The murder of  South African white supremacist leader, Eugene Terreblanche, over the weekend, will surely be exploited in the next few days. (Terreblanche was beaten and hacked to death by workers on his farm on Saturday who, according to reports, had “argued with him over unpaid wages.” Terreblanche had a violent history himself, including spending time in prison for beating one of his workers, a black man, nearly to death in 1997).   Though the incident is symptomatic of criminal violence in South Africa, and we don’t know much about the killers’ motives and most victims of crime are black, already all kinds of people will be trying to score political points and make claims about a race war against whites.

Watch how this crime (with its own context) will become part of a larger discourse among whites–and on Afrikaans media websites–about a supposed “genocide” or “volksmoord” (volks murder) against Afrikaners.

As The Economist, not known for its anti-white views, reported last week: “… According to the South African Institute of Race Relations, a think-tank, research suggests that at least 90% of the attacks on white farmers [since 1994] were “purely criminal”. Labour disputes accounted for others. Only 2% were said to be motivated by “racial animosity.

The claims of a race war is of course part of a larger discourse that white are being marginalized from public life and the professions, despite evidence to the contrary.

Already, the leaders of the opposition Democratic Alliance–who never miss an opportunity to score political points–was quick to imply that the murder had something to do with “racial tensions” and specifically with an old struggle song with lyrics that include “Kill the Boer” favored by the odious ANC Youth League leader, Julius Malema.  There is little evidence that ordinary black people share Malema’s fascist views or that he is linked to the crime.

That he exploits genuine grievances among poor black South Africans with the new South Africa is a more important story.  Or that the workers are now singing songs against Malema and the ANC for its failure to do much about their plight in the last 15 years. So also is the silence about the humiliation, exploitation of and violence against black farmworkers in South Africa’s countryside.

But that does not stop the DA from scoring political points.

Similarly, I scanned sites like Afriforum (a white farmers’ union) and Solidariteit (a white pressure group passing as a trade union and obsessed with affirmative action) where writers, bloggers or commentors could not keep themselves from recycling these claims. (Of course, some of them state their discomfort with Terreblanche in the same breath. )

But it all fits in well with the new victim discourse among white South Africans. (Media outlets are partly to blame.  In some instances–as in this Reuters photo story–white poverty is exaggerated and treated as unnatural.  The media and Afrikaner “civil rights” groups, of course, say little about black poverty or crimes against black people.

On a side note: Earlier today I read on Afrikaans newspaper, Rapport, that Terreblance opposed the 1970s “liberal” regime of John Vorster.   Vorster was “liberal”?

Further Reading

A city divided

Ethnic enclaves are not unusual in many cities and towns across Sudan, but in Port Sudan, this polarized structure instigated and facilitated communal violence.

The imperial forest

Gregg Mitman’s ‘Empire of Rubber’ is less a historical reading of Liberia than a history of America and racial capitalism through the lens of a US corporate giant.

Africa’s next great war

The international community’s limited attention span is laser-focused on jihadism in the Sahel and the imploding Horn of Africa. But interstate war is potentially brewing in the eastern DRC.

The Cape Colony

The campaign to separate South Africa’s Western Cape from the rest of the country is not only a symptom of white privilege, but also of the myth that the province is better run.

Between East Africa and the Gulf

Political encounters between the Arab Gulf and Africa span centuries. Mahmud Traouri’s novel ‘Maymuna’ demonstrates the significant role of a woman’s journey from East Africa to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


It’s not common knowledge that there is Iran in Africa and there is Africa in Iran. But there are commonplace signs of this connection.

It could happen to us

Climate negotiations have repeatedly floundered on the unwillingness of rich countries, but let’s hope their own increasing vulnerability instills greater solidarity.