The two Afrikaans farmers who killed a boy for stealing sunflowers have finally been jailed. Their names are Peter Doorewaard and Philip Schutte. The murder took place in Coligny, a small farming town in the North West.
A Quick Timeline
April 2017: Two Afrikaner farmers, Peter Doorewaard and Philip Schutte, murdered a black 15-year-old child for stealing sunflowers.
May 2017: According to EWN, the two farmers were granted R5000 bail each, sparking outrage in the Coligny community.
November 2018: The farmers were found guilty by the North West High Court of murder, kidnapping, intimidation, theft and pointing a firearm.
March 2019: Last week, Peter Doorewaard and Philip Schutte were finally sentenced to jail for 18 and 23 years respectively.
The Family and Community
Mathlomola’s mother broke down at the North West High Court, speaking on how unnecessary it was for her child to die over a sunflower. News24 reports that she said: “I was hurt when I heard in court that my son was calling out for me”.
The murder of fifteen-year-old Mathlomola Moshoeu sparked riots in Coligny. Community members believe the incident was racially motivated. Judge Ronald Hendricks, who presided over the case had the following to say: “It cannot be ignored that the community revolted as a result of this incident. This was largely because of the inaction of the police. The community of Coligny was polarised as a result of this incident.”
The Telegraph reports that the victim’s father as well as other community members hoped for a longer sentence.
Not a New Kind of Violence
Moshoeu died after having his neck broken from being thrown out of a moving truck. The farmers claimed that the teenager jumped out of the vehicle while they were driving him to the police. However, Schutte was found to have thrown him out of the moving vehicle by force.
“Racially charged incidents between white farm owners and management and poor black farmhands are common in South Africa,” reports The Telegraph. This kind of violence at the hands of farmers is not new. In 2016 in Mpumalanga, two white farmers forced a black man (accused of trespassing) into a coffin. This caused outrage as the video spread on social media.
When you think of the senselessness of a child killed for stealing sunflowers, let’s not forget what’s behind this. Call it what it is: racism and inhumanity.
While the length of these mens’ sentences may not be satisfactory, they are behind bars now. It took two years, but there’s a win in this nonethless. May we never forget. RIP Mathlomola.
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