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Obituary: Eugene Terre'Blanche

2010-04-05 12:30
When PW Botha began dismantling petty apartheid, Terre'Blanche was there, literally frothing at the mouth as he painted the Groot Krokkedil a communist and a traitor, as if the Immorality Act was the only thing preventing ordinary, decent Afrikaans men from jumping their maids.

Being a communist and a nerd myself, I probably know more Klingon than Afrikaans, so I could never really work out what the man was saying. But his oratory style was a hybridisation of Adolf Hitler and Charlton Heston's Moses – patriarchal and perennially pissed off. The national broadcaster fed us the illusion that the running joke that is the AWB was actually a formidable force, and we all bought into it. "Jesus, Mary and all the saints," I remember saying after too much Tassies. "Imagine what would happen if this maniac gets into power!" Everyone around the bar table nodded. They were just as nervous as I was.

With 20/20 hindsight, I now know that this was never going to happen. Terre'Blanche was always an impotent clown - the village idiot of South African politics.  We laughed cruelly when he fell off his horse, and still crack jokes about it. The nation revelled in schadenfreude when sordid stories of his baffling affair with the god-awful Jani Allen hit the media - those two pathetic creatures truly deserved each other.

And seriously, how dismal does a paramilitary organisation have to be to invade a non-country like Boputhatswana – with the support of its leader, no less - and still fail? The place was a fragmented dustbowl with more slot machines than people, most of who were yet to discover the secret of fire. But yet the AWB arrogantly marched in, perhaps thinking that the bullets would turn to water the moment it touched their lily-white skin – and promptly had their arses handed to them on a pottery platter. Wankers.

Now that the AWB leader is  safely dead and gone (or, if you're the religious type, getting raped in the face for all eternity by Satan's Hellish minions) I can't help but feel a little disappointed at Terre'Blanche's ending. After all the unintentional entertainment he's provided over the years, I think he at least deserved a meaningful, politically motivated murder, preferably by some crazed anti-Afrikaner with a grudge and a gun. I'm sure he would have even been happy to rather be assassinated by a fellow fascist, perhaps in some internal power struggle or something.

But no, this was not to be. There's no such thing as a dignified death, but Terre'Blanche's was about as undignified as it gets. Hacked beyond recognition over something as banal as a wage dispute – who saw that one coming? Not Terre'Blanche, obviously.

On a more positive note, his death takes the top spot as the most high-profile farm murder since the term was coined, and will hopefully shed new light on this South African phenomenon. Many believe that farm murders are racially motivated, despite the fact that only half the victims are white. Given the distribution of wealth and the fact that many these crimes are may be motivated by little more than money, it would appear that white farmers are actually getting off lightly.

And as we can see from Terre'Blanche's case, his death was disappointingly devoid of racism and politics. He may have been regarded by some as a highly influential leader, but to his murderers, he was just another asshole boer who treated his workers like crap. I don't condone his murder, but I do understand it – I want to kill my boss all the time.

Now I don't have a positive note to end this on, so as Woody Allen would say, here are two negative ones. Firstly, I'm glad he's dead. Although powerless, he was an embarrassment to white South Africans, especially Afrikaners. Every time he opened his fat mouth he made us all look stupid.
And secondly, we don't need him anymore. Julius Malema is our new class clown, providing us with more than enough hilarious entertainment. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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