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Eugène Ney Terre'Blanche (31 January 1941 3 April 2010) was a former member of South Africa's Herstigte Nasionale Party who founded the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) 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. He was given several labels during his lifetime, including "white supremacist","nationalist, and "racist.
Terre'Blanche spent three years in prison for assaulting a black petrol station worker and 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 two labourers, 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
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.
The Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (English: Afrikaner Resistance Movement) (AWB) is a South African far right separatist political and former paramilitary organization, since its creation dedicated to secessionist Afrikaner nationalism and the creation of an independent Boer-Afrikaner republic or "Volkstaat/Boerestaat" in part of South Africa. In its heyday in the 1980s and '90s, the organisation received much publicity both in South Africa and internationally as a white supremacist and neo-fascist group.
It was formed in 1973 by Eugène Terre'Blanche, who remained the leader until he was murdered on his farm in 2010. The two accused is currently standing trial. Terre'Blanche was succeeded as leader by Steyn van Ronge.
The AWB was formed on 7 July 1973 in a garage in Heidelberg, Transvaal (now Gauteng), a town southeast of Johannesburg. Eugène Terre'Blanche, a former police officer, became disillusioned by then-Prime Minister B.J. Vorster's "liberal views," as well as what he viewed as communist influences in South African society. Terre'Blanche decided to form the AWB with six other like-minded persons, and was elected leader of the organisation, a position he held until his death in April 2010.
Their objective was to establish an independent Boerestaat ("Boer State") for Boer-Afrikaner people only, existing separately from South Africa, which was considered too left wing and liberal by Terre'blanche. The AWB was formed in an attempt to regain the ground lost after the Second Boer War: they intended to re-establish the independent Boer Republics of the past — the South African Republic (Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek) and the Republic of the Orange Free State (Oranje Vrystaat).
During the 1970s and 1980s, the AWB grew from the original seven to several thousand white South Africans. They opposed the reform of apartheid laws during the 1980s, harassing liberal politicians and holding large (and often quite rowdy) political rallies. Terre'Blanche used his flamboyant oratorial skills and forceful personality to win converts. He railed against the lifting of many so-called "petty apartheid" laws such as the law banning interracial sex and marriage (the race relations act), mixing of the races (group areas act) as well as the allowance of limited political rights to Indians and Coloureds (Mixed race individuals). During the State of Emergency (1984 to 1986) there were many reports of AWB violence and even murders against unarmed non-whites.
The AWB was especially in opposition to the then-banned African National Congress. The ruling National Party considered the AWB to be little more than a fringe group, so while not officially endorsed, they were able to operate relatively unhindered. However in 1986, white police officers took the unprecedented step of using tear gas against Terre'Blanche and the AWB when they disrupted a National Party rally. The organisation was estimated to have had support amongst 5 to 7 percent of the White South African population in 1988. In the Nick Broomfield film His Big White Self, he claims that the organisation reached a peak of half a million supporters in their heyday.
In the mid-1980s, the AWB instituted a Voedingskema (feeding program), later called the Volkshulpskema (people's help scheme), to help the very poorest Afrikaner families. The scheme delivered a meal every day to 14,000 poor Afrikaner children in Pretoria. Certain farmers also donated vegetables on an almost weekly basis, and in the final three months of 1986 alone 300 tons of food was donated. In the winter, bedding was donated as well. Sympathetic mine owners and farmers arranged jobs for unemployed Afrikaners on the farms and mines. Afrikaans singer Bles Bridges held a concert on 3 March 1987 in Pretoria and gave the 10,000 Rand raised to the project
During the negotiations that led to South Africa's first multiracial elections, the AWB threatened all-out war. During the Battle of Ventersdorp in August 1991, the AWB confronted police in front of the town hall where President F W de Klerk was speaking, and "a number of people were killed or injured" in the conflict.Later in the negotiations, the AWB stormed the Kempton Park World Trade Centre where the negotiations were taking place, breaking through the glass front of the building with an armoured car. The police guarding the centre failed to prevent the invasion. The invaders then took over the main conference hall, threatening delegates and painting slogans on the walls, but left again after a short period.
In 1988, the AWB was beset by scandal when claims that Terre'Blanche had had an affair with journalist Jani Allan surfaced. In July 1989, Cornelius Lottering, a member of a breakaway AWB group Orde van die Dood (Order of Death), attempted to assassinate Allan by placing a bomb outside her Sandton apartment. Nick Broomfield's 1991 documentary The Leader, His Driver and the Driver's Wife claimed that Terre'Blanche had sex with Allan, a claim she denied. 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 unconventional sexual positions appeared in the South African and British press.Terre'Blanche also submitted a sworn statement to the London court denying that he had had an affair with Allan. 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.
On 17 June 2001 Terre'Blanche was sentenced to six years in prison for assaulting a petrol station worker, John Ndzima, to such an extent as to cause permanent brain damage, and the attempted murder of a security guard and former employee, Paul Motshabi. Terre'Blanche was released in June 2004 after serving 3 years in Rooigrond Prison near Mafikeng.During his time in prison he became a born-again Christian and claimed he had moderated many of his more racist views and preached reconciliation as 'prescribed by God'.
In April 2007, AWB posters appeared at the 13th Klein Karoo National Arts Festival in Oudtshoorn. Several posters made reference to the Bok van Blerk song 'De la Rey', an Afrikaans hit record about the Boer General as well as to South Africa's former coat of arms. Organisers were quick to remove the posters.
In March 2008, the AWB announced it was re-activating for 'populist' reasons, citing the encouragement of the public. Reasons for the return include the electricity crisis, corruption across government departments and rampant crime. Plans include a demand for land that they claim is legally theirs in terms of the Sand River Convention of 1852 and other historical treaties, through the International Court of Justice in The Hague if necessary, and if that failed, taking up arms. In April 2008, Terre'Blanche was to be the speaker at several AWB rallies in Vryburg, Middelburg and Pretoria.Several areas in South Africa have been earmarked as part of a future Volkstaat according to three critical title deeds. The areas include; Vryheid in KwaZulu-Natal, the old republics of Stellaland and Goosen in the far North-West and sections of the Free State.
Amidst a Facebook race row concerning North West University students, the South African press revealed that the AWB have been using the social networking site to recruit members. The Mail and Guardian newspaper revealed that the AWB group has over 5000 members, and appeals to 18- to 35-year-olds to join the organization's youth wing.Steyn van Ronge was recently announced as the permanent leader of the organisation.
The AWB flag is composed of three black sevens (forming a triskelion) in a white circle upon a red background. According to AWB, the sevens, 'the number of JAHWEH', 'stand to oppose the number 666, the number of the anti-Christ'. Red is considered to represent Jesus' blood, while black stands for bravery and courage. The inner white circle symbolizes the "eternal struggle", or according to other sources "eternal life".The flag bears a resemblance to the Swastika flag used by the Nazi Party and Nazi Germany.