At a rally of far-right Afrikaners, Goldblatt kept his lens trained on Constand Viljoen in the front row. Viljoen clutched the hand of his wife, Ristie, grim-faced, as she wept while Terre’blanche raged. It was the moment of truth about the dissolution of the right-wing backlash.
About three months before the first democratic election, I went with David Goldblatt to a rally of far-right Afrikaners who hoped to organise resistance – armed if necessary – to the forthcoming democracy.
It was the story the international press had been waiting for. Scores of photographers and journalists were there, as was the far-right leader Eugene Terre’blanche, head of the Afrikaner Weerstands Beweging (AWB).
So too was Constand Viljoen, the former Defence Force head, whom the right-wing had anointed a year before as their reluctant saviour.
Viljoen’s talk about a peaceful route to a “Volkstaat” did not cut it that night with the openly racist and belligerent crowd. He tried to preach his message of peace against angry shouts of “nou, nou, nou” (Now, now, now).
He sat down, shaken, as Terre’blanche, the fanatical rabble-rouser, took the stage. Every camera trained on the AWB leader as he strutted and yelled his stuff. This is what the world’s press had come for, after all.
But Goldblatt kept his lens trained on Viljoen who had returned to his seat in the front row. Viljoen clutched the hand of his wife, Ristie, grim-faced, as she wept while Terre’blanche raged. Read more