News / Africa

Racial Tensions High in South Africa Day After Terre’Blanche Murder Suspects Arraigned

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
Joe DeCapua

Racial tensions remain high in South Africa following the recent murder of white supremacist Eugene Terre’Blanche.

Wednesday, the ruling ANC party issued a statement urging restraint among its members.

Thousands of people showed up at the court house Tuesday when two blacks – a 15-year-old boy and a man in his late 20s – were arraigned in the bludgeoning death.  Both had worked for Terre’Blanche.  

“Tensions are quite high in certain sections of the population at the moment,” says VOA reporter Delia Robertson in Johannesburg.

Color divide

“On the right, of course, there’s a lot of anger at Mr. Terre’Blanche’s murder.  And the AWB, or the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging, which is the organization he founded, is once again today threatening to avenge his death,” she says.

Eugene Terreblanche at start of his 2001 assault trial. He was convicted and served 3 years of a 6 year sentence for assaulting a black security guard
Eugene Terreblanche at start of his 2001 assault trial. He was convicted and served 3 years of a 6 year sentence for assaulting a black security guard

There’s also a lot of anger in many black communities, including many young South Africans.

“They feel that he was a divisive figure and had treated blacks poorly, particularly his employees,” she says.  “And…many of the people that I have spoken to have said one of the biggest issues being discussed in those communities is concern about retaliation.”

Robertson says despite the perception of a unified country following the end of apartheid and the 1994 democratic elections, many social problems have been simmering.

“And it’s particularly caused by failure by some people to recognize that things need to change.  In youthful communities, certainly, it’s been caused by them leaving school and being unable to access jobs and living in poverty and looking a bleak future in the face,” she says.

She says Terre’Blanche’s murder has “exacerbated it.”

Motive?

Police investigators allege the April 3rd killing stemmed from an argument over wages.  The mother of the younger suspect has said they had not been paid, despite repeated requests for the money.

“I think that we need to wait until the trial to determine whether in fact that was the cause, or whether anything else entered into it.  We don’t know,” Robertson says, “whether they had access to newspapers or radios where they might have heard the singing of the song Kill the Boer by ANC Youth League president Julius Malema.  We just don’t know what their state of mind was at the time, accepting that they seem to have been extremely angry given the type of assault that occurred.”

The courts have ordered Malema to refrain from singing the song out of concern that it could incite violence.

AWB

While Terre’Blanche was widely heard from during the apartheid years, he had not been in the media nearly as much since 1994.  But that may have been about to change.

“Just a few months ago,” Robertson says, “he announced that he was going to revive the AWB and that they would be holding meetings to do that.  And that they were going to launch a program working toward an independent country for Afrikaners.  But it’s unclear how far that had progressed.”

She adds, “The AWB movement had essentially sort of disintegrated.  Now people are coalescing a bit.  But once again it remains to be seen by just how much they will regroup.”  

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid