The lockdown is a terrible mistake

Condolences to the family of the first victim in South Africa.

These are my personal views, not those of any of my colleagues on the farm nor of my landlord, Spier.

There are many reasons why this a terrible mistake.

  1. The government has condemned our women to an increase in domestic violence against them. South African women are already the most raped in the world, see here. Friends of mine in Italy and the UK told me that before the compulsory lockdowns that it was mostly women who chose to come to work, despite work from home being suggested, in order to avoid being abused by their male partners.
  2. The entire country suddenly trusts the government. How can it be that they have gone from being unable guarantee electricity or water  or avoid being downgraded to junk by Moodys to miraculously having solutions to a crisis of a magnitude that we have never faced before.
  3. This will be the death knell of small business. Big business has the reserves to survive this shutdown but only they have this luxury. A hallmark of our government is that it is anti small business.
  4. As of writing one person is dead in this country from the virus. The virus has officially been out in China since the 17th of November 2019 which is more than 4 months ago. Africa is now a Chinese colony and thousands of our colonisers have been travelling throughout their continent for the last 4 months and must we not be curious and ask why this virus is now suddenly a threat. We are officially the unhealthiest country in the world as per this study and so logically we should have the weakest immune systems and accordingly thousands of dead people.
  5. It is hard to believe that the lockdown will be enforced considering the current state of our police and army.
  6. It is only the law abiding who will allow themselves to be locked down. However this is the economically active part of the population which pays the taxes that keeps the country going and so our government is further reducing their already inadequate tax base.
  7. We have given up our civil liberties without a moment of hesitation. Ivo Vegter, who left the Daily Maverick recently, wrote this brilliant piece on our meek submission.

Not all scientists are in agreement with the severity of this virus. In fact there are some very serious scientists doing the job that media should do which is question the government version. Read here. Yet we are all told to believe the ONE view. Our normally independent critical media have as a result of one speech by our leader become sycophants. Absolutely no mention of Taiwan, Vietnam, Holland and other countries who are not doing this draconian lockdown.

I am no doctor but I read widely and it appears that the most effective way to deal with this virus is widespread testing, treatment of infected people with chloroquine, emergency care of the sick with artificial respiration and recombinant interferon Alfa 2B.

It would be amazing to be totally wrong and witness South Africa having it’s long awaited hallelujah moment when we become the Rainbow Nation and this crisis stimulates us to deal with the murder, rape, heart disease, cancer, topsoil destruction epidemics that actually kill people every day (unlike the virus which has killed one person). Is it too much to hope that this will also lead us to embrace regenerative agriculture?

I recently did a TED talk on The Case for Regenerative Agriculture. Click here for the talk. One criticism of my TED talk was that at the end it does not address exactly how regenerative agriculture can feed South Africa. This is very easy. Remove the 1 million hectares of sugar cane and gum plantations and replace these with carbon sequestering multi species pastures upon which all our cattle, pigs, chicken and sheep graze. Halve the arable land (you dont need to feed maize to cattle and sheep) and you get another 8.5 million hectares. Graze all of that as well as the 35 million hectares of grasslands in the high density grazing method and your carrying capacity goes up by 3 times and then are you not only healing the earth, you are creating employment and producing nutrient dense food.


28 March 2020




4 Responses

  1. The biggest cause of climate change, global pandemics and antibiotic resistance is animal agriculture. Yes you farm in a different way and produce premium products which most of the population will never be able to afford. Switching to a plant based diet will create healthier humans and release millions of hectares currently being used to feed livestock. We need to cut out the middleman (the animal) and get our plants at source

    1. Nicky

      Please watch my TED talk and you will see that you are completely mistaken. Animals are key to regenerative agriculture.


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