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tv   Nightline  ABC  April 10, 2019 12:37am-1:07am PDT

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>> thank you. [cheers and applause] this is "nightline." tonight. blood and treasure. a battle over land, a battle between black and white. farmers taking up arms. >> most of us have been in some form of attack. >> old wounds of racial hate bleeding again. >> this is our land, we will stand and die for it. >> and a farmer's wife whose husband was killed says whites are under attack. >> that sounds like civil war to me. >> don't you think we all are under civil war? >> and apartheid town. a small town sparking global controversy. an all-white town where the population is booming. >> living in this town, does it
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make you racist? >> this special edition of "nightline" "blood and treasure will be right back."
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this is a special edition of night line. "blood and treasure." good evening. thank you for joining us. we now live in an age where battles over class, race, ethnicity, who should go make
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headlines daily. it's a growing wave across the globe. europe, middle east, here at home. but nowhere else are these waters deeper or angrier than south africa. a country in the midst of a violent struggle over blood and treasure. this is hand to hand, throat to throat combat training. these civilians are readying for war over blood and treasure. and the treasure is south africa. the topography like few places on earth, tensions part of a rising tide covered around the world. >> i thought the whole point of the new south africa rejected racial discrimination. >> this is the start of a genocide as far as i'm concerned. >> reporter: here are the battle lines, they're starkly black and white. >> going out on night patrol, go three, four, five hours.
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>> most of us have been in some form of attack. >> reporter: these are secret soldiers of sorts. out on patrol, white south africans afraid, claiming they are under attack by the black majority and those who run discovery. >> the government is not protecting us. and we need to take a stance. >> we have no other choice. >> reporter: and the way they see it, this deep facto war has already taken lives. nobody knows that better than birn deb bernadette. >> i saw five black men approaching the dairy area. >> reporter: her husband was murdered when bandits came to their farm. >> they had guns. >> reporter: her husband fought to the death. she sheltered in a shed where she found her cell phone. >> i couldn't make a connection.
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next minute, i pulled the door open, and i saw david on his knees. i could see he was, he couldn't fight anymore. the next minute, the, just shot him. >> reporter: they executed him. >> yes. >> reporter: he was on his knees. >> he was on his knees in front of them. he pointed the gun and pulled the trigger. >> reporter: broken, but unbound. bernadette has kept farming. she feels she has her own stake in this fight. the very land where her own husband's blood was shed. >> farming was in our boepnes, our blood, our life. >> reporter: she is descended from the dutch. you love this country. >> yes. >> reporter: this is your home. >> this is my home. >> reporter: on the other side is gary. before any one else called it
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home, his people had been in south africa for centuries. >> the beautifulist places in earth is in the garden of eden, yes. i love my land. >> reporter: he's part of an indigenous tribe that was here long before anyone else. >> our dna is connected to this land. this land is ancestral land. it's our land. if you take it from us, we all die. >> reporter: two south africans, two very different claims to the land. their divide stems from a controversial government proposal. it's called land expropriation without compensation. the government seizing land without paying the current owner for it and giving that land to someone else. >> if they want to come and take this land, we're not going to stand back. >> reporter: you will fight. >> i will fight for this land, yes. >> reporter: that sounds like civil war to me. >> don't you think we are all
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almost in civil war? >> you've got to keep the whites and blacks separate. >> reporter: in america, our racial divisions lie under the spectre of slavery and jim crow. in south africa, the ghost of another, fresher horror. apartheid, which ended just over 20 years ago. it's a country that's long-solved its problems with violence. ♪ >> reporter: but with the inauguration of nelson pandmand came new hope. the man with the audacity to become president. >> let's say to them, we are all south africans. >> reporter: now that mandela is gone, his beloved south african congress tarnished by corruption. the winds of discontent that whisk around the world have reached this rainbow nation.
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a divide between black and white deepening again. >> land was forcibly taken from the african, indigenous people. we should be ready to confront the enemy and fight for our country. >> reporter: as bernadette hall sees it, she was victimized once by killers and thieves, now by her government. >> that wouldn't be fair. i mean, i legally bought this farm. i worked to be able to do that. now you come in, you take this farm, and i've got to disappear. where have i got to go to? >> reporter: she will not go quietly. her gun is with her at all times. her horror still fresh. >> unfortunately, that is something that you, you relive every time you talk about it. you smell the people, you taste the blood. >> reporter: now she says she and other white south africans are reaping the consequences her
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ancestors sowed. >> these are absolutely hateful south africans because we are seen as the people leaving them behind. >> reporter: many say fears of white genocide are unfounded and farm murders are at a 20-year low. black and white farmers are targeted because they live in remote areas and have cash. but despite that, there are people attracted to the cause, the so-called alt-right. >> it doesn't get press coverage. it is not talked about at all. >> reporter: saying whites are being targeted for their race, a common talking point of neo-nazis and white nationalists. but they seemed to get a big endorsement, their language echoed by president trump. highlighted by the claim that the government is seizing land from white farmers. the president's language flying
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in the face of facts. >> it is that there is a genocide against white people in south africa. that is the most egregious statement, because there's no data to support that whatsoever. >> reporter: a 1913 law stripped most people most black people of their right to own property, leaving most people of color trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty and violence. >> we come last on everything. >> reporter: vice president of the militant group, blacks first, land first says it is about much more than farming. it's a struggle for equality. >> so really, appropriation without compensation is a call for justice. >> i suppose the basic point is 20 years after apartheid, most farming land is still in the hands of white people. >> reporter: here's the break down. people of color make over 90% of
