Almost 600 Afrikaners marched on the Union Buildings on Thursday to protest white genocide. The Red October group released hundreds of red balloons to mark the day while calling for tolerance and warned against hate speech and racism.
The mostly white Afrikaner group, organised by Afrikaans singer Sunette Bridges, delivered a memorandum calling for an end to black-on-white violence and what it termed reverse racial discrimination in education and employment.
“We are not denying that they are being murdered, but they are not being murdered by white people,” said Bridges, when asked why the focus was on white, and especially farm, murders. “And if they were murdered by white people, the international community would have an absolute freak-out.”
The group and its organisers had come under fire from other Afrikaans constituencies for appropriating a traditionally communist slogan for its name on what in previous years had been celebrated as Kruger Day, the birthday of Boer resistance leader Paul Kruger.
Organisers said they were fighting for the rights of minorities, and not protesting black rule.
“Everyone is welcome here,” said popular Afrikaans singer Steve Hofmyer, who acted as a celebrity draw card for the event. “We march to prove that there are South Africans left who won’t acclimatise to the sub-standard.”
Despite arguments that the event was intended to advance minority rights in general, the focus was very much on the rape and murder of white people by black people, something organisers did not shy away from characterising as genocide.
Hofmyer said white people faced an exaggerated threat.
“Immaterial of the statistics, we are not used to this mortality rate, we are not used to being raped in these numbers,” he said.
Crime affects everyone in South Africa, he told the crowd, but Afrikaners had the right to count their own dead. “If we say all deaths should be counted, why do we count the rhinos and not count all dead animals?”
Dr Dan Roodt from Praag said Afrikaners had been disenfranchised and were not allowed to have their own municipalities even in towns and cities where they were the majority population.
“As someone said, even in the reserves, American Indians are permitted to run their own affairs,” he stated. “Yet we are universally denied any say in the running of the country our forefathers built.”