Eugene Terre’Blanche, the well-known, charismatic leader of the AWB was murdered on his farm outside Ventersdorp in South Africa over this past weekend (April 3, 2010).
This seems to have set off a firestorm in South Africa, especially amongst AWB members and supporters, who regard this murder as “a declaration of war by black people on white people.”
The timing for this murder could not have been worse! A few weeks ago, Julius Malema, the controversial leader of the ruling ANC’s Youth League, was singing a song called “kill the boer” (“kill the farmer”) at a rally where he was a speaker. This rightfully upset a lot of people, and last week a South African court banned the singing of the song, declaring it hate-speech.
The question now is: Is this a declaration of war on whites in South Africa? Is this murder the beginning of wide-spread racial violence?
I don’t think it is, and here’s why…
Motive for the Murder
Eugene Terre’Blanche (ET) was a right-winger who didn’t have much time for black people. He started the AWB in 1973 in response to what he considered to be the liberal race policies of former South African Prime Minister, John Vorster.
Anybody who followed ET’s activities over the years will know that he was not afraid of violence. He threatened with violence if a black government ever took over South Africa, and the AWB supposedly had a hand in a bombing campaign orchestrated before the first all-race elections of 1994 in an attempt to destabilize the country and derail the elections. More recently, he spent three years (2001 – 2004) in jail for beating a black man to the point of brain damage.
Given all this, I doubt that he treated black workers on his farm with much respect. As I suspected, and as now reported in the press, the two black guys who killed him had done some work for him on his farm and he refused to pay them. Who knows why he would not pay them… maybe they did a bad job… maybe he believed that he didn’t need to pay them.
The point is, it was a dispute over pay that led to the murder, which makes it a criminal murder and not a political murder!
This does not mean that the murder is justified in any way.
Back to Julius Malema… The AWB has accused Malema of being responsible for this murder. This is one point that I partially agree with. I don’t think Malema is directly responsible, but…
Whether I like it or not (and I don’t like it), Julius Malema is a leader in South Africa who has a large following whom he has a lot of influence over. If he goes around singing “kill the boer” songs, he is planting the seed in his followers’ heads that it is OK to kill white people. While thousands of white farmers have been murdered in South Africa since 1994 and before Malema came on the scene, he is further fomenting the current situation and should therefore carry at least a partial moral responsibility.
The AWB considers this murder to be a declaration of war, or so they stated in the press. They obviously feel this is a political murder. It is very convenient for them to consider it a political murder because that strengthens their political beliefs. I think they are wrong!
This was a criminal murder over a pay dispute. If it becomes a war, it will be because the AWB makes it a war. Luckily they have stated that they do not intend any violent retribution. I hope all their members abide by that.
Eugene Terre’Blanche was a well-known man, hence all the attention his murder is getting in the press. As I stated earlier, thousands of white farmers have been murdered on their farms, mostly by black people, since 1994. ET’s murder counts as a farm murder.
So far the South African government has been largely indifferent to the farm murders. Terrible as ET’s murder is, if anything good could come from it, I hope it is that his murder shines a very bright light on farm murders and that something finally gets done about it.
My condolences to the Terre’Blanche family.
Your points are very interesting and I do hope that now something will be done about the farm murders.
Caryn, I agree, your article is very worrying. If that article is true, there is BIG trouble on the way. It will make ET's murder look like a walk in the park.
I think it’s obvious that SA is following zims path……
down the toilet for all but the gravy train……..
It's too suspect! This is no plain murder, and it looks, during the ANC's time in power, like a set up of Eugene as a racist, etc, etc: that's just how the ANC works, lives and behaves. africancrisis.co.za has some good pointers, excellent pointers. This is clearly more than it seems, when one examines their characteristics – both the AWB and the ANC. Yes, if only something gets does about farm murders, whether by the government, or at least by reforming the Kommandos.
Linking an old ANC liberation song to the murder of Eugene Terreblanche seems like a long shot to make political hay for a spent force while the sun shines.
