In Search of Devils:
Nick Broomfield’s Afrikaner Resistance Films
French translation here
The Leader, His Driver, and the Driver’s Wife and His Big White Self
The Leader, His Driver, and the Driver’s Wife was filmed prior to the 1994 takeover of South Africa. Its sequel, His Big White Self, was shot fifteen years later. Both documentaries were originally broadcast over British public television station Channel 4.
The subject of both films is Boer resistance leader Eugène Terre’Blanche (1941–2010), founder with six others of the AWB (Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging or Afrikaner Resistance Movement) in 1973. The name “Terre’Blanche” (“white earth” in French) is of French Huguenot origin, as are a great number of Afrikaans surnames, reflecting the French Huguenot refugees who settled in the Cape beginning in the seventeenth century alongside the Dutch after fleeing Catholic persecution in France.
Because of Terre’Blanche’s unwillingness to play patsy, the filmmaker ended up making his aide (“driver” in Broomfield’s belittling terminology) J. P. Meyer and his chirpy wife Anita, a nurse, key subjects. It is only by paying close attention that one realizes that Meyer is an important figure in the AWB’s paramilitary wing.
The director and producer of both films is English documentarist Nick Broomfield (1948–), the son of prominent London photographer Maurice Broomfield (1916–2010) and his wife Sonja Lagusova. Nick Broomfield is credited with originating the format in which a polemical filmmaker is featured as prominently as his subject. His work has strongly influenced Michael Moore, Jon Ronson, Louis Theroux, and Morgan Spurlock, a group collectively known as Les Nouvelles Egotistes (The New Egotists).
Broomfield works with a minimal crew, himself and one or two cameramen. He is often shot (as here) holding the sound boom. His best-known film is Kurt & Courtney (1998), about pop singers Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love.
The Leader, His Driver, and the Driver’s Wife (1991, British) 1 hr. 20 mins.
It is useful to keep in mind when viewing this film that it was shot just a few years prior to the globalist destruction of South Africa, a time when everything was up in the air. Conditions of maximum racial threat to the descendants of the founders of the First World nation prevailed, and the reaction of whites—Boers, Broomfield, and whites around the world—is the maximum response they were able to muster in the face of the looming debacle.
The movie is about director Broomfield’s supposed fruitless attempts to obtain an interview with AWB leader Terre’Blanche (actually, he purposely sabotages his own opportunities).
Through a series of calculated slights and petty insults, which he either omitted, or, more likely, never filmed (so much for the “vérité” in cinéma vérité), Broomfield finally succeeds in provoking the tempers of both Terre’Blanche and J. P. Meyer on camera. No doubt he was aiming for a little violence as well (not too much!), but in that he failed.
The best he could finally do was stand up in the middle of a large AWB meeting and stride purposefully toward the speaker’s platform as his crew surreptitiously filmed, causing security guards to tackle him. This ersatz incident then supplies one of the film’s opening sequences.
Broomfield uses the Boers’ difficulty with English, a second language for them, to depict them as stupid racists. (Needless to say, neither he nor his crew can speak Afrikaans.)
The Meyers’ young son is seen innocently shooting his BB gun several times, and Broomfield sneers to the boy’s mother, “He’ll make a good gunman yet.” Anita mildly responds, “He’s just a normal boy. Boys like to play with guns.”
Throughout the film there are shots of stereotypical blacks. In one scene viewers are shown exterior shots of homes in a modestly well-to-do white neighborhood (i.e., racial injustice) with the assurance that no one watching will ruminate upon the lifestyles of Broomfield and Channel 4 executives in Britain. After all, that would require a self-generated thought by zoned out “democrats” sitting on their fat keisters in front of the telly.
Another sign of Broomfield’s character (or lack of it) are his repeated attempts, often successful, to trick his Afrikaans-speaking and legally naïve subjects into making compromising on-camera statements that could send them to prison, destroy their lives and the lives of their families, and disrupt or destroy their movement. Such conduct is characteristic of journalists who “report” on politically incorrect individuals. Broomfield and his colleagues are not objective professionals doing a job, but ambitious, ideologically-committed cogs in a political machine.
Perhaps the film’s highlight, if it can be called that, is when Broomfield catches J. P. Meyer in a deeply despondent mood after Piet Rudolph, a Boer Tommy Tarrants, renounces his beliefs from prison and urges whites to turn over their guns to the government.
“I’m through with the AWB,” says a disheartened J. P., who quits his position with Terre’Blanche. “My spirit was broken when I was in jail. I just don’t feel anything anymore. I’m sick and tired. Are you satisfied now? Maybe if you have some space for me in England I’ll move there.” When J. P. praises Anita as “a good wife,” Broomfield insults him, saying, “I always had the feeling that Anita ruled the roost.” (If so, he never filmed it. Also, it was out of character.)
