White Supremacist's Murder Opens Old Wounds
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
And Charlayne, who was this man who was murdered?
CHARLAYNE HUNTER: And over the years, he's been a very violence-proned man. In 2001, he was sentenced to jail for attacking a gas station worker. He came out of prison saying he was a born-again Christian. And he's been relatively quiet.
INSKEEP: He was a - he's a farmer and was killed, allegedly, by some of his own farm workers. Is that correct?
HUNTER: But the two farm workers themselves called the police and waited at the farm until they came and arrested them. And they are saying that they actually killed Terre'Blanche in self-defense, because Terre'Blanche had threatened to kill them.
INSKEEP: Well, now, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, if this man said that he was a born-again Christian and that his white supremacist days were behind him, and if the authorities are indicating that this was a private dispute and not necessarily a - overtly a racial dispute, why has it caused such tension in South Africa?
HUNTER: The racial tensions are great. It has led to even the president of the country going on the air Saturday night after the murder, appealing for calm. So it's being treated very seriously, as the racial temperature rises because of it.
INSKEEP: I'm curious, Charlayne, when you're just talking to people, when you're out and about in South Africa, if this is the only thing people are talking about.
HUNTER: Pretty much because, you know, it's touched a chord in everybody. Everybody knows about the song "Kill the Boer." Some say, yes, it's a struggle song. We should be able to sing it. It's a part of our heritage. That's the position the president of the country and his party have taken. Others are saying it may be a part of the history, but it belongs in the archives. So you've got real divisions across racial and class lines.
INSKEEP: Charlayne, thanks very much.
HUNTER: Thank you, Steve.
INSKEEP: This is NPR News.
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