Original Research

A missing hand at the dinner table: The response to the plight of farmers in South Africa

Kelebogile T. Resane
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 39, No 1 | a1827 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v39i1.1827 | © 2018 Kelebogile T. Resane | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 November 2017 | Published: 31 July 2018

About the author(s)

Kelebogile T. Resane, Department of Historical and Constructive Theology, University of the Free State, South Africa


This article investigated the plight of farmers in South Africa. The intention is to enlighten South Africans of the importance of farming and the respect of farmers’ life and dignity. It starts by giving the picture of how the farmers are marginalised even in thanksgiving for food. Acknowledgement is always given to the provider (God) and the preparer (cook), while the producer (farmer) is unmentioned in appreciation for food. There is a demonstration that God-human dealings from the beginning were around the garden. Communication of God with a human being was in the garden; and humanity expressed wisdom, sexual intimacy, and livelihood in and around the farm. A historical survey of farming from the hunter-gatherers up to the commercial farmers of today is pointed out. The current farm attacks in South Africa are explored through press releases, political statements, and periodicals. Suggestions to address these attacks through political initiatives, land restitution, decolonised agricultural sciences, and the role the church should play are suggested. The farmer as the food provider is to be respected as a human being that carries the image of God.

Intradisciplinary and/or Interdisciplinary implications: The article addresses the importance of farmers, the history of farming in Southern Africa and the biblical basis for agriculture. The burning issue of farm attacks is a main concern and needs to be addressed through political dialogue, decolonisation of agricultural sciences and church’s participation in teaching the nation the value of farmers as human beings regardless of the colour of their skins.


farm, land, food, human


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