In death Eugene Terre’Blanche will achieve something which eluded him throughout life: cult status among the Afrikaner volk who are never slow to adopt a martyr.

The murder of Terre’Blanche, who was bludgeoned to death on his farm on Saturday, brings with it the threat of inter-racial war and political instability. But he was always an eyecatching, headline-grabbing figure, particularly in the 1980s, threatening war on the white-minority government after it entered into negotiations to end apartheid, his fiery, racist speeches often delivered from the back of a stallion.

When The Times interviewed him in October, the rhetoric had barely changed from 30 years previously.

As ever, he invoked memories of the Boer War more than a century ago, in which an estimated 26,000 Afrikaners died in concentration camps set up by the British. “We fought the British Commonwealth, we can survive the ANC,” he said. Moments earlier he had just summoned his people to battle. Arms outstretched, his voice resonating around a packed hall, he shouted: “Our country is being run by criminals who murder and rob. This land was the best, and they ruined it all.”

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