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‘Standing together cultivates hope’

Gareth Going is a farmer with a message of hope. Going, who farms between Bethlehem and Paul Roux, was present in neighbouring Senekal on Tuesday, 6 October, when two suspects appeared in court in connection with the murder on 1 October of Brendin Horner, a young farm manager from Paul Roux.

“Tensions were high, as expected. But what affected me most was the look in people’s eyes. People are tired, heartsore and angry,” says Going of that Tuesday in Senekal.

While visiting Paul Roux on a shopping errand the day after the suspects’ court appearance, Going experienced something else – a community reaching out in support.

This exeperience he shared on social media, and on request he allowed VrystaatKroon to publish it, in his own words, here:

“I have just had an experience that I feel in my heart that I need to share with my friends and family. I just hope that I can do it justice by putting it into words.

I’ve just got back from our quaint little village of Paul Roux after doing the usual mundane tasks of going to the co-op, getting feed for the animals and other odds and ends. Almost routinely stopping on my way out at our local Spaza for a cool drink for today and a box of cigarettes.

When I walked in it was rather crowded but funnily quiet with a few hushed wispers every now and again. All with masks on which has now become the norm and doesn’t make one feel uncomfortable anymore.

An old man shuffled towards me and smiled at me and we had the good old greeting and normal pleasantries towards me. He then asked me, sir were you one of the guys in Senekal yesterday? The Spaza went quiet. I said yes that I was.

What happened next still has me feeling overwhelmed. There was an explosion of emotions from young and old. The ladies started singing and dancing. The men all came forward to shake my hand where I realized my African handshake needs some work! But I can say that after today its mastered.

One very well dressed young man come to me, shook my hand and said thank you sir. All this in perfect English. What he said to me really touched me and all agreed with him.

Sir, yesterday when all the boere drove past us it became quiet. We all knew that today is the day that change will come. We have been waiting for the farmers to stand up and decide it’s enough!

We are all scared at night and nobody is safe, we know having worked on farms where our food comes from. We know that its not the farmers fault for job losses. We are tired!

What bowled me over was what came next. Sir, we know that next week the court date is coming up. What we ask is, will the boere please stop with all their white bakkies so that we can fill them and join you. We need to all come together!

A lot more was said and many a cheer and smile was made. Driving back, a load of feed and my mind racing with all my thoughts. I now realize that the time has come, we lost another young man with his entire life ahead of him. But his life has started a movement. One that I don’t believe we have any idea of how powerful it is.

I have hope again, South Africa will come right. We must just stand together and make ourselves heard!

God bless you all and stay safe. Keep the fire going in your hearts!

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