I apoglogise for the cynicism and frustration that might be dripping off here, but when it comes to ‘awareness campaigns’, I usually end up bashing my head against a brick wall because I cannot tell the difference between the manufactured outrage, the real outrage, and the fact that neither will actually deliver any results.
Another tragedy, another hashtag, another protest for ‘solidarity’ or something similar. Another plea for help from named and unnamed forces, such as government. Another day being reminded that we live under deplorable circumstances, be it crime, unemployment, etc. And then, we go to sleep at the end of the day, and continue with our merry lives as normal until the next social outrage.
I don’t want to take away from these tragedies, but there is a point that society as a whole needs to put two and two together to realise that nobody is coming to help them. Ever. And that even if someone or something does, it’ll likely be too late, or in some unsuitable form.
With the latest campaign focusing on the farm murders, I have asked more than a few people what they believe that this will achieve, and the answer without fail was “to create awareness” or “to show solidarity”. Never mind that you will be hard pressed to find somebody who isn’t aware already, or doesn’t sympathise with the victims.
Nobody offered solutions, or even tried to think beyond what the country will do on Tuesday. The real gripe that I have with this whole scenario, is that a majority of the very people who can do something about it, have not done anything about it, and will continue to do nothing about it. Some don’t even want to do anything about it, instead expecting the SAPS to magically become omnipresent and perfect, or somebody else to take care of them and their needs.
SEE ALSO: Why I Wore Black on #BlackMonday by Nicholas Babaya
I spent my early years on a farm. My father, both grandfathers, two uncles and a few friends of mine are/were all farmers, so I don’t believe that I speak from the privilege of suburbia.
There is literally only one thing that farmers can do to protect themselves, and that is take responsibility and do it themselves. To cut to the chase, farmers (many of whom own firearms), need to remove them from the bedroom safe, buy a holster, and carry it everywhere they go, and always keep it in arms reach.
If they don’t already own a firearm, then they must go out today and buy one, and start the licensing process. Yes, they’ll wait about six months if they don’t already have competency, but then it becomes their own fault for not waking up to this reality earlier. This isn’t a crisis that started yesterday. This is a crisis that has been happening for a long time, and nobody knows this better than farmers.
The real indictment on farmers in this case, is that there are poverty-stricken people that live in shacks in townships, who decide to go through the process to buy a gun, which includes bolting a safe to a wall or floor, and shacks don’t have concrete walls or floors. Yet, these people commit to the ‘boer maak ‘n plan’ thing, and go out of their way to source some concrete, dig a hole in the shack floor for a concrete slab, get a power tool from somewhere, and wire up some electricity, so that they can own a firearm to protect themselves. At the same time, there are farmers who are unwilling to put in this effort. These farmers have no excuse for being unprepared in the moment of their greatest need.
The walls, alarm systems, burglar bars, large aggressive dogs, electric fencing and perimeter lighting with a price tag costing almost hundreds of thousands of rands means nothing when you get jumped at the gate to your fortified compound, or attacked while inspecting a pump 3 km away. Only you can be your first responder. Only you have any power to protect yourself in that moment. Only a gun is going to allow you to do that.
Farmers even have special privileges in that they have greater grounds to apply for semi-automatic rifles for self-defence. No other citizen has this privilege. Of course, no-one should desire a situation so bad that they can legally possess a restricted firearm, but as it stands, this is the reality.
The other day, I was told a story of how a farmer and his wife called a security expert to help them with security measures. As they sat down at the dinner table with the expert, the farmer leaned his shotgun against the table, and his wife complained about him lugging it around the house, and the farmer promptly put it back in the safe. The security expert got up and walked out, calling over his shoulder: “Let me know when you’re going to take this seriously!”
This is the reality: people want to be safe, but they do not want to do it themselves, because “I don’t want to live like I’m a prisoner or a soldier on my own property”. You don’t have to, but it starts with taking ownership of your life, because we do live in the equivalent of a warzone.
This is just one more travesty that highlights how we can never rely on government, nor should we even trust government to be able to assist in anything.
Farmers, the only black item you need to wear is a modern semi-automatic pistol, and you need to wear it every day. You need to go for training beyond the competency and proficiency process, by signing up for and completing dedicated firearm self-defence courses. South Africa has world class instructors, and a vibrant firearms trade. The avenues are there to be taken advantage of! I started wearing my black back in February with the acquiring of my Glock 19. You should too.