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  • By Craig Lock
    Mar 24, 2010
    Like Alan Paton, Craig Lock reaches to the heart of the troubled Beloved Country. In his new novel, Lock, perceptively and with an understanding of the historical elements, writes of the situation as it was, as it is… and as perhaps one day it will be, in the New South Africa. AN EXTRACT CHAPTER TEN :WILLEM Willem Johannes Koekemoer had been born and bred in Ventersdorp in the Western Transvaal.His family had been maize farmers in the area for generations.Politically the Koekemoers were extremely conservative but they were very proud of their Afrikaner heritage.This was a world away from the "liberal" Cape so one could not compare attitudes here though.This land was included in the original Boer Republic,the South African Republic.These days there was talk that Ventersdorp would be included in the Afrikaner Volkstaat,although no-one would ever say exactly where the borders were going to be. Willem was a handsome, blonde, blue-eyed boy who enjoyed his boyhood on the... More > farm.There was always plenty to do.If he wasn't helping 'Pa'(father) with the never-ending work ,he would go hunting and shooting small animals , the occasional bok and the never ending rabbits that bred so prolifically and were such a "blerrie" nuisance.The neighbour's farm was far away in the distance-with a pair of binoculars you could just see the homestead.So Willem didn't have many friends to play with. He had two older sisters,Magriet and Susaan but girls ("meisies") weren't much fun he often thought to himself.They were always doing boring things like sewing and baking or playing with their "poppies"(dolls).So Willem grew up as an independent, lonesome boy.His father Hendrik,when he had the time (which wasn't often as he was always too busy working on the farm) occasionally came riding or shooting with Willem. Never mind,there was always Mxolisi to do things with.Mxolisi was the son of one of the farm labourers and ever since they were small kids Willem and Mxolise had got on well.They played together in the sand at first and Willem's parents seemed happy that he had a little friend with whom to play,although he was a black 'klonkie'. However as they got older things were a little different.Mxolise liked to go shooting with Willem and he was very good at helping him "track down" the small animals like hares and rabbits.Willem's parents were not so happy about him doing things with a black boy now.It was allright when they were babies but now he was ten and he must play and mix with his own people. Willem could not understand this and he continued to see his good friend Mxolise.His father found out and thrashed him repeatedly when he would not obey his orders.His father was a violent man who had often struck his mother,especially after he had been drinking brandies.He felt helpless then as he vainly tried to protect his cowering mother. Those times he hated his father but he loved him most of the time.After all he was 'baas':the head of the household. So Willem Koekemoer was very scared of his father.He hit him very hard;the beatings were very sore and he hurt for days afterwards.One must obey one's father...... He did stop seeing Mxolise and Mxolise was sad but he knew the reason.His mother had told him the white man did not want him hanging around wih his son. Willem's father thought that it was now time for his son to be taught about the history of the Afrikaner.He had learnt quite a bit at school .How Jan Van Riebeeck had arrived at the Cape to set up a refuelling station and how the trekkers had left the Cape to escape the British "liberals" who would not allow them to keep their Hottentot slaves.They would make a land of their own in the Transvaal and Natal. Willem had loved hearing the tales of the Afrikaner courage and fortitude in opening up the country.He felt very proud of his heritage .His father,Hendrik had done a good job on him. When he was eleven Willem had joined the Ruiterwag,the boy scout troop specially for Afrikaans boys.They had fun going away on camps but Willem kept very much to himself and did not make any close friends.Anyway most of the boys lived far away on other farms (he could only see the smoke from their farmhouse) or in the town of Ventersdorp 45km away-too far for them to come over and play. Mr Hendrik Koekemoer believed that the Afrikaner was God's chosen race and that it was his duty to keep the black man in servitude.He didn't hate blacks;he thought the white man was superior and had a paternalistic role in controlling and protecting the black races. He worshipped Dr DF Malan and Dr Hendrik Verwoerd and their ideas on race.Hendrik believed in separate development as the Bible had said that the races should be kept apart-they were totally different peoples:whites,blacks,Indians and coloureds.Hendrik Koekemoer truly believed that the only solution to the problems of South Africa was rigid Apartheid-a total separation of the races.Only then would all the people "in hierdie heerlike land"(this glorious country) be able to live together peacefully. He was horrified about the moves away from a separation of the races.The government was slowly doing away with the laws prohibiting contact and most people didn't worry at all.They were leading the country to ruin by not listening the farmers in the 'platteland'(the country).Things