Eugene Terre’Blanche is killed

Eugene Terre’Blanche, the Boer-Afrikaner and founder of the white supremacist Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) has been killed over a pay dispute.

His body was found in his bed where according to Police spokeswoman Adele Myburgh a machete was found on his body and a knobkerry club was lying next to the bed.

A 21-year-old man and a 15-year-old boy, employers of Terre’Blanche, have been arrested for the murder and say that their motivation was not being paid for the work they had done on his farm.

News of his death has said to have worried many that racial polarisation is returning to South Africa.

Pete Brook, who blogs against prisons at Prison Photography, had this to say about the far right leader:

Terre’Blanche instigated many acts of heinous violence and murder. Terre’Blanche was also a terrorist. In 1998, Terre’Blanche accepted “political and moral responsibility” before South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission for a bombing campaign to disrupt the 1994 elections in which 21 people were killed and hundreds injured.

In 2001 Terre’Blanche was convicted to 6 years in prison for attacking a petrol station worker and the attempted murder of a security guard which had taken place in 1996. After this spell he was said to have moderated some of his racist views. But this was to be untrue, not least because in 2008 the AWB had been re-formed, with Terre’Blanche being the founding member of the youth wing, fighting for “his people”.

He was on the fringes of politics but his presence was well known of, being seen more as a joke than a political activist to fear, though he was said to have had very close contacts with the architects of the Apartheid, enforced between 1948 and 1994.

His death comes at a time when attitudes of race, and racial tensions are appearing again. The chant “Kill the Boer, Kill the Farmer” by Julius Malema, President of the African National Congress Youth League, is a song that is used to flair tensions, particularly aimed at white farmers. It has been sung at the funeral of an ANC member, and in front of 2000 Zanu-PF Youth members in Zimbabwe. He has also said this about white farmers at the Zimbabwean rally:

“We want the mines. They have been exploiting our minerals for a long time. Now it’s our turn to also enjoy from these minerals. They are so bright, they are colourful, we refer to them as white people, maybe their colour came as a result of exploiting our minerals and perhaps if some of us can get opportunities in these minerals we can develop some nice colour like them.”

The High Court has put a ban on the song, but the ANC challenged the vow saying that the court had forgotten the “historical context” of the song (which was sang durng Apartheid era) though civil rights groups like AfriForum have said that the song is deliberately inflammatory and support the hearing.

It has been said that between the years 1997 and 2002 white unemployment has risen by 106%. Researchers, quoted by Reuters, now estimate “some 450,000 whites, of a total white population of 4.5 million, live below the poverty line and 100,000 are struggling just to survive” in places like caravan camps and other squats.

With figures like these, and unhelpful chants by racist politicians, tensions might see a rise, causing South African President Jacob Zuma to call for calm. Though should this be challenged by efforts from groups like Afriforum to call for real equality, its effects certainly do not need to be anywhere near as harsh (an understatement) as they were only a few years ago.

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