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Apartheid in South Africa
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1948 general election,
Coloured vote constitutional crisis,
Church Street bombing,
Khotso House bombing,
Cape Town peace march,
Assassination of Chris Hani,
Saint James Church massacre,
Shell House massacre,
State Security Council,
P. W. Botha,
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Apartheid in popular culture,
Eugène Ney Terre'Blanche (31 January 1941 - 3 April 2010) was a South African political activist who founded the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB).
Born an Afrikaner in Ventersdorp, Transvaal, he developed an early interest in politics, becoming a police officer. Joining the Herstigte Nasionale Party which established apartheid in 1948, he founded the AWB as a secret society in 1973, after increasing disillusionment with the National party during the apartheid era. During the 1980s and early 1990s, he became known for threatening civil war to maintain white rule in South Africa. After the country's transition to post-apartheid democracy, he revised his stances and urged his followers to push for independence in an independent Afrikaner homeland, which he frequently referred to as a "Boerevolkstaat". Terre'Blanche led the organisation until his death in 2010.
Terre'Blanche spent three years in prison for assaulting a black petrol station worker and for the attempted murder of a black security guard in 1996. On 3 April 2010, he was hacked and beaten to death on his farm by a black farm labourer, allegedly over a wage dispute. Terre'Blanche's supporters have said that the murder is part of a larger pattern of anti-white farm murders in South Africa.
2 Political career
2.1 Herstigte Nasionale Party,
2.2 Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging,
2.3 Media image,
2.5 Later years,
3 Conviction and prison sentence
3.1 Assault on Ndzima,
3.2 Attempted murder of Motshabi,
3.3 Subsequent disputes,
5.2 Court case,
6 See also,
9 External links,
Terre'Blanche's grandfather fought as a so-called "Cape Rebel" for the Boer cause in the Second Boer War, and his father was a lieutenant colonel in the South African Defence Force.
The progenitor of the Terre'Blanche name (translatable as either 'white land' or 'white earth' in French) in the region was a French Huguenot refugee, Estienne Terreblanche from Toulon (Provence), who arrived at the Cape in 1704, fleeing anti-Protestant persecution in France. The Terreblanche name has generally retained its original spelling though other spellings include Terre'Blanche, Terre Blanche, Terblanche and Terblans.
Born on a farm in the Transvaal town of Ventersdorp on 31 January 1941, Terre'Blanche attended Laerskool Ventersdorp and Hoër Volkskool in Potchefstroom, matriculating in 1962. While in school, he gave early expression to his political leanings by founding the cultural organisation Jong Afrikanerharte (Young Afrikaner Hearts).
He joined the South African Police, and was initially deployed in South West Africa (now Namibia), which had been given to South Africa under a League of Nations Trust mandate after World War I. Upon returning to South Africa proper, he became a Warrant Officer in the Special Guard Unit, which was assigned to members of the Cabinet.
Herstigte Nasionale Party:
During the late 1960s, Terre'Blanche increasingly opposed what he called the "liberal policies" of B. J. Vorster, then Prime Minister of South Africa. After four years of service in the SAP, he resigned to pursue a career in politics, running unsuccessfully for local office in Heidelberg as a member of the Herstigte Nasionale Party.
Disillusioned with the established avenues for political participation, Terre'Blanche founded the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (Afrikaner Resistance Movement, AWB) in Heidelberg in 1973, initially as a secret society. The AWB first appeared on the public scene after its members were charged with and fined for tarring and feathering Floors van Jaarsfeld, a professor of history who had publicly voiced the opinion that the Day of the Vow (previously called Dingaan's Day), a public holiday in remembrance of the Battle of Blood River, was nothing more than a secular event with hardly any real reference point in history. Though Terre'Blanche would later express his regrets regarding the incident when testifying before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, he suggested that his convictions relating to the sanctity of the Day of the Vow might make his actions more understandable. In the years that followed, Terre'Blanche's speeches at public gatherings often evoked the Battle of Blood River, and his oratorical skills earned him much support among the white right wing in South Africa; the AWB claimed 70,000 members at its height.
Throughout the 1980s, Terre'Blanche continued to present himself and the AWB as an alternative to both the National Party-led government and the Conservative Party, and he remained staunchly opposed to the reform policies of PW Botha to establish additional, albeit still separate, parliamentary chambers for non-whites, and to grant suffrage to Coloureds and South Africans of Indian origin. The organisation's strongest support was found in the rural communities of South Africa's North, with comparably few supporters in urban areas where his following was largely limited to the middle and lower income Afrikaners.