were alright under Malan and Verwoerd and even BJ Vorster.But the rot set in with PW Botha who started changing the laws.He hated him and called him a traitor. However the worst traitor was the present President F.W De Klerk who was the ultimate traitor to the Afrikaner 'volk'(people).Since he wormed his way to power the country was going to the dogs.He was about to hand the country to the blacks and the hated Kommuniste (Communists) who would treat the Afrikaner people very shabbily. After all,his people had risen from poverty to take control of the country in 1948 from the 'rooineks' ,the English.What have they ever done for the country other than making plenty of money,especially the Jews,Hendrik thought."Swart en engelse donders"(Blacks and the English),he cursed to himself,yet he felt no hate towards these groups. He was very worried about the place of the Afrikaner in the future .He knew what would happen.Their culture would be destroyed,swamped by the black masses.Hendrik had been warning them for years in the Dorsbult bar at the Groot Marico Hotel in Ventersdorp but some would never listen.Now it was too late -those "bliksems".In a black country the traditional Afrikaner culture that he revered so proudly would be totally destroyed.No matter what they said,it would be totally lost forever and Hendrik Koekemoer could not bear to live like that, once that happened. He had passed on his views on race to Willem when he was ten.Willem became a white supremicist even more fanatical than his father-a true fanatic.His father had taken him along to many poliitical meetings in nearby Ventersdorp.The Konservatiewe Party were often holding meetings (but they were a bit tame and wishy washy thought Willem and his father).So did the HNP (Herstigte Nasionale Party=Reformed National Party) which had broken away from the too "liberal" National Party some years ago,but they had no leadership.Only a few "ou poepe" (old farts) who could do nothing . Willem had became politically aware very quickly and he thought both of these parties were too powerless to do anything to look after the Afrikaner people.They weren't organized enough and were weak.Anyway, Willem believed that the only way the Afrikaner would have his own place in the African sun was to show his strength and determination by fighting for it. His people had lost the Boer War to the English, but never again.They were prepared to die for their own piece of land in the beloved country.Hendrik and Willem thought that only a military solution through the barrel of a gun would win them their 'volkstaat',their own homeland.The blacks respected strength and they were prepared to die for their cause and their people. So it was natural that Willem and Hendrik Koekemoer joined the radical right-wing Afrikaner Weerstand Beweging (Afrikaner Resistance Movement) or AWB.They were attracted to their charismatic leader Eugene Terreblanche dressed in khaki and riding around on his horse.He was a bit clumsy sometimes, like the time he fell off his horse and sometimes his words were a lot of hot air.Never mind,he was their leader and he was charismatic . Willem would place his trust in Terreblanche in leading the Afrikaner volk to live as they wanted according to the dictates of their own culture. Willem had joined the AWB some years ago.It was after that farce of a Referendum in 1992 when De Klerk had tricked the nation.He never mentioned the fact that he was selling out his people.Willem didn't care so much about the country and whites in general but he was very bitter and angry that De Klerk cared nothing about his own people,the Afrikaners. So Willem became more and more determined to fight for his culture.His mission in life had become as clear as day to him.For the rest of his life he would be single-mindedly focussed on resisting the tragedy that had befallen his beloved South Africa.If it was the last thing he did,he would preserve his heritage,he thought as he recollected the 150th anniversary of the Great Trek.He vividly remembered the ox-wagons passing through Ventersdorp when he was small,sitting on his father's shoulders.The spoor of oxen being whipped by thick-set drivers with a wide-brimmed hat.Willem could remember it as if it was yesterday. As he lay in bed that night Willem Koekemoer sang the words of the South African national anthem to himself : "ons sal lewe ons sal sterwe ons vir jou Suid Afrika. And Willem Koekemoer was prepared to die for his beloved South Africa as he gently fell asleep. * * * ON THE ROAD TO "DEMOCRACY" WITH THE AWB It was now March 1994:South Africa was moving rapidly and inexorably towards black rule and impending disaster.Or so Willem Koekemoer thought.The elections were less than two months away and the talking point of the entire town (and the country, as it virtually stood still waiting for this momentous event in history). Many of the people living around Ventersdorp and Rustenberg had joined Constand Viljoen's Freedom Front.He was the former General in the South African Defence Force and initially Willem and his father had some hope that he would join forces with the AWB and urge his followers to boycott the Election at the end of April.Just the other day he had reversed his policy decision.Now he too had betrayed his people and he was contesting the election-another traitor to the 'volk'.Even worse,he was attracting a little support