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Reactions to death of ET

6 April 2010

I’ve been receiving a daily crime report from our neighbourhood, and on Good Friday things were very quiet:


No reports received.

No reports received

No reports received

BURGLARY  OTHER (unarmed no violence)
No reports received

No reports received

ROBBERY: (Armed including assault)
No reports received

HOUSE ROBBERY (Armed including Assault)
No reports received

No reports received

No reports received

No reports received

No reports received

No reports received

No reports received

Perhaps the criminals were observing the holiday.

But at the agape meal after the Easter vigil at church, people were talking about the murder of Eugene Terre’blanche, the white supremacist AWB leader, and there has been quite a bit of discussion about it on the blogosphere, and it seems to have caused quite a stir  around the world. A fellow-blogger from Korea came to the piece I wrote on my other blog to get a local perspective Notes from underground: The death of ET and immaturity of our democracy.

Professor Tinyiko Maluleke of Unisa

One of the best local blog comments is that of missiologist Tinyiko Maluleke Tinyiko Sam Maluleke’s Blog: No Excuse for the Murder of Eugene Terre’Blanche:

Eugene Terre‘Blanche did not deserve to be murdered. He did not deserve to die the way he did. No one deserves to die like that. There can be no justification and no rationalization for this murder any more than there can be for hundreds others that take place in this country. Like many in this country – black and white – I was appalled by and opposed to the political ideals for which Eugene Terre’Blanche stood. But there is no reason under the sun, for a man to be attacked and killed in his own home. Not for who he is. Not for his views. Not for his possessions. Not for his deeds. Not even for his debts. There is no excuse for murder.

Unfortunately, as Professor Maluleke points out in his post, too many people are killed in their own homes. Our neighbourhood crime report may have had nothing to report on Good Friday, but hardly a week goes by without a report of armed robbery, and occasionally the report notes that someone has been killed. Unlike Eugene Terre’blanche, the victim is not named, but, as Tinyiko Maluleke points out, “At this time it is important that we see Terre’Blanche as a fellow human being, as a father, brother, uncle and grandfather. Though tempting, we should all seek to avoid extracting political mileage out of this death – whether in glee or in anger.”

Cobus van Wyngaard

Another good blog comment is from Cobus van Wyngaard let the moderate voices be heard: my contemplations:

On Saturday morning Eugene Terre’Blanche was part of South Africa’s history, a reminder of a time when far-right opinions still had power, a time gone by. Today some are portraying him as a martyr, and his death as the cry for a call to arms. Saturday he was the leader for a small, an extremely small, minority, yes a minority who were allowed an opinion, but nonetheless not seriously considered to have a major impact on the future of South African politics. Today some consider him to be a symbol of a South Africa that are still ruled by racial hatred.

According to news reports the motive for the murder was a pay dispute, though we will have to see what comes out in court to be certain of that. News – South Africa: [PICS] ‘My son killed Terre’Blanche’:

The mother of a 15-year-old murder suspect says her son told her that he struck slain white supremacist leader with an iron rod after the farmer refused to pay him.

She told Associated Press Television News on Monday that her son admitted he and an older farm worker killed Eugene Terre’Blanche on his ranch in northwest South Africa at the weekend.

She says her son had not been paid since December.

I used to have a small prayer book in Russian and in English (it was stolen a few years ago), and it had a guide to preparing for confession. It listed four “sins that cry out to heaven”. One of them was “wilful murder”, and another was withholding a worker’s wages.

There have been some other reactions too. As one news commentator said: “Eugene Terre Blanche’s death leaves me cold, to paraphrase some racist apartheid relic who reacted thus on Steve Biko’s death.”

In the case of Steve Biko, however, the commentator was James Thomas (Jimmy) Kruger, who was Minister of Police at the time, and thus directly responsible for the behaviour of those who killed Steve Biko, who were the official representatives of the State.

It does not appear that those suspected of murdering Eugene Terre’blanche represented the State in any way, though some would say that the public utterances and songs of Julius Malema, the leader of the ANC Youth League, constituted indirect incitement to the murder.

The best response I have seen to that comes from Peter Matthaei, who commented on the post on my other blog

Very eloquently stated. I just hope that ET isn’t made a martyr due to the unfortunate coincidence in timing of Malema’s strange crusade and ET’s (almost certainly unrelated) murder. Under almost any other circumstances, most whites would have his murder down to “you reap what you sow”. Now Malema has earned the ANC a completely counter-productive … See morebacklash from many Afrikaners who would otherwise be quite moderate. Malema should be silenced by his party because the ANC *is* better and more mature than that. The ANC stands to lose its identity if it insists on refusing to clamp down on elements inside itself that run contrary to their values. When you rule, you cannot pander to everybody’s taste. The New Struggle is against the disillusionment from the realisation that freedom for all does not necessarily equal a better life for all.

And, for anyone who doesn’t know who ET was: Eugene Terre’Blanche obituary | The Guardian:

Notorious white supremacist leader, he founded the AWB, the Afrikaner resistance movement

One Comment leave one →
  1. Adam permalink
    6 April 2010 6:32 am

    There is no turning back from Murder. Once people who may have been divided, worked hard on living together and learning to respect each other are confronted with murder in their midst; horrible things ensue. There are far more factors driving the current of this issue than many understand here. Taxation, residual racial issues from years past, farm killings, and economic state of the nation in general. Many media outlets do not do the research to talk about all sides of this issue, in particular, in America. To be fair, I liked how you presented all this information.

    What I do hope for is true freedom for every South African (black and white). I also hope that someone can put out this fire very fast. God help everyone there because if nothing is done, this can and will degenerate into a huge crisis. When someone commits murder, that’s the ultimate act of disrespect and this plants the seeds of deeper hatred and contempt among people. Only innocents die.

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