All in all, it’s a vivid picture of how anti-white governments, and racists, break the white spirit, for J. P. Meyer is an exceptionally committed man.
In the original 1991 broadcast, Broomfield accused blonde South African journalist and former model Jani Allan of having sex with Terre’Blanche.
Broomfield’s charge caused Allan to sue Channel 4 for libel. The court ruled in favor of the broadcaster, but Broomfield’s “affair” appears to have been fictitious. (Even Allan’s ex-husband, one of South Africa’s wealthiest Jews, testified in her behalf, stating that she was not a racist or an anti-Semite.) So many strange events were associated with the case as to suggest official skullduggery. The media made a circus out of the affair, generating publicity for Broomfield’s film.
All that remains of any of this, however, is innuendo in the form of intercut shots in Terre’Blanche’s empty office of photographs of the leader and (separately) Allan, but without the accompanying accusations. Indeed, Allan isn’t even identified. (In the 2006 sequel, however, Broomfield repeats his charge.)
Despite Broomfield’s best efforts, Terre’Blanche emerges as a strong, capable, charismatic leader. (The director deliberately includes scenes of Terre’Blanche, an excellent horseman, losing control of his spirited mount on parade, makes him appear petty and ill-tempered through sly, unseen provocations, etc.)
Speaking in Afrikaans, Terre’Blanche’s oratorical style is reminiscent of Hitler’s, a resemblance accentuated by the AWB’s banner with its triskelion of three black sevens in a white circle upon a red background evocative of the famous Nationalflagge of Germany.
The most that can be said for this film is that it provides brief glimpses of the stark South African veld, of the AWB’s small storefront headquarters in Ventersdorp in the Transvaal (now subdivided and renamed Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and North West provinces), and of its paramilitary unit and training camp.
We also see and hear Eugène Terre’Blanche and obtain a vague feel for the people involved with the AWB. In 1991 the latter had a fairly good age distribution, not primarily elderly
The racism of Terre’Blanche’s followers, directed against blacks, was comparatively unsophisticated. At one point J. P. Meyer recommends a book about the Illuminati and the CFR for Broomfield’s edification. Early in the movie he announces to the filmmaker, “You’re my brother. You are part of my people”—a grave error. Though racially true (I’m assuming Broomfield is not Jewish), it is not true emotionally, psychologically, or ideologically (=“religiously”).
On the whole, this film, easily the best-known of the two, is a waste of time. Its main virtue is in making the sequel look good. I wonder if my opinion of His Big White Self would have been as high if I hadn’t seen The Leader . . . immediately before.
His Big White Self (2006, British) 1 hr. 33 mins.
His Big White Self is so much richer and more nuanced than its predecessor that there is no comparison. I recommend it.
It’s not that Broomfield’s racism has disappeared or moderated. Far from it. But now he makes no bones about it: he wears his prejudice on his sleeve. The pace does drag for 20 or 25 minutes in the middle when the black propaganda is laid on too thick. Broomfield is hyper-conventional. He is living proof that racism is eternal—the only thing that changes is who’s dishing it out and who’s receiving it.
The radical improvement in presentation is doubtless due to Broomfield’s and Channel 4’s reassessment of the South African political situation. In 1991, despite lampooning Terre’Blanche and AWB members as fools for his British employers, Broomfield’s (and their) true feelings were clearly the opposite.
But today, as he crows on his website, “The rural Afrikaners are a stripe in the corner of the new, rainbow South Africa that can now be safely ignored, beaten and unloved. They can be discounted as ultimately irrelevant.” Shades of his English forebears with their slaughters and Afrikaner concentration camps!
Broomfield returns to South Africa and brings the story of the leader, his former aide J. P. Meyer, and Meyer’s now ex-wife Anita up to date.
This time around Broomfield supplies narration, which vastly improves things despite its tendentiousness. (There was little narration in the first film.) Generous documentary footage covers the political events in South Africa during the intervening years, especially the exploits of the AWB, which is no longer presented as a comical and irrelevant band of marginal racists. Despite Broomfield’s intention, it is frequently inspiring.
Exciting footage of major events in recent AWB history is shown, including the 1991 battle of Ventersdorp when white traitor F. W. De Klerk challenged Terre’Blanche on his home turf, the storming of the Kempton Park World Trade Centre in 1993, and the violence in Bophuthatswana the following year.
In connection with the latter, Broomfield interviews General Constand Viljoen, former chief of the South African Defence Force and later head of the Afrikaner Volksfront, an umbrella body for right-wing groups including the AWB.
