual content of the film and the context in which it was produced and received, I show how Treurgrond conjures up images of beleaguered Afrikaners no longer welcome in Africa. These images fit neatly into widely circulating narratives about Afrikaners’ victimization under a democratic regime and the purported attacks on their lives, culture, heritage, and language. By focusing on one film and the world that exists around it, I attempt to lay bare the logic through which farm attacks and farm murders have been mythologized in white South Africa, how these mythologies have inspired collective fear, and how this fear has been used to mobilize Afrikaners as an ethnic community.


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pp. 56-81
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