Terre'Blanche viewed the end of apartheid as a surrender to communism, and threatened full scale civil war if President FW de Klerk handed power to Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress. When De Klerk addressed a meeting in Terre'Blanche's hometown of Ventersdorp in 1991, Terre'Blanche led a protest, and the Battle of Ventersdorp ensued between the AWB and the police, with a number of people killed. Terre'Blanche claimed that it was only when he stood between the police and the AWB and demanded a ceasefire that the shooting ended. Terre'Blanche accused President de Klerk of instigating the riot for political gain. (95)
In an attempt to disrupt the negotiation process in 1993, Terre'Blanche accompanied by General Constand Viljoen and Conservative Party parliamentarian Thomas Langley led an armed invasion of the World Trade Centre in Kempton Park while negotiations were in progress. After a memorandum of grievances were presented to National Party minister Roelf Meyer and Dawie de Villiers and upon concluding and agreement that no arrests would be made, the AWB withdrew from the premises. However that evening several identified AWB leaders were arrested and their wives were incarcerated in Soweto, separately from their husbands. Vlakplaas General Krappies Engelbrecht was appointed to launch an investigation.
Terre'Blanche claimed he and President Lucas Mangope of the predominantly ethnic Tswana Homeland of Bophuthatswana came to a "mutual agreement" on 17 February 1992, to aid each other in the "event of a communist threat" On 4 March 1994 Mangope announced that Bophutatswana would not participate in the South African general election in an effort to maintain Bophutatswana's independence from the Republic of South Africa. Bophuthatswana's minister of justice, Godfrey Mothibe tried in vain to convince Mangope to participate in the election, but then accused the ANC of orchestrating the revolt, which was helped by the stance taken by South Africa's then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Roelof "Pik" Botha. Thousands of ANC supporters were bussed in from areas outside of Bophuthatswana to support the popular uprising. Terre'Blanche claimed a conspiracy by citing a "three-step plan" by the ANC in an effort to destabilise Bophuthatswana, which included ANC infiltration of the Bophuthatswana police and military. However, ANC candidate for the North West Province, Popo Molefe claimed the ANC was merely supporting the people of Bophuthatswana after it became clear that their political freedoms were limited.
Terre'Blanche claimed he had personally communicated with Mangope on 10 March 1994 (107), prior to mobilising his men to protect the capital Mmabatho against looting and unrest. (110) Officers of the Bophuthatswana Defence Force initially received the AWB militia with "great joy and surprise." (Vuur en Verraad, Arthur Kemp) The AWB militia assembled in an airport hangar in Mmabatho, where they were to be provided with rations and firearms. Terre'Blanche ordered his men to remove their AWB badges upon the request of the Bophuthatswana Defence Force. While contained at the hangar, an unidentified and independent faction carrying the AWB emblems started shooting indiscriminately at the public. Terre'Blanche concluded that the South African intelligence services may have set up the shooting in order to discredit the AWB, since the media broadcast footage of the individuals' emblems, but did not publicise their identity. (105) The Bophuthatswana police systematically began to remove the media from strategic locations, and the initial hospitality shown to the AWB militia was replaced by contempt. When Bophuthatswana fell into complete anarchy, the AWB withdrew.
The AWB were subsequently defeated while invading Bophuthatswana to prop up the autocratic leader of the bantustan in 1994 and, consequently, Terre'Blanche did not follow up on his earlier threats of war.
Terre'Blanche was lampooned in the 1991 documentary The Leader, His Driver and the Driver's Wife, directed by British filmmaker Nick Broomfield. A sequel, His Big White Self, was first broadcast in February 2006. Terre'Blanche was also interviewed by Louis Theroux in episode 3.3 "Boer Separatists" of the BBC series Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends.
In 1988, the AWB was beset by scandal when claims of an affair with journalist Jani Allan surfaced. In July 1989, Cornelius Lottering, a member of the breakaway Orde van die Dood group, orchestrated a failed assassination attempt on Allan's life by placing a bomb outside her Sandton apartment.
Broomfield's 1991 documentary claimed Terre'Blanche had an affair with the Sunday Times journalist; a claim she denied as well as her portrayal in the documentary. This led to Allan taking libel proceedings against the documentary broadcaster Channel 4 in 1992 in the London High Court. During the trial, several transcripts of their alleged sexual relationship appeared in the South African and British press. Terre'Blanche submitted a sworn statement to the London court denying he had had an affair with Allan. In a rare interview with the Afrikaans Sunday newspaper Die Rapport, his wife Martie Terre'Blanche denounced the rumours. Although the judge found that Channel 4's allegations had not defamed Allan, he did not rule on whether or not there had been an affair. The South African business newspaper Financial Mail published a lead story on 6 August detailing the theory that F.W. de Klerk had orchestrated the libel case to discredit Terre'Blanche and the far right movement in South Africa.
