April 3, 2010

On the murder of Eugene Terre’Blanche – Saturday, April 3rd 2010

By Vittorio Leonardi

Good morning.

At 00:32 on Sunday morning I received a sms from a friend informing me that Eugene Terre’Blanche – leader of the AWB – had been found murdered on his farm Villanna in Ventersdorp at 6pm that same evening.

The first thing I thought was, “Well, here it comes. They finally have what they need. A martyr.”

As I write this, Afriforum and Solidarity are calling for all South Africans to remain calm. I don’t think the message can be spoken loudly enough. It should be shouted from the rooftops. Ski-written if necessary.


The old saying is that the die has been cast. Never before has that statement been more true than right here.

So far, Afrikaner people have had several things to contend with.

First, there was the perceived attack on their language. They united. And now Afrikaans artists pretty much outsell all others in the charts, the most famous instance of which when Steve Hofmeyer won Album of The Year at the SAMAs.

Then there were and still are the name changes. Court action is still deciding whether or not Tshwane will be Pretoria’s new name. I know some comics that have nearly gotten into fist fights with people that take the subject that seriously.

And then there was that song. “Kill the Boer.” After interdicts and court actions, Julius Malema and several other “liberation”groups continue to sing the song with any real regard for a backlash that by their actions, they seem to welcome.

Well now, it’s happened. A boer is dead. THE boer is dead.

They sent him to jail and I wondered then, “This won’t end well for Eugene. No way.”

Not a hand was laid on him. After some thought I later realised that one reason may have been that because deep down, the powers that be knew that if he died, a martyr would be born. A tide of violence would have been released. They knew that above all else, Eugene Terre’Blanche HAD to serve out his sentence. And he HAD to die in his sleep. An old man. Quietly, silently, without incident.

That’s all over now.

Already, AWB members are saying that for now, their focus will be on burying their leader. Soon though, talk of vengeance will surface. Who am i kidding? Chances are it already has. Afriforum is stuck trying to marshal a people that are emotionally charged and angry. If there was ever a straw that would break the proverbial camel’s back, it would be this one.

And what of the suspects?

Two men – aged 16 and 21 – were arrested on the farm. The story is that they got into a fight with Terre’Blanche after he failed to pay them for work done. Reports say that they were goaded into doing this by a larger crowd. And now they are forever tied to this murder.

They will, I’m rather certain, be hailed as heroes by the less savvy of the political spectrum, the ones that always seem to be spoiling for a fight. From this day forward they will be marked men. Till this is resolved, they will be in danger. It may be that jail will be the safest place for them. Once again, I’ll wait and see.

And what about us?

I don’t know.

I’m sure that President Zuma will say and do the right thing. Already, his spokesperson has said that our president was filled with shock and horror at the killing. I’d like to hope that it’s because he feels what we are all feeling. An over-whelming sense of “Oh s***! What now?”

And then there’s Julius malema? I’m wondering what he’ll say when he finds out. I’m hoping that he’ll have the sense to stay away, tour like he said he would and just stay out of it. In an ideal world, it would be possible. As for The PAC… I’ll be surprised if they aren’t dancing in the streets. From what we’ve all seen, at the moment, their version of quiet diplomacy can be likened to a freight train derailing and smashing through a crèche at naptime.

So what can WE do?

I think it would be a refreshing change if WE did exactly what THEY weren’t expecting.

We enjoy what’s left of Easter and the long weekend. We spend time with whomever we can: loved ones, friends, family, whoever. And when Tuesday begrudgingly comes, we go back to work, we do what we need to do and we just keep moving.

Essentially, we keep our eyes and thoughts on what’s important.

We act like human beings.

Above all, we don’t mouth off and we don’t allow ourselves to get goaded into fighting some else’s revolution. I for one am tired of watching ordinary people die for a Gucci-clad, stuffed-shirt’s agenda.

So for now, let’s see what happens.

Have breakfast/lunch, hold your partners hand, and give someone a hug.

Some of you reading this may think this sounds alarmist. I know I sound like it’s the end of the world.

Regardless of what you may think, hold someone you love anyway. It’s good for you.

I hope that this passes. I know it will. But I’d like it to with as little to no insanity as possible. Maybe I’m aiming high, but I can hope.

As the great Andy Dufresne once said, “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

Peace and love y’all.

Happy Easter and a blessed Passover to you all.