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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

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Terre'Blanche, Eugene

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Eugene Ney Terre'Blanche was born in Ventersdorp on 31 January 1944. He matriculated from the Hoervolkskool in 1963.

He joined the police force, became a warrant officer, then left to begin farming. He became active in the Herstigte Nasionale Party and stood, unsuccessfully, in Heidelberg as a parliamentary and provincial candidate. Terre'Blanche decided that the Westminster political system had serious shortcomings and that a Blanke Volkstaat, based on the system that existed at the time of the Boer Republics, was the only salvation for whites in South Africa. In 1973 he launched the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (Afrikaner Resistance Movement - AWB), which aimed to achieve white security and reunification of the Afrikaner volk through a resistance and freedom movement and the creation of a partyless Volkstaat.

In December 1982 police uncovered arms caches in a swoop on AWB members. In July 1983, he and three associates were charged with terrorism. They were accused of possessing arms, ammunition and explosives. In October 1983, Terre'Blanche was found guilty and sentenced to two year's imprisonment, suspended for five years.

Terre'Blanche was a member of the Afrikaner Volkswag, a conservative Afrikaner cultural society established in 1984. Early in 1986 Terre'Blanche announced the establishment of Brandwag (Sentry), an armed commando-type organisation under the aegis of the AWB.

During the 1989 election campaign Terre'Blanche tried to unify the far-right, and urged the CP and the HNP to fight the election together. As part of this attempt he announced his candidature for the Rustenberg constituency, but when the CP refused to withdraw its candidate for the seat he backed down.

In November 1989 State President FW de Klerk agreed to a meeting with Terre'Blanche, and publicly rejected his Boerestaat concept after their discussions.

As a form of protest to the transitional processes underway at CODESA, Terre'Blanche and members of the AWB smashed through the glass doors of the venue of the CODESA settlement talks in mid-1993 in an attempt to disrupt negotiations there.

He did not accept the first democratic election in 1994 in South Africa and continued to claim rights for an Afrikaner state, in isolation from the rest of South Africa.

He drew media attention in 1996 by savagely beating a security guard, caught eating while on duty. The victim, Paul Motshabi, was left an invalid and disabled, unable to care for himself.

Terre'Blanche was given an effective five-year sentence and was released in June 2004.

Terre'Blanche has written drama and poetry and one of his dramas, Sybrand die Watermaker, was prescribed in Cape secondary schools during 1982 and 1983.

Source: Gastrow, S. 1995. Who's Who in South African Politics, Number 5. Ravan Press: Johannesburg.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.