Portions of Broomfield’s previous film are excerpted with illustrative scenes. There is even some black and white footage from the nationalist epic Bou van ‘n Nasie (Building a Nation) (1938), and of assassinated South African hero Hendrik Verwoerd, murdered in 1966 after several failed assassination attempts. We learn for the first time that Terre’Blanche as a young South African police officer provided personal security for Prime Minister B. J. Vorster, “jailed as a Nazi during World War II.” Despite his youthful radicalism, Vorster by the 1960s fronted a fatally anti-white policy, as Terre’Blanche and many others quickly realized. The assassins of Verwoerd got what they wanted in Vorster.
A very important fact that Broomfield drives home with accompanying footage is that during apartheid’s heyday South Africa enjoyed support from the United States, Great Britain, and other European countries around the world, as well as from international corporations like IBM that did business there.
The lesson is that governments and private enterprises did not conspire to eliminate the white race. That was the work of far different elements. Governments and corporations have since become committed agents of genocide, but they did not originate the program.
While J. P.’s ex-wife Anita has largely adjusted to the new racial order, J. P. Meyer and Eugène Terre’Blanche were made of sterner stuff. Both emerge as more complex and interesting figures than they did the first time around. J. P., especially, earns the viewer’s respect, and Terre’Blanche as well, though the latter remains more enigmatic due to the filmmaker’s hostility and lack of access to him. J. P. and, one suspects, Terre’Blanche, remained unrepentant. (However, J. P.’s assessment of Terre’Blanche, whom he knew well, was, “He’s grown meek.”)
Near the culmination of the film, a frightened Broomfield arranges an interview with Terre’Blanche at his farm near Ventersdorp. He lies about his identity and disguises his appearance in order to obtain the interview, which the leader would never have granted if he realized who Broomfield was. (Among many other indignities, Broomfield implicated him in the Jani Allan affair and dragged him into the ensuing libel trial in London.)
Here the familiar Broomfield of the first film re-emerges, with his false flattery and insincere obsequiousness, all the while itching to do his victim harm. There’s a little of that in an opening scene, as well, when he and his crew invade J. P.’s home without knocking and film Meyer half-naked in his bathroom despite the latter’s protests—the same frat boy snottiness that fatally torpedoed The Leader . . .
It’s worth it this time, however, for the footage of the old lion in his final days. We see Terre’Blanche at home, the inside of his house, and at a subsequent Sunday church service delivering a fiery speech in Afrikaans.
A rewarding film. See it if you can.
And Later . . .
Prior to the fall of South Africa the AWB operated a paramilitary organization. Today it is a secessionist political group committed to the creation of an independent Boer-Afrikaner republic (Volkstaat/Boerestaat) in a portion of South Africa. Since it was founded in 1973, it’s clear that the handwriting was on the wall even then, and that Terre’Blanche read it correctly.
On April 3, 2010, Eugène Terre’Blanche was murdered in bed in the house at Ventersdorp seen in His Big White Self, beaten with pipes—so badly that “he did not look like Eugène anymore”—and hacked to death with machetes by two male Negroes, one 15 and the other 21, shortly after the head of the African National Congresses’s youth league sang a song, “Kill the Boer.”
The same ANC leader, Julius Malema—still in power—has called for the elimination of “counter-revolutionary” forces, advocated taking farmland from white farmers to give to blacks, and visited Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe to network about socialism and “land reform.” Upon his return he announced that Mugabe and his “war veterans” would assist South Africa in its “land transfers.” One of Terre’Blanche’s accused killers was Zimbabwean.
It is unclear whether the suspects were ever punished. ANC members showed up in court in large numbers to support the alleged murderers, sing Communist songs and, no doubt, initimidate the judge.
A sidelight of the brutal killing was the fact that the victim’s pants were pulled down, exposing him. With a keen grasp of prevailing prejudice, the accused improbably claimed the murdered victim sodomized them. This defamation was eagerly reported in the international press. The recantation of the falsehood was not.
There are many weird parallels between Terre’Blanche’s murder and the brutal killing of white racialist attorney Richard Barrett in Mississippi two weeks later.
The outspoken victims were born two years apart into traditional, segregated societies, subsequently taken over, and which now practice discrimination and genocide. They were both murdered in particularly gruesome fashion by young Negroes, ostensibly over wage disputes. (“Barrett’s body had multiple stab wounds to the neck and blunt-force trauma to the head; 35 percent of his body had been burned.”)
The two killings sank immediately from public view, with almost no investigation or commentary. The legal fate of the killers is difficult to determine, and elements of the press could barely conceal their glee.
In both instances the murderers alleged homosexuality on the part of the victims as their excuse. Barrett’s killer was not charged with a hate crime, the county sheriff even claiming the murder was not racially motivated! Yet if the Negro really did kill Barrett in a rage after being propositioned, as he claimed, that would make him a murderous homophobe, the perpetrator of a hate crime à la Matthew Shepard’s killers.