A Focus on Media Coverage of Farm Violence in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Department of Psychology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS), University of Johannesburg
In this paper, we explore media accounts of farm killings, paying attention to public discourses of race, class, land ownership and violence. Using archival data of news reports of farm killings from 1998 until 2020, we utilize a discourse analysis to write a history of the present that explores farm violence as a symbolic act. Our data consist of 55 news articles published in English language newspapers, between 8 and 16 every ﬁve years, including 1998, 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2020. Using this data, we argue that farm murders in South Africa between 1998 and 2020 are fundamentally tied to the unspoken contested meaning of land. It is precisely the farm as the site of this violence that provides the ever-shifting meanings attached to these acts.
Post-Apartheid South AfricaFarm ViolenceMediaMedia in South Africa