Passing of Land Bill Ignites Farmers’ Old Fears of Seizures in South Africa

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JOHANNESBURG—Dries Marais gazed over his golden fields on his farm in the South African province of North West, corn glittering in the aftermath of a heavy thunderstorm.

In guttural Afrikaans, the 62-year-old barked: “When many of my friends and relatives left South Africa in the 1990s and early 2000s, I stayed.

“I told my sons, ‘We are connected to this soil. Our Boer ancestors fought for our place on this land. We fought the British and then we fought the ANC.’ The world says we lost those wars. But here we still are …”

Marais’s face is lined, but his eyes are those of a much younger man, a steely, piercing navy blue, his thick, freckled forearms as brown as the ground his boots crunch into.

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