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the population but only own less than 30% of the private land in the country and actually are the ones who encounter more violence. >> young black males are far more likely to be victims of murder than any other population group in south africa. >> reporter: back in 2016 two white farmers tried to seal a 20 year old black man in a coffin and threatened to burn him alive. >> in relation to this case i find -- >> reporter: they will spend more than a decade in prison. the story sparked headlines, protests and renewed anger. >> this is our land, we will stand and die for it. if it comes to that, we must die for it. >> reporter: the sweeping vista overlooks his land, but he says despite having the title deed, the local government won't let him farm or mine here. >> this is the title deed, right? this is my name and my id number. according then, they say you're
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not the owner. you see, it's just so unfair. i feel like i'm in prison. >> reporter: the town municipality disputes the validity of his deed. at a time when the national conversation is focussed on what could be taken from white farmers, he says not enough attention is on what black farmeran farmers and workers still don't have. >> we are black. we were massacred on the basis that we were black and not white. it can't be that 24 years into democracy, to be poor means to be black and to be rich means to be white. it means there's something wrong. >> reporter: the ruling party says it's trying to right those wrongs. critics claim it's more of a desperate measure to stay in power. they've been debating this since the end of apartheid. until there's a resolution, bern
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de bernadette will start her day as she does daily, hold onto her faith. >> you have to find the beautiful in the morning. how do you lift your head up without something to strife for? >> reporter: beautiful is a word that surrounds you when you're in south africa. but here, blood and treasure isn't simply something. it's everything. a reason to live or die. >> they say we mustn't talk about history. but you see everything that you, that you touch is about history. they take our language i a way. they took our culture and traditions away. they took a lot of things away. there must be a day where it's like judgment day >> when we come back, a town in south africa for whites only. is this modern-day segregation
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is white. it's by design. >> many people, they call this an apartheid town. what south africa was, not what it's attempting to become. >> reporter: to live in orania. you must be an ethnic group that descended from the europeans. they even speak their own language. he and his wife and their four boys moved here seven years ago. here's my first question. living in this town, does it make you racist? >> practically speaking, living in this town makes me less racist. the problem in south africa, we don't understand each other. >> reporter: he says they moved here to escape the crime and chaos of big city life. >> we want to build our own heritage, and building your own is not the same as breaking somebody else down. >> reporter: you want to build your own country? >> if it's necessary and we can do that without bloodshed, why
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not? >> reporter: has anything in south africa ever been done without bloodshed? >> has anything in the world ever been done without bloodshed? i don't know. >> reporter: when people hear all-white town they are suspicious, perhaps even fearful. >> i understand that. we don't perceive ourselves as white people. we perceive africaaana people. >> reporter: there are no black people. >> it's the beauty of it. it's not that different. it's not that different. it's just human beings living here. >> reporter: we get a tour from the town spokesperson. >> a guy rolling up his sleeve is our national symbol. it represents getting ready to work. >> reporter: the town's population has almost doubled in the last seven year. it's growing.
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>> dit's growing rapidly. >> reporter: post apartheid measures make many feel they're being left behind, making orania a safe haven. >> this whole circle represents this history. >> reporter: he takes us here, a monument to heroes, south africa's unwanted statues have come to rest. the similarities to america's confederate memorials is striking. for some, recalling a proud ancestry. for others a haunting past. >> they look from the past, and we say look towards the future. >> reporter: among the busts here, the architect of apartheid. >> the most pro part my family is obvioly the doctor. >> reporter: this is carl, the president of the orania movement. his father started the town. his grandfather started apartheid. the racial divide is in his
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bloodline. from 30,000 feet, people look down and say ah, that must be a town of racists. are you a racist? >> no. >> reporter: do you think that your people are better than other ethnic groups? >> i know us too well to think that. ♪ >> reporter: protecting their culture and christian values, he insists, is their primary goal. >> we are thinly spread and just in a very vulnerable position. this is a time for a spread out population to start and concentrate. >> reporter: so you think are under threat. >> yes. >> reporter: apartheid is a word that at its core means "apart." >> yes, yes.
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>> reporter: what you have here in orania is a community that chooses to live apart. >> that line of argument is why -- >> reporter: it isn't an argument but a statement of fact, yes? >> it's interesting when the stating of facts become an argument. and it has to do with the baggage of the term. >> reporter: how do you bridge that, though? that baggage one could also call history, right? >> yes. >> reporter: because the history of south africa, oftentimes, all white, has often come at the expense of all others. >> yeah. it starts by not negating it, and give us time to prove ourselves as participants in the african future. >> reporter: so you're saying "trust us". >> yes. yes. that's, i didn't think about it that way, but yeah, i'm saying trust us.
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>> reporter: trust the words of the grandson or trust the wounds left by the grandfather. just like gold and diamonds, mistrust lives deep in the soil of south africa. not all the ghosts of apartheid have faded, and none have been forgotten. >> and we'll be right back with a final word. body odors? pet, shoe, and for long-lasting, continuous freshness, try febreze plug. febreze plug provides 1200 hours of freshness, with a unique dual chamber design that alternates between harmonized scents for a continuous renewal of fragrance. plus, febreze plug is formulated with odorclear technology, which cleans away odors instead of just masking them. for freshness you'll notice week after week, try febreze plug. i'm missing out on our family outings because i can't find a bladder leakage product that fits. everything was too loose. but depend® fit-flex feels tailored to me. with a range of sizes for all body types.
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and finally tonight. it was nelson mandela who said after climbing a great hill one only finds out there are many more hills to climb. thank you for watching "nightline." thank you to our producers and our team in south africa. you can always catch our
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