South Africa blasts Trump for tweet repeating white nationalist conspiracy theory

The South African government on Thursday criticized President Trump for tweeting that the U.S. should examine South Africa’s land and “farm seizures” from white farmers, and “the large scale killing of farmers.”

The South African government tweeted back rejecting Trump’s “narrow perception which only seeks to divide our nation and reminds us of our colonial past.”

South Africa is in the middle of a racially charged debate over land reform to fix the legacy of white-minority rule, which has left black South Africans, who comprise 80 percent of the population, with just 4 percent of the land.  (This is generally titled the redistribution of private property by the government generally related to communism.) 

Critics said the claim of “large scale killing” of white farmers was a widely debunked conspiracy theory spread by white nationalists. Trump’s tweet came shortly after a Fox News segment in which host Tucker Carlson railed against the land reform plan.

However isolated and believed to be wealthy, South African farmers have historically been the targets of attacks in South Africa. In some cases the attacks and murders have been so brutal that many believe there is an element of race-based vengeance for apartheid. White farmers’ vulnerability has increased along with the rest of the country as South Africa struggles to contain crime, especially violent crime.

Some farmers have chosen to fly the old apartheid flag to express their belief that they are being persecuted. The Afrikaner cultural group AfriForum (which calls itself a civil rights group) organized a protest dubbed Black Monday to call attention to farm murders, which they say the African National Congress government is willfully ignoring.

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