Soos baie slagoffers is daar soveel familie en vriende wat agterbly en hartseer moet verwerk by ‘n oop graf – onsinnige terrorisme. Elke moord is ‘n moord te veel, maar duidelik pla dit nie die regering nie. Vir hulle is dit ekstra inkomste. Sterkte aan die naasbestaandes en families asook vriende.
The brutal killing of human-rights activist Annette Kennealy on her small farm has again placed South African farm murders in the spotlight. Long-time activist against farm attacks, Annette Kennealy, 51, was murdered in her home last Sunday. Not only has her murder shocked the community in her home town of Louis Trichardt in Limpopo province, but it has made international headlines. The Daily Express in London ran the title, “South Africa horror as white farmer activist beaten to death with hammer” while the London Times published, “South African activist who spoke out against attacks on white farmers found dead”.
Kennealy’s family discovered her bloodied corpse on Monday morning. She was beaten to death with a hammer and an iron rod, most probably by her own employee, Kenny Ramatshimbila. He was arrested in connection with the murder and appeared in the Louis Trichardt Magistrate’s Court on Friday 24 May. According to Colonel Moatshe Ngoepe of the South African Police Service, “he faces charges of murder and house robbery”. Ramatshimbila was denied bail and remanded in custody until his next court appearance on 1 July.
The murdered activist lived on a small farm near Louis Trichardt. According to Ngoepe, “Family members tried to call her without success until one of them went to investigate. On arrival, he found the deceased inside the house lying in a pool of blood, [and she had] multiple stab wounds.”
Her funeral will take place on Wednesday 29 May at the Full Gospel Church in Louis Trichardt and is expected to draw a large crowd of family, friends and sympathisers.
Mr. Henk van de Graaf, of the TAU SA agricultural union, expressed his sadness at her death.
“If someone like Kennealy, who was known as an activist, becomes a victim herself, one should beg the question whether this was more than just a ‘regular’ farm attack,” Van de Graaf said in a statement.
Annette Kennealy had become famous for her work as human-rights activist against South African farm murders. She regularly spoke to the foreign media, informing them about conditions in South Africa, and also regularly accompanied media personnel on visits to farms and gatherings of farmers.
Dr. Dan Roodt of the Pro-Afrikaans Action Group (PRAAG) knew her personally and was astounded that she had been killed, as she had always been an advocate of gun ownership and was usually armed herself. “My friend and activist for rural safety, Annette Kennealy, has herself become the victim of a terrible farm murder… She was very brave, and always carried a firearm with her, a 9mm Astra pistol. Evidently, her preparedness was not enough to finally save her.”
Apparently Kennealy had her pistol on her during the incident. During preliminary questioning by the police, the accused pointed out the pistol to police on the crime scene.
“Why did she not shoot him?” asked one of her friends that FWM spoke to.
Another comment from farmers in the area was: “Until our (Afrikaner) nation starts doing its own work, we won’t be safe. Annette did not need him. She had sold her horses. But she allowed Ramatshimbila to live there and employed him to repair the road now and again. If she had been alone, she would still have been alive.”
Kennealy’s mother, Kim Labuschagne, started to get worried Sunday evening when she had not answered her cellphone. Nor did she check in via citizen band radio on the farmwatch group that she belonged to. When a family member was sent to investigate on Monday morning, her dead body was discovered around 9:00 a.m. and the police summoned.
In an exchange on Twitter, the famous Afrikaner singer, Steve Hofmeyr, tweeted to Kennealy’s mother: “Im sorry for you. We too needed her. She was so courageous. #prayers.”
On her Facebook, Annette Kennealy had given herself the nickname Tshinakaho, together with the subtitle: “White lives matter.”
In the Netherlands, a columnist for the Trouw newspaper, Sylvain Ephimenco, wrote on Saturday 25 May:
“In South Africa white farmers are threatened with expropriation, their farms are attacked and many are cruelly murdered, often after they had been tortured for hours with pitchforks or electric drills. At the moment there is at least one farm being attacked every day, on average, and once every seven and a half days one farmer is murdered. The eldest victim this so far has been 88. Over the past two decades many white farmers have emigrated and the South African farming population has shrunk in half to 30 000 farmers.”
Izak du Plessis, the Afrikaans radio personality and presenter of RSG’s morning news programme, Monitor, paid tribute to Kennealy by saying on his Facebook:
“Go well, Tshinakao. Thanks for your quiet nights on the mountain which became your hell. Thanks for the deep conversations, for the special time with you, the straight shooting… the permanent friendship and the beauty of your heart. Thanks for the weekend when we took those photographs. I will never forget you.”
The court will have to determine what had allegedly caused a loyal employee of many years to turn against his employer and brutally strangle her and beat her to death with a hammer.
Residents of the Soutpansberg were left in shock on Tuesday morning with the news that the much-loved and well-known local artist and activist against farm murders, the 51-year-old Ms Annette Kennealy, was herself found murdered on her farm Welgevonden along the Louis Trichardt/Thohoyandou road.
“I am without words … an absolute tragedy. She was so badly beaten that I could not see her. Maybe it is for the better, because I want to remember her as she was the last time I saw her on Saturday,” said Kennealy’s 72-year-old mother, Ms Kim Labuschagne.
Kennealy’s murder sent shock waves through the farming community, both locally and abroad. Within minutes of the news breaking about her death, the Zoutpansberger received calls from across the whole country and even Australia. The only thing they wanted to know was:
Is it true?
Unfortunately, it was true.
Friends and family, basically the whole of the Soutpansberg, were left in total disbelief as details of her brutal untimely death started to emerge.
According to reports Kennealy was found in a pool of her own blood at her farmhouse. She had severe head injuries, presumably caused by a bloodied hammer found close to her body. It is believed that she was also strangled. The police’s official statement on cause of death, however, indicated that she was stabbed to death.
“She was not stabbed! She was beaten to death,” said Kim.
As to the motive for the killing, the court will have to determine that. What is clear, though, is that it might have had something to do with an argument Kennealy had with her only farm worker staying on the farm. Apparently the worker absconded from work and Kennealy confronted him about it. The worker became a suspect in the murder, as he could not be found when Kennealy’s body was discovered. In initial police statements, police urged him to contact his nearest police station to assist the police in their investigation.
It is believed that Kennealy might have been killed as early as Monday morning (20th). Kim said she had communicated with her daughter at around 09:00, but battled to get hold of her after that. Due to the fact that nobody could reach Annette, Kim asked a neighbour to go and check on her on Tuesday morning. It was then that the neighbour made the gruesome discovery.
Following the discovery of her body, an extensive search began for her killer(s). This led police to a house in Mauluma village in the Nzhelele area where a 40-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday evening. Although the police did not indicate whether it was the farm worker they arrested, all indications are that it was him.
“I cannot understand why he would do something like that. He had worked for her for so many years. He called her mom,” said Kim.
Whether or not her daughter’s murder had anything to do with her outspokenness about farm attacks in South Africa, Kim said she does not know. “We will not be able to fix this broken land of ours,” said Kim bitterly, adding that her daughter was taken from her way to soon. “She and I were planning for the future safety of the family,” said Kim.