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The AWB Group



The Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (Afrikaner Resistance Movement) (AWB) is a South African far right separatist political and former paramilitary organisation, since its creation dedicated to secessionist Afrikaner nationalism and the creation of an independent Boer-Afrikaner republic or "Volkstaat/Boerestaat" in part of South Africa. In its heyday in the 1980s and 1990s, the organisation received much publicity both in South Africa and internationally as a white supremacist and neo-fascist group. It was formed in 1973 by Eugène Terre'Blanche, who remained the leader until he was murdered on his farm in 2010. Terre'Blanche was succeeded as leader by Steyn van Ronge.

Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging

The emblem of the AWB

Zone of influence
Formation 1973
Type Political
Legal status Active
Location Ventersdorp, North West Province, South Africa
Region served South Africa
Leader Steyn van Ronge


The AWB was formed on 7 July 1973 in a garage in Heidelberg, Transvaal (now Gauteng), a town southeast of Johannesburg. Eugène Terre'Blanche, a former police officer, became disillusioned by then-Prime Minister B.J. Vorster's "liberal views," as well as what he viewed as communist influences in South African society. Terre'Blanche decided to form the AWB with six other like-minded persons, and was elected leader of the organisation, a position he held until his death in April 2010.Their objective was to establish an independent Boerestaat ("Boer State") for Boer-Afrikaner people only, existing separately from South Africa, which was considered too left wing and liberal by Terre'blanche. The AWB was formed in an attempt to regain the ground lost after the Second Boer War: they intended to re-establish the independent Boer Republics of the past  the South African Republic (Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek) and the Republic of the Orange Free State (Oranje Vrystaat).


During the 1970s and 1980s, the AWB grew from the original seven to several thousand white South Africans. They opposed the reform of apartheid laws during the 1980s, harassing liberal politicians and holding large (and often quite rowdy) political rallies. Terre'Blanche used his flamboyant oratorial skills and forceful personality to win converts. He railed against the lifting of many so-called "petty apartheid" laws such as the law banning interracial sex and marriage (the race relations act), mixing of the races (group areas act) as well as the allowance of limited political rights to Indians and Coloureds (Mixed race individuals). During the State of Emergency (1984 to 1986) there were many reports of AWB violence and even murders against unarmed non-whites. The AWB was especially in opposition to the then-banned African National Congress. The ruling National Party considered the AWB to be little more than a fringe group, so while not officially endorsed, they were able to operate relatively unhindered. However in 1986, white police officers took the unprecedented step of using tear gas against Terre'Blanche and the AWB when they disrupted a National Party rally. The organisation was estimated to have had support amongst 5 to 7 percent of the White South African population in 1988. In the Nick Broomfield film His Big White Self, he claims that the organisation reached a peak of half a million supporters in their heyday.


In the mid-1980s, the AWB instituted a Voedingskema (feeding program), later called the Volkshulpskema (people's help scheme), to help the very poorest Afrikaner families. The scheme delivered a meal every day to 14,000 poor Afrikaner children in Pretoria. Certain farmers also donated vegetables on an almost weekly basis, and in the final three months of 1986 alone 300 tons of food was donated. In the winter, bedding was donated as well. Sympathetic mine owners and farmers arranged jobs for unemployed Afrikaners on the farms and mines. Afrikaans singer Bles Bridges held a concert on 3 March 1987 in Pretoria and gave the 10,000 Rand raised to the project.

During the negotiations that led to South Africa's first multiracial elections, the AWB threatened all-out war. During the Battle of Ventersdorp in August 1991, the AWB confronted police in front of the town hall where President F W de Klerk was speaking, and "a number of people were killed or injured" in the conflict. Later in the negotiations, the AWB stormed the Kempton Park World Trade Centre where the negotiations were taking place, breaking through the glass front of the building with an armoured car. The police guarding the centre failed to prevent the invasion. The invaders then took over the main conference hall, threatening delegates and painting slogans on the walls, but left again after a short period.