Terre'Blanche was widely ridiculed after he was filmed falling off his horse during a parade in Pretoria. After his murder the state-owned SABC said on the evening news that he would be remembered "as a failed horseman". Terre'Blanche claimed the media only showed part of the fall and explained that unedited footage of the incident would show that the horse had slipped. He accused the media of double standards in reporting when praising Mbhazima Shilowa when he fell from, but immediately remounted his horse.
In 2004, he was controversially voted No. 25 in SABC3's Great South Africans from a list of 100 South African personalities. Controversy over the list led the SABC to cancel the television series.
Following the end of apartheid, Terre'Blanche and his supporters sought amnesty for the storming of the World Trade Centre, the 'Battle of Ventersdorp', and other acts. Amnesty was granted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
In March 2008, the AWB announced the re-activation of the political party, for 'populist' reasons, citing the encouragement of the public. Reasons for the return have been attributed principally to attacks on commercial farmers and ethnic Boers, the electricity crisis, corruption across government departments and rampant crime. Throughout April 2008, Terre'Blanche was to be the speaker at several AWB rallies, encompassing Vryburg, Middelburg, Mpumalanga and Pretoria.
He had been calling for a "free Afrikaner republic", and vowed to take his campaign to the United Nations' International Court of Justice in The Hague in a bid to secure this. He favoured large tracts of land that had been purchased from the ethnic Swazis in the eastern portion of the South African Republic, from the Zulus in northern Natal, and others, as well as largely uninhabited portions of the interior that had been settled by the Voortrekkers. In June 2008, it was announced that the AWB Youth Wing would be launched and Terre'Blanche was to be its founding member.
In a video interview in 2008, he voiced his objection to a proposal to change the iconic Springbok emblem of the South Africa national rugby union team (Springboks). He stated that the Springbok emblem could be replaced with an impala or kudu for sports teams representing the new Afrikaner republic.
In September 2009 he addressed a 3-day convention attended by 300 Afrikaners which was intended to develop a strategy for "Boer liberation". Terre'Blanche reinforced earlier claims for land in Northern Natal and the Eastern Transvaal. In October 2009 several right-wing groups led by Terre'Blanche outlined their future plans at a Ventersdorp meeting. In an interview with the Mail and Guardian he said he wanted to unite 23 organisations under one umbrella, in order to take, as he had vowed, the fight of "the free Afrikaner" to the International Court of Justice.
In an interview with the Mail and Guardian, he stated that he would publish his biography, Blouberge van Nimmer (The Blue Mountains of Long Ago), in December 2009. The biography was ready for press at the time of his death and published under the name "My Storie", as told to Amos van der Merwe. A complaint was lodged in December 2009 with the South African Human Rights Commission regarding inflammatory comments he was alleged to have made.
Conviction and prison sentence:
On 17 June 2001, Terre'Blanche was sentenced to six years in prison, of which he served three years, for assaulting John Ndzima, a petrol station worker, and the attempted murder of Paul Motshabi, a security guard, in 1996. Terre'Blanche denied both accusations and insisted on his innocence. One of only three whites in the Rooigrond prison near Mafikeng, during his time in prison he claimed to have become a born-again Christian and to have moderated many of his more racist views.
Assault on Ndzima:
The assault on Ndzima occurred after a confrontation over Ndzima's testimony against two white boys who had broken into a pharmacy in Ventersdorp. Terre'Blanche said that he merely argued with Ndzima after the burglary, questioning Ndzima's claims to have seen the burglars. According to Terre'Blanche, during the argument his dog broke loose and chased Ndzima. Terre'Blanche asked the state prosecution to explain why there was no blood on his overall after the alleged assault. He claimed that a bogus case had been built against him in order to "bury the conservative element of Afrikaner-nationalism in the shallow grave of injustice". The court rejected his claims, concluding that Terre'Blanche had assaulted Ndzime as retribution for testifying against whites. Terre'Blanche later pointed out that his defence attorney suddenly resigned as a member of the ultra-conservative white Conservative Party's Volksraad and joined the ANC shortly after the conclusion of the court case.
Attempted murder of Motshabi:
Security Guard Paul Motshabi was permanently disabled when he was beaten up in 1996. He was crippled and intellectually impaired by brain damage sustained in the attack, and his wife left him. He was one of 16 victims of violence in the South Africa's North West who received new houses as part of the national government's campaign to mark sixteen days of activism against violence against women and children.
