In Tshing, a decaying township outside Ventersdorp, a Soweto football derby encounter generates more excitement than the news of Eugene Terre’Blanche’s demise.
On the morning of Easter Monday, Thobile’s Tavern was abuzz with drunken patrons seated on beer crates and a group of raggedy youths huddled outside at a small window, vying for a better view of the TV.
“If Pirates lose today, I bet Terre’Blanche will rise from the dead,” said a patron, to a burst of mocking but uneasy laughter. While some residents fear racial attacks following Terre’Blanche’s death, the dominant sentiment is that “the chickens have finally come home to roost”.
“Ventersdorp will be a different place without him, but that does not mean that the boers are going to change. In fact, things could get even worse,” said community leader Mbulelo Maneli, as a black bakkie sped past Van Tonder Avenue with vierkleure flapping from the windows.
Terre’Blanche’s influence on the Afrikaner community was powerful, Maneli said. Many Afrikaners in the area believed in the “stupid ideology” of the establishment of a boer republic — so it is “a good thing he died”.
Members of the AWB — young and old, clad in khaki and camouflage regalia — sped into Ventersdorp at the weekend for a moment of prayer outside the Schoonspruit Estate hall, proudly waving vierkleure and “oranje, blanje, blous” (the old South African flag).
Maneli said: “The thing is that most of us feel nothing for Terre’Blanche and the farming community around here. These people are brutes and, given half a chance, they will skop you to death, just as those boys did to Terre’Blanche.”
An ailing Maria Motshabi, sister of Paul Motshabi, whom Terre’Blanche paralysed when he assaulted him with an iron pipe in 1996, said: “Ek is bly die bliksem is dood [I am glad the bastard is dead].” Terre’Blanche served three years in prison for the crime.
She said she worked for the Terre’Blanches for 11 years as a kitchen maid and cannot recall one happy moment in their house.
“Let him feel how it is to carry the ground on your chest. This man has caused a lot of people pain. He was racist and proud of it. I wish I could go to his funeral to make sure that he is buried,” she said.