Crime in our country knows no racial bounds and according to recent figures, published by Nationmaster.com, 0.47 out of 1000 South Africans of all races will become victims of murder by the end of the year. (UK 0.014 in comparison)
If anyone else than Terreblanche was to have met the maker at the hands of violence last Saturday night he or she would simply and silently have become another notch on the scale of the sad fact above.
If a culprit needs to be found for this latest act of crime than it would perhaps be more expedient to focus on law enforcement and the judicial system which fails to deal ruthlessly with crime – regardless of race.
A point in case is Eugene Terreblanche’s conviction, some years back, for attempted murder. After serving three of his six year sentence he was released while his victim never fully recovered from this attack and was left with severe brain damage and disabled for life.
I am trying to put myself in the place of the victim’s father and I wonder if I would feel that justice had been done if my son was at the receiving end of Terreblanche’s brutality.
Nation building requires many skills one of which is mature leadership on all levels of society.
Africa is a continent where symbols and rhetoric are like a “symbiosis” which will either act as cement for unity or as a wedge for division.
A young and diverse Nation, like ours in particular, needs to wake up every morning with a new desire and a fresh commitment to search for unifying fundamentals.
Denying the present and propagating the status ante-quo are signs of a divided past. Using symbols and rhetoric of a bygone era can only be poison to unity and fertile ground for division to flourish.
While Malema’s song “Kill a Boer Kill a Farmer” may have been appropriate inspiration during the struggle to end apartheid it has as little relevance in our society today as has the old South African flag sported by right wing extremists.
South Africa has a new flag under which our Nation is united. Our soldiers, sailors and airmen as well as our policemen and -women swear their oath of allegiance under this flag. It is a symbol of pride and unity. To fly the old national flag or the Transvaal vierkleur is an insult to every South African.
“Kill a Boer Kill a Farmer” is equally inappropriate. The struggle to abolish Apartheid has been won and is over.
Today’s struggle is to feed the Nation, to create jobs and dignifying living conditions for all. This struggle cannot be won by a single political party alone but requires an inclusive effort by all people. To this end we need national symbols and unifying speach addressing all the people beyond party political affiliations.
The Truth – http://www.africancrisis.co.za/Article.php?ID=111… __http://www.africancrisis.co.za/Article.php?ID=472…
no comment on a "politically correct American article"……….white south africans have been betrayed – Texas can have their lone star state flag waving in the wind – – the south can have their rebel flag blowing in the wind but south africans that still hold their old flag dear to their heart must be hung – drawn and quartered by fellow south africans living in america !!! nope this does not fly with me – we all have done things in our past that were wrong – as has ET,
My sister, who was the stenographer at Mandela's treason trial – says he stood proud and tall in court and admitted to the bombings in JHB station killing people – and he was made President and treated like the second coming of Christ!!!! I rest my case – my deepest sympathy to ET.s family and believe my God does not sleep…
Not sure what "hung – drawn and quartered by fellow south africans living in america" means. Is it aimed at me and my "politically correct American article" for daring to suggest that ET's murder was not necessarily politically inspired? If you disagree with the article, argue your case and present facts.
I don't feel sorry for any of you South African Nazis especially those who reside in the US. ETB's death pales in comparison to the murders he committed during apartheid and that he helped orchestrate afterwards including the bombings, beatings and the brutal murder of Mayor Mashe of Ventersdoorp. Just remember in the United States your citizenship and permanent residency can be stripped, and we have no tolerance for hate groups such as yourself.
RealityCheck, just to be sure, you're not including all South Africans living in the US or this website in "South African Nazi's" and "hate groups such as yourself", are you? If so, that would be far from the truth. If I look at all the press stories and TV footage related to ET's death, it often appears like the AWB and ET represented a large percentage of the white South African community. That would certainly be very far from the truth. I doubt that more than 5% of white South Africans supported the AWB in its heyday in the late 80s. They were very much the same as some of the radical right-wing groups you find right here in the US.
