Do White Businessmen Pay to Hunt African Children?

A controversial photograph supposedly documents the practice of hunting African children for sport.

  • Published 24 November 2014

Claim

A photograph shows a white businessman posing with the body of a small black child he hunted for sport in Africa.

Rating

Miscaptioned
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Origin

On 16 November 2014, an image of a smiling white man holding a large gun and posing with what appeared to be the corpse of a small black male child was posted by a single user to Facebook:

White men, in Africa do this on the week end killing 100s of little black boys hunting them like rabbits America play a blind eye because they are from isreal, and British ,also America please share if you hate what is going on and want it to stop [THIS PICTURE IS REAL BEEN EXAMINE BY EXPERTS]

According to the original poster, in both the post itself and in follow-up comments, the photograph supposedly documented that white men visit Africa from the UK, the United States, and Israel to kill “[hundreds] of little black boys” for sport during vacations.

Although users on social media had been exposed to many manipulated or otherwise dishonest images, the image of the hunted little boy struck a particular chord among them. Unlike many instances of pictures of dubious origin passed around the Internet, in this case users were strongly moved to learn whether it brought to light a lesser known and horrible practice of which the Western world remained largely and tragically unaware.

The image itself is not a new one, nor is it something that remained largely unseen until 2014. In fact, its travels across the web are fairly well documented: the picture of the white man posing with the small boy first appeared in 2007, and it rapidly caught the attention of authorities.

At the time the image surfaced in 2007, police determined the man in the photo had paid to pose with the child. In 2011, the image resurfaced on Facebook under a profile with the pseudonym “Eugene Terrorblanche,” a reference to Eugene Terreblanche, a South African white separatist who was killed in 2010.

When the image emerged yet again in August 2011, its backstory was reported alongside media mentions of the unsettling image:

Police questioned the man from Knysna [South Africa] in 2007 when the picture first surfaced.

Hawks spokesman Colonel McIntosh Polela said that Western Cape police contacted him after reading a Sunday Times report which stated that the photograph featured on the profile of a Facebook user who called himself “Eugene Terrorblanche.”

“I was told that the photograph came to light in 2007 and that it was investigated. The man was taken in for questioning.

“He told police that the child was alive and that he paid the child to pose.”

In September 2011, that same news outlet determined the identity of the man in the photograph:

The Sunday Times can reveal that the man in the picture, holding a rifle while kneeling over the “lifeless” body of a young child is North West farmer and diamond prospector AC Strauss.

Strauss, via his lawyer, refused a request for an interview, but his father, Braam Strauss, told the Sunday Times: “I want the police to find this man who wrote those racist things and used my son’s picture, and send him to jail.”

Strauss said the photograph, taken on his son’s cellphone, was a “joke”.

The elder Strauss reported that the parents of the child in the photograph lived on the same farm as the Strauss family, and that he was present when police questioned them about the image. He also said the heavily-circulated picture had adversely affected his son’s life:

Asked whether the family was sorry about the picture, Braam Strauss said: “The wrong impression was sent out into the world. AC’s life has been ruined because of this. How can he ever show his face overseas again?”

While Strauss’ intent in taking the picture was never fully clarified, the child in the photograph was found to be unharmed by police who investigated after the image resurfaced repeatedly on social media sites. It’s not clear whether the backstory attached to the photo in November 2014 prompted its renewed circulation, nor whether the person behind the “Eugene Terrorblanche” pseudonym had ever been located.

However, the claim about white businessmen hunting children in Africa was not attached to the picture when it circulated in 2011 and was likely invented to explain the unsettling photograph. Murdering children is just as illegal in Africa as it is on every other continent.