White supremacist killed in South Africa

AFP

Tuesday, April 06, 2010    

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AFP) -- South Africa's notorious far-right leader Eugene Terre'Blanche, butchered to death by his farm workers at the weekend, devoted his often violent life in vain to defending white supremacy.

The Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB) leader was killed Saturday at the age of 69 while in bed on his north-west farm in an attack that has inflamed race tensions after years of far-right obscurity.

Known for his paramilitary-style horseback parades and commandos of khaki-clad followers, Terre'Blanche gained notoriety in apartheid's final years and the tense run-up to the country's first democratic polls in 1994.

His extremist AWB, with its swastika-like logo, violently opposed the end of white minority rule with a series of deadly bomb attacks that killed 21 and promises of civil war if black rule under Nelson Mandela materialised.

"Tell Mandela we'll meet him. If he wants to take our country by force, we will meet him with force and we will level him with the gravel," he was quoted as saying in 1991.

The one-time police officer, born in Ventersdorp on January 31, 1941, set up the AWB with six others in a garage near Johannesburg in 1973 in disgust at what he perceived as liberal moves by the conservative apartheid state.

The aim was a self-governing "volkstaat" for boers, Afrikaans for white farmers, who descended from European settlers and spoke the Dutch derivative.

A fiery resonant-voiced orator, with a piercing blue stare and a trademark grey beard, Terre'Blanche's AWB claimed as many as 70,000 members and brushes with the law that pre-dated democracy.

After Mandela's 1990 release after 27 years in apartheid jail and the unbanning of the leftist majority parties that Terre'Blanche's supporters attempted some of their most grandiose attempts at anarchy.

In 1991 apartheid's last leader Frederick de Klerk, who announced Mandela's release, visited his stronghold town of Ventersdorp sparking clashes that killed four people.

The following year his penchance for riding a horse in public led to humiliation when he fell off his steed during a right-wing parade.

In 1993 Terre'Blanche's followers stormed the venue of multi-party talks to end apartheid with an armoured vehicle, crashing through the front of the building.

A year later he attempted to invade a homeland for blacks set up by the apartheid state.

Three of his members were shot dead in the foiled coup and images of their execution beamed around the world in what many saw as a damning reality-check of the AWB's reach in South Africa's unstoppable march to democracy.

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