A video showing a white South African landowner forcing a black man into a coffin and threatening to set it on fire has gone viral (video below).
The video was posted on YouTube and is fueling debate about widespread racial tension throughout the country.
“A white man forcefully puts a black man in the coffin. This is pure Racism. South Africa Will Never be a safe place for a black child,” reads the caption.
Shot on a cellphone, the 20-second video shows a white man -- believed to be a farmer -- shoving a terrified black man into the wooden coffin. They speak in a mix of Afrikaans and Zulu.
“Get in, I want to throw some [gasoline],” says the white man.
The man holding the camera can be heard telling him to “put a snake” in the coffin as the black man screams out in fear while the lid is closed on him.
Although apartheid ended more than 20 years ago, racial tensions still run deep. Whites make up around 9 percent of the population, but still earn higher wages and monopolize the most profitable businesses.
The South African Human Rights Commission received the most racism complaints in their 20-year history -- 160 to be exact -- in January 2016.
Pro-white groups claim they are the victims of race-based attacks, according to Daily Mail. Amid high unemployment and poverty, vigilantism has been on the rise in South Africa, and some commentators have suggested the black man in the video was a criminal.
The country’s conservative Transvaal Agricultural Union estimates there have been almost 3,000 violent attacks on white-owned farms and more than 1,600 farm murders since 1990.
In 2015, the pro-white organization protested to the U.N. that they were a “persecuted minority.”
Senior researcher from the Institute for Security Studies, Dr. Johann Burger, discussed the situation:
There is a great deal of challenges in South Africa at the moment, and a definite hardening of race relations with people increasingly feeling free to make racist statements on social media and that is contributing to rising tensions.
I am sure a video like this will be used by radical people on both sides of the racial argument as evidence to support their points of view.
However, I am extremely concerned that the government is considering resorting to law to try and outlaw racism and I cannot see how that will be an effective way to bring about more tolerance in South Africa. It could well make things worse.