In 1988, the AWB was beset by scandal when claims that Terre'Blanche had had an affair with journalist Jani Allan surfaced. In July 1989, Cornelius Lottering, a member of a breakaway AWB group Orde van die Dood (Order of Death), attempted to assassinate Allan by placing a bomb outside her Sandton apartment. Nick Broomfield's 1991 documentary The Leader, His Driver and the Driver's Wife claimed that Terre'Blanche had sex with Allan, a claim she denied. This led to Allan taking libel proceedings against the documentary broadcaster Channel 4 in 1992 in the London High Court. During the trial, several transcripts of their alleged unconventional sexual positions appeared in the South African and British press. Terre'Blanche also submitted a sworn statement to the London court denying that he had had an affair with Allan. Although the judge found that Channel 4's allegations had not defamed Allan, he did not rule on whether or not there had been an affair.

AWB members provided training to members of the Inkatha Freedom Party to help them defend themselves against the ANC and fight for a Zulu homeland


In 1994, before the advent of majority rule, the AWB gained international notoriety in its attempt to defend the dictatorial government of Lucas Mangope in the homeland of Bophuthatswana. The AWB, along with a contingent of about 90 Afrikaner Volksfront militiamen, entered the capital Mmabatho on 10 and 11 March. The black policemen and soldiers of the Bophuthatswana Defence Force who were out in force to support president Mangope disappeared from the streets in protest at the AWB's actions and later turned on the militiamen at the airport at Mafikeng. One AWB member was shot and killed when the convoy attempted to leave the airport and continue on to Mmabatho. When in Mmabatho, the AWB and the Afrikaner Volksfront found themselves under continuous siege from both the Bophuthatswana Defence Force and Mmabatho citizens. When attempting to retreat from Mmabatho on 11 March, three AWB members were summarily executed by a Defence Force member who had gone over to the ANC after they had been wounded in a firefight. Nearby photojournalists and television news crews recorded the incident, which proved to be a public relations disaster for the AWB, demoralising its white members.

The AWB claimed that they were asked into the country and only entered trying to help the Bophuthatswana government, but the Tebbutt Commission found the "evidence is overwhelming that they entered the area uninvited and that they were not welcome there.


On 17 June 2001 Terre'Blanche was sentenced to six years in prison for assaulting a petrol station worker, John Ndzima, to such an extent as to cause permanent brain damage, and the attempted murder of a security guard and former employee, Paul Motshabi. Terre'Blanche was released in June 2004 after serving 3 years in Rooigrond Prison near Mafikeng. During his time in prison he became a born-again Christian and claimed he had moderated many of his more racist views and preached reconciliation as 'prescribed by God'.In April 2007, AWB posters appeared at the 13th Klein Karoo National Arts Festival in Oudtshoorn. Several posters made reference to the Bok van Blerk song 'De la Rey', an Afrikaans hit record about the Boer General as well as to South Africa's former coat of arms. Organisers were quick to remove the posters.

In March 2008, the AWB announced it was re-activating for 'populist' reasons, citing the encouragement of the public. Reasons for the return include the electricity crisis, corruption across government departments and rampant crime. Plans include a demand for land that they claim is legally theirs in terms of the Sand River Convention of 1852 and other historical treaties, through the International Court of Justice in The Hague if necessary, and if that failed, taking up arms. In April 2008, Terre'Blanche was to be the speaker at several AWB rallies in Vryburg, Middelburg and Pretoria. Several areas in South Africa have been earmarked as part of a future Volkstaat according to three critical title deeds. The areas include; Vryheid in KwaZulu-Natal, the old republics of Stellaland and Goshen in the far North-West and sections of the Free State.Amidst a Facebook race row concerning North West University students, the South African press revealed that the AWB have been using the social networking site to recruit members. The Mail and Guardian newspaper revealed that the AWB group has over 5000 members, and appeals to 18- to 35-year-olds to join the organisation's youth wing. Steyn van Ronge was recently announced as the permanent leader of the organisation


The AWB flag is composed of three black sevens (forming a triskelion) in a white circle upon a red background. According to AWB, the sevens, 'the number of JAHWEH', 'stand to oppose the number 666, the number of the anti-Christ'. Red is considered to represent Jesus' blood, while black stands for bravery and courage. The inner white circle symbolises the "eternal struggle", or according to other sources "eternal life". The flag bears a resemblance to the Swastika flag used by the Nazi Party and Nazi Germany.The AWB also uses the "Vierkleur", the original flag of the once independent South African Republic, and the flag of the Orange Free State.






















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