Terre'Blanche also maintained his innocence in the Motshabi case, stating that he had discovered Motshabi already beaten in a park while patrolling Ventersdorp, after which he took him to the hospital. Although he was not present when the alleged attack happened, Gabriel Kgosimang, an ex-employee of Terre'Blanche, testified that his former employer had repeatedly beaten Motshabi over the head, upper body, neck and shoulders after he crashed into him with his vehicle. The official medical report only cites a single hit to the head.
Terre'Blanche was released on 11 June 2004. The AWB website continued to claim that these accusations, along with other scandals involving him, were fabricated by the "Black Government and the left wing media". Terre'Blanche subsequently stated that a policemen had identified the real attackers of Motshabi. The names were supposedly contained in a sealed envelope and kept in safekeeping with instructions given that this information would be released in case something "unnatural" should happen to him. These names have not yet been released, despite the murder of Terre'Blanche.
Prior to the 1994 multi-racial elections, Terre'Blanche's Afrikaans-language works were on the state syllabus of Natal schools. Upon his release from jail, he quoted Wordsworth's poem I Wandered Lonely As a Cloud. He had previously released a CD of his poetry collection and most recently a DVD. The DVD was named "Inktrane", which is directly translated to English as "ink tears". This DVD was released through 11.3% Motion Pictures (Pty) Ltd.
Terre'Blanche, who had lived in relative obscurity since the collapse of his organisation, was murdered on his farm Villana, just outside Ventersdorp, on 3 April 2010. He was beaten to death with pipes and pangas (machetes), while napping. His body was found on the bed with facial and head injuries.
South African President Jacob Zuma, who followed up an overnight statement with a televised address called for calm and for "responsible leadership" following the murder, describing it as a "terrible deed;" and described the murderer as "cowardly." Zuma's words were echoed by the AWB and organisations including AfriForum and Solidarity. Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa Commissioner of police, Bheki Cele and other high ranking police officials, and politicians visited Terre'Blanche's family in Ventersdorp the morning after the murder to express sympathy with the family.
Two black males, Chris Mahlangu, aged 28, Patrick Ndlovu, aged 15, were arrested. Both were workers on Terre'Blanche's farm. They were both charged with murder, and one was released on bail. Terre'Blanche's daughter Bea told the media that the two workers had not been paid for March because her father could not get his banking in order before the Easter weekend, and that an arrangement had been made to pay them after the weekend. She stated that he had enjoyed a good relationship with his employees, which had been strengthened by their work with animals on the farm. Speculation that Terre'Blanche had sexually assaulted one or both of the accused was raised in some publications.
Chris Mahlangu's announcement to other farm workers that he was "now their boss" fuelled suspicions that the murder was politically motivated. The murder took place amid a racial controversy in South Africa involving the singing of a song by African National Congress Youth League leader Julius Malema, which includes the lyrics "Shoot the Boer" ("Dubul' ibhunu"). The ANC, which had previously defended its right to sing the song, announced that it would consider a moratorium on the singing of the song, following the murder, in the interests of national cohesion.Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said that the murder would "inflame tensions" in South Africa. Malema denied the song had anything to do with the murder, and defended his singing of it, saying he was "ready to die," and that he was not scared of Boers, in reference to threats, later retracted, that Terre'Blanche would be avenged. ANC leaders later announced a temporary ban on the singing of the song.
Thousands attended Terre'Blanche's funeral, held at noon on 9 April 2010 at Ventersdorp's Protestant Church. Later the same day, he was buried on his farm.
Terre'Blanche's murder has been linked by the British media to attacks on farmers in South Africa.
The two suspects appeared in court in Ventersdorp on 6 April 2010 amid racially charged scenes, and were charged with murder, robbery and crimen injuria, for injuring the dignity of Terre'Blanche by leaving his pants pulled down after killing him. The AWB retracted earlier calls to avenge the murder as Zuma appealed for peace. Nevertheless, members of the ANC supported the accused by turning up at the court in huge numbers, and singing revolutionary songs. Terre'Blanche's supporters also turned up at the court, singing the former South African national anthem, "Die Stem van Suid Afrika."
On 22 May 2012, 29-year-old Chris Mahlangu was found guilty of the murder. 18-year-old Patrick Ndlovu, the other man accused in the case, was acquitted of murder due to a lack of forensic evidence, though he was found guilty of breaking-in. They had both pleaded not guilty, but declined to testify. Protesters from both sides were gathered outside the courthouse when the verdict was read. Judge John Horn ruled that there was no evidence that Mahlangu had been acting in self-defence, and that the murder had been committed for financial reasons. Although Mahlangu claimed that he had been raped, Horn declared that if that was the case he should have raised it immediately, which he failed to do. He also claimed that he had been acting in retaliation because he had been living in an "appalling condition... not fit for human habitation," as well as having experienced child exploitation on the farm.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license