Is there a white genocide occurring in South Africa? That's the conclusion reached by controversial alt-right activist and filmmaker Lauren Southern in her new feature-length documentary Farmlands.
The basis of the film is the country's complicated history with land ownership, and the hysteria that has arisen from these issues in recent times.
The crime rate in South Africa is disturbingly high. Dozens of protests are gathered on the streets every day, and municipal buildings and school houses are commonly burned to the ground. Since lawmakers passed a resolution that allows for the seizure and redistribution of land without compensation, there has been a spike in the murder of white farm owners in the region. These murders are described in graphic detail by crime scene personnel, activists in the area and relatives of the fallen.
The film accuses the government and law enforcement officials of fudging statistics and concealing the truth behind this slaughter. In defense of their practices, these institutions insist there is no evidence that these attacks are racially motivated.
During the course of the film, Southern stacks the deck against the country's "black economic empowerment laws". In one segment, she visits a squatter camp populated by white families who are destitute and forced to live without basic comforts and medical care. "There's no help for whites in South Africa," the camp land owner explains. Southern also points to the tens of thousands of minority whites who have fled the country, and the protests mounted in opposition to the farming issues that have gone unheeded by the government.
Southern and her film have been met by vociferous voices of dissent who claim that her message is motivated by thinly veiled racism. Her critics say her narrative is a cautionary rebuke to the end of apartheid, and a delirious warning call to westerners who are quickly becoming the new minority. Viewers can decide for themselves if the events and personal stories depicted in Farmlands are distastefully misleading or indicative of a larger epidemic of racially motivated violence.