International

South Africa's Racial Tensions Boil After Right Winger's Murder

The killing of South Africa's best-known white supremacist Eugene Terre'Blanche has caused racial te i i

A follower of slain white supremacist leader Eugene Terreblanche, right, talks with a black resident as they gather outside the courthouse in Ventersdrop, west of Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday April 6, 2010. Jerome Delay/AP Photo hide caption

itoggle caption Jerome Delay/AP Photo
The killing of South Africa's best-known white supremacist Eugene Terre'Blanche has caused racial te

A follower of slain white supremacist leader Eugene Terreblanche, right, talks with a black resident as they gather outside the courthouse in Ventersdrop, west of Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday April 6, 2010.

Jerome Delay/AP Photo

With two months to go before it hosts the World Cup, South Africa is experiencing exactly the sort of racial tensions it had hoped to keep under wraps in order to showcase the New South Africa on an international stage.

The killing of South Africa's best known white supremacist right-winger, Eugene Terre'Blanche, by two black farm workers in what was reportedly a farm dispute, has caused simmering hostilities to bubble more vigorously in recent days.

Terre'Blanche's supporters, according to news reports out of South Africa, are considering how to retaliate for his death.

Meanwhile, South African President Jacob Zuma is calling for cooler heads to prevail which is ironic since it was Zuma who famously and repeatedly sang an old favorite of African National Congress freedom fighters "Bring Me My Machine Gun" during his 2008 campaign.

Speaking of songs, some are accusing an ANC official, Julius Malema, of the ANC Youth League, of perhaps inciting Terre'Blanche's killing by singing another anti-apartheid song whose lyrics include the lines: "kill the Boer, kill the farmer." Boers were the descendants of Dutch settlers. They eventually defeated the British and black Africans to rule South Africa for much of the 20th Century.

On Tuesday, Terre'Blanche's two accused killers, a 15 year old and a 28 year old, were formally charged.

NPR's Charlayne Hunter Gault reported for the network's newscast on the scene outside the courthouse:

Police put up barbed wire to separate blacks and whites outside the court where the men accused of murdering right winger Eugene Terre'Blanche were being charged.

The confrontation started when white supporters began singing Die Stem, South Africa's apartheid anthem and blacks in turn sang an old version of the black anthem Nkosi Sikele iAfrika, which didn't include parts of Die Stem, as it does now.

Another song (with the lyrics) — kill the Boer — most recently sung publicly by the ruling party's youth league president has added to racial tensions . Terre'Blanche supporters linked the song to his murder. South Africa's president, among others, deny the link and insist the song is part of the blacks' heritage of struggle. It was banned last week by two separate courts. Monday, whites outside the court sang an offensive song — The Baboon Climbs the Mountain."

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