No, I was not referring to all South Africans, but I do get rather annoyed by South Africans in America who constantly complain about South Africa. The country is still in transition. I find it somewhat more progressive than the US with the fact that it had already passed humane policies that America is still debating over such as eradication of the Death Penalty, Homosexuals included in discrimination prohibition policies, an Elite Swat Police Force that makes America's Navy Seals look like amateurs, a Wildlife protection including endangered species, and as painful and angry as this makes me apartheid killers being allowed to walk free after testifying for the Truth and Reconciliation Committee. Now all those are to be commended. Now whether those policies have been fully enforced is a different matter, but I just get really annoyed when South Africans come to my country and want to moan and complain about what's happening in their own country due to violence and crime and focusing on the farm murders while leaving out those who still live in townships lacking basic necessities and are subject to brutal conditions everyday.
Many countries in Africa are experiencing a brain drain. Unless you're trying to help the situation, what are you doing? You're either part of the solution or part of the problem. Eugene TerreBlanche was part of the problem. I don't send any condolescences. If anything justice has been served due to the blood that was on his hands.
By the way, there's a new South African in town, he's a chiropractor on Seventh street.
There were lots of people with blood on their hands in South Africa. ET was one them, but so is Winnie Mandela (ever hear of Stompie Sepei and that method of execution called "necklacing"?). The ANC also ran "punishment camps" in Angola and Zambia, and by all accounts these places were not holiday resorts. ET was part of the problem, so was Winnie, and from the looks of it, so is Julius Malema positioning himself today.
Winnie Mandela didn't do the murder, her "Football Club" security guards were rumored to have done it. Most of the murders committed by Blacks during this time were reactionary and instigated by the white apartheid police. Necklacing was not even a practice until apartheid introduced those torture methods. If anything what I see in South Africa is the hate that hate created. I think people should be grateful that they weren't doing mass executions for the atrocities that were committed during apartheid or subjecting people to Nuremberg style trials. People who complain about South Africa should cool down because personally I think they got it easy. Post Nazi Germany had repercussions but they also received millions in foreign aid after the war, but at the same time all those who participated in Nazi crimes were punished severely. I have yet to see that with perpetrators of apartheid .
Saying that Winnie is innocent of Stompie's murder is like saying Al Capone was innocent of any murders because his hitmen carried them out. There were obviously many good black people in South Africa, and I knew several of them, but in my opinion Winnie doesn't count amongst them. If I remember correctly, the concept of Nuremberg-style trials came up in South Africa at that time, but it was decided that reconciliation was more important to South Africa's future than revenge. I would not be surprised if Nelson Mandela himself pushed that point because his presidency focused a lot on reconciliation. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I do get the feeling that things would have been somewhat different if you had a say.
Hoekom moet ons mense so lei. Dit is tyd dat ons weer baklei vir wat ons in glo, soos in die Voortrekkertyd toe die hele Volk saam gestaan het. Die verdrukte Volk is te bang om weer so saam te staan soos ons voorouers. Kom aan mense laat ons weer soos een man wees. Ons moet almal saam bid, saam alles, na ons medemens kyk en nie neerkyk op hul nie.
Is Presidente nie veronderstel om oor 50 jaar te wees voor hul president kan wees nie. Malema gaan aan asof hy die land heers. Hy’s nog ‘n snotkop en sal baie hard val terug aarde toe. Ons is lank genoeg verkleineer en mee gemors.
Vir die Boere wat in KZN ‘n byeenkoms gereel het om te gaan bid, Amen op jul, mag God met jul wees, ek gaan ook saam bid. Ek haal my hoed af, want daar is darem al ‘n groep mense wat saam staan en help.
My American self would be the first to deport you and strip you of your citizenship and probably make you pay for the benefits you gained in the US military. I hope there is land reform. Any brutality you received is just punishment for apartheid.