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November 27 2002
By Rory Carroll
A sunny morning breaks over Braam Pretorius Street and the white-only staff of Radio Pretoria prepare for another day of vocal resistance. "There is a storm out there. Our culture is under attack. We're expected to speak only bloody English. Things are going to have to change," said manager Jaap Diedericks.
With its Boer flags and portraits of victories over the Zulus, the studio resembles an Afrikaner museum, but Mr Diedericks believes Radio Pretoria is about the politics of the future, not nostalgia.
A regime of black "racialists" was uprooting the language, the wealth and the freedom of those who built a First World country, he said.
Eight years after history's lid closed on apartheid the dreams and fears of the Boers are back on the political agenda. A spate of bombings has been blamed on militant whites who allegedly want to stir a race war and overthrow the government.
The police have found several arms caches and a dozen suspected ringleaders will go on trial next year, but many think the terror is just starting. Last weekend a bomb exploded in a hangar full of police aircraft.
Security analysts put the odds of a successful coup at zero, the state being too strong, the plotters too weak. While police try to anticipate the next attack, President Thabo Mbeki and his predecessor, Nelson Mandela, have recently sat down with right-wing white politicians to ask, with a sense of urgency, what do Boers want?
Tuning into Radio Pretoria provides some answers. The Afrikaner-language station aims to nourish the striving for freedom and self-determination by promoting a Christian-Protestant European heritage. The newsreaders, chat-show hosts and phone-in listeners talk of persecution by the democratically elected "regime".
The listeners ask: Is AIDS the solution to black population growth? Should farmers keep illegal guns to deter robbers? How do you get a visa to emigrate to Australia?
Seldom do you hear that whites have retained the vast bulk of the country's wealth and "black empowerment" schemes to balance ownership of resources have failed.
A Pretoria-based Institute of Security Studies report suggests the new militants are very different from the rednecks of Eugene Terreblanche's Afrikaner Resistance Movement of the early 1990s. "The new guys are middle class and intellectuals," said Henri Boshoff, one of the report's co-authors.
They may be fewer than 1200 but they had the military training and organisation to commit atrocities, he said. "I reckon they will be around for at least a few years."
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