Will racial tensions undermine South Africa’s hard won democracy?
Posted by AT on May 1, 2010
Broadcasting date: 27 april 2010
1- Gugulethu Mseleku, Managing Director, SAFISO
2- Thandi Makiwane, Community Activist
3- Phone guest from Johannesburg
William Gumede, Wits University Management School
South Africa’s High Court banned ANC’s youth leader Mr Malema from singing the racially charged apartheid-era song with the words “kill the Boer”. It ruled the song was hate speech, although the ANC is appealing. Now some are blaming his actions motivated the killing of white supremacist Eugene Terreblanche.
A call for calm by President Jacob Zuma went unheeded yesterday as supporters of white supremacy figurehead Eugene Terreblanche described his murder as a “declaration of war” by black South Africans on whites.
Terreblanche, the 69-year-old leader of the tiny Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB), was battered and hacked to death as he took a nap at his farm at Ventersdorp, 100km from Pretoria, on Saturday afternoon.
Two farm workers, aged 21 and 15, were arrested almost immediately. Police said they had been upset about unpaid wages and yesterday officers were deployed to protect the farm. AWB secretary-general Andre Visagie told reporters gathered outside the farm: “The death of Mr Terreblanche is a declaration of war by the black community of South Africa to the white community that has been killed for 10 years on end.”
There are fears of a looming racial conflict between White and black South Africans in the wake of the killing of Eugene Terreblanche. Some members of his group, the Afrikaner Resistance Movement (AWB) say the killing was racially motivated and partly blame the leader of the ANC’s Youth league, Julius Malema for singing an apartheid song that stirred up racial hatred.
SOUNDBITE: Andries Visagie, AWB General Secretary:
“For us it is just a continuation of the murder of white people by black people in SouthAfrica.”
SOUNDBITE: Julius Malema, president of the ANC Youth League
“Majority of our songs, we can give you ten songs, they sing about boers, and how boers have brutalized our people.”
Reports estimate that 3,000 white farmers have been murdered since the end of apartheid in 1994 compared to some 50 people, mostly black who are killed every day. With the country deeply divided over these controversies, Africa today examines the impact of recent events on South Africa’s race relations.
The South African Institute on Race Relations estimates that some 800,000 out of a total white population of 4 million have left South Africa since the end of apartheid. Moreover the remaining white farmers in the country have reduced to only about 40,000. A research from the Institute for Justice and reconciliation put new race figures as follows:
Source: Institute for Justice and Reconciliation
24% don’t speak to other races
46% “never socialise” with other races
39% find people of other races “untrustworthy”
59% “difficult to understand the customs and ways” of people of other races