Terre'Blanche under cover in English

A local publisher has removed the face of murdered Afrikaner leader Eugene Terre’Blanche from the cover of the English-language version of his biography to “accommodate more of our readers”.

The Afrikaans version of the biography, My Storie, was released shortly after Terre’Blanche was murdered at his farmhouse outside Ventersdorp in April last year. It features a close-up photograph of Terre’Blanche’s unsmiling face.

The English-language version, set for release this month under the subtly different title, My Side of the Story, has only black and white lettering on the cover.

The publisher, Griffel Media, explained that it had changed the cover to attract a wider readership.

“With the alleged murderers of Terre’Blanche on trial and the trial being in the news at the moment, we are experiencing a renewed interest in the title,” said Griffel’s promotional manager, Mendi Pantsi.

“Terre’Blanche is seen by a large section of our society as a white supremacist, a racist and a violent man with limited insight. So we decided to change the front cover of the English translation to accommodate more of our readers.”

Pantsi said that the original Afrikaans version, written by Amos van der Merwe, had been a “record-selling biography”.

She said that the book explored Terre’Blanche’s life in a critical way, did not apologise for his actions and left the reader to make up his or her own mind about him.

Among the questions the book set out to answer were whether Terre’Blanche’s goal was to divide South Africa along racial lines or to “protect the culture and heritage of the nations we find within our borders”; the extent of the National Party’s involvement in the development of the right wing; what influence the national intelligence community had on Terre’Blanche’s actions; and why he had such respect for Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

Pantsi said another important question was whether, in the end, he had “fallen foul of what he was warning about. It remains an open question whether his newfound moderate views in some way actually led to his violent death.”

She said the biography “puts into context the development of Terre’Blanche’s ideology and confirms his efforts to create respect and space for all people of different origins”.

“This, in itself, is a surprising characteristic of a man labelled a neo-Nazi. Did he deserve the tag? Was he a visionary or a fool? The book’s purpose is to encourage debate.”

For more on the life and times of the slain AWB leader, visit our special report.

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