So Long Eugeneby Brandon Edmonds, image by Conrad Botes / 17.11.2009
Rewind. Bophutatswana is thankfully a memory now but for a moment in 1994 it was the setting for the inversion of Blood River – a place where the White Right got its ass kicked and ceased to be a credible factor in civil society. Apartheid lackey Mangope refused to re-incorporate his fiefdom back into an emerging democratic South Africa. The archetypal tin-pot dictator inevitably shut down the media, had his Defence force fire on strikers and basically zipped up his windbreaker against the winds of change. The Horsemen of the Apocalypse appeared in the unlikely guise of white supremacist poster boys, the AWB, seeking to ‘restore the apartheid status quo’. Armed and dangerous, an AWB convoy of bakkies, like something out of a Leon Schuster cornball farce, expected to quell the Bop populace and its long-simmering urge to escape puppet status, by force. But nobody, not even Mangope, wanted them there. While withdrawing, the convoy, itching for action, fired on people randomly in the street, murdering civilians.
The Right Wing then had its ‘Black September’/Daniel Pearl moment when 3 AWB members – lagging behind – were stopped and executed on camera by a Bop soldier – since granted amnesty by the TRC. The summary execution meant that the far right has thought twice about taking the law into its own hands ever since.
Image © and courtesy Conrad Botes