Back, the owner of the wine and cheese-producing farm Fairview in Paarl, was the victim of a “brutal farm attack” on Tuesday night during which three men beat him up.
But despite the attack, he returned to work straight from the hospital on Wednesday, posing for a picture, all bloodied and bandaged, with his staff.
“Last night, I endured a brutal farm attack here on my Fairview farm in Paarl. This morning, I decided to come straight from the hospital and stop by Fairview, to show my millennial counterparts what real work commitment looks like, as ongoing banter we have between us,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.
“In truth and in all seriousness, the attack was physically and emotionally painful.
“I was beaten up with a crowbar, have broken bones, was rolled up into a carpet and left for dead in my home.”
Back said that he survived was nothing short of a miracle and he felt like he had returned from the dead.
“I am so grateful to be alive, and my heart goes out to all the people that have lost their family members in the ongoing farm attacks,” he said.
Motivated to ‘make even the smallest difference’
Back said the vicious attack hadn’t left him bitter.
“I want it to be known that this attack was not politically divisive in any way, but that these were just three common gangsters motivated by their own self-interests,” he said.
“I believe in the values that this country was built on, and continue to hope for harmony and peace. I am now doubly motivated to come into work every day, and will continue to ensure that I can contribute and try make even the smallest difference in my community.”
Western Cape police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana confirmed police had opened a case of house robbery.
Rwexana said the suspects stole various electronic household items and a firearm.
The suspects fled the scene and no arrests have been made.
Agricultural Writers SA gave Back the national 2017 Farmer of the Year award, describing him as a man of many firsts.
The organisation said Back was one of the first producers to make land and company ownership a reality for farmworkers. He also established the first goat milk factory in the country.