from the AWB.Those weaklings thought they would later get their volkstaat through negotiation with the black government.The African National Congress would win, thought Willem despondently and the hated Communists would ruin the country just like they did in Russia and elsewhere in Europe.Look at what black rule had done to the rest of Africa-chaos! Willem totally despised the farmers in the area for going along with Viljoen's Vryheidsfront (Freedom Front) party.They were as weak and gullible as the *'kaffirs'(a derogatory term for blacks) thinking they could get a Afrikaner homeland through negotiation.One could never trust a black thought Willem to himself.Even if you were a good master they betrayed you by stealing. Even his father was saying the Afrikaner could not win the battle.The fight had gone out of him thought Willem and he despised his fathers weakness. Willem was becoming more and more fanatical as the days passed.He had joined the 'Ystergarde'(the Iron Guard) which was the military wing of the AWB.He attended every AWB meeting as well as travelling into the surrounding camps with the Ystergarde.The leaders like Eugene Terreblanche dressed in khaki army uniforms with an insignia like the Nazi swastika on the breast.At these secret camps they would practice shooting at targets with small arms.They would also charge on their horses like the gladiators in the olden days and engage in wrestling on the ground (even some women).They wore black military uniforms with masks over their faces in case the press came upon them at one of their training camps.One couldn't be too careful these days;there were spies and informers everywhere.Now one could not trust another fellow Afrikaner-'skandelik'*(shameful) thought Willem to himself. Most of the people who attended the camps were between the ages twenty to thirty but there were a few older men who brought their children.The children seemed to like dressing up in their khaki uniforms.Most were boys with short cropped blonde hair but there were one or two young girls too with pony-tails.They all spoke Afrikaans. Willem seemed to get on well with the other men.He was often seen in earnest conversation with them;perhaps he had eventually found some kindred spirits with a common cause at last. Willem had also attended a meeting at which some foreign right wing merceries were present:a handful from Germany and Britain.A plot had been hatched about an assassination attempt on a leading black politician.A colourful character,Peet Maritz had come up with the idea to delay or even derail the forthcoming election and he had adressed the small group of extremists in the utmost secrecy on an outlying farm.There were heavily armed and very thick-set bodyguards everywhereon the outlying farm of Manie Nel.But after that Willem heard nothing more of it as he was not invited to another secret meeting-perhaps they knew something about him.......... A number of bombs had exploded in the last six months and Hendrik Koekemoer had heard rumours that his son Willem was responsible.The AWB had said that they would derail the election.Other right -wingers had said that they would occupy the buildings of over 200 rural towns to stop the local administration from operating .There was a large security force presence all over the western Transvaal and Hendrik Koekemoer worried about his son . He often travelled into town to the Dorsbult bar at the Groot Marico Hotel where he used to meet the townspeople and other farmers for a drink.The bombs were the talk of the town-other than the election of course. The AWB had a big following in Ventersdorp and many of the people at the bar thought the bombings were a good idea in stopping the election."What else could one do?" they said.But one had to be very careful what one said.Politics was a very sensitive subject in South Africa and there were many arguments between friends and even family.Also these days you did not know who to trust;it was so sad that Afrikaner was fighting Afrikaner and one could trust nobody.That traitor FW De Klerk had divided Afrikanerdom and would be responsible for their loss of power. The bombings and the election were the talk of the town,although they were nothing to get excited about.In the past four months already there had been 42 blasts.The patrons at the bar spoke loudly.In the background the jukebox played "boeremusiek" by Nico Carstens and his 'orkes'.He was the local musical hero.All the talk was politics and the coming rugby season.Most of the men were pleased that nobody had been killed as it was civic and administration buildings that were being targeted outside of working hours.A few electricity pylons had also been blown up. Hendrik had overheard some patrons at the bar talking.Apparently it was an underground AWB cell that was responsible for the blasts.Many of the members of the AWB worked on the mines and it was easy to steal the explosives;or so he heard.Others said that it was the faction of the 'Ystergarde'. Hendrik Koekemoer had also heard rumours of a a right-wing plot to assasinate the incoming black President,Nelson Mandela at his inaugeration at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.Everyone in the area (at least in Hendrik's circle)hated the thought of the ANC winning the election,but it seemed inevitable that Mandela would win.Apparently some one was going to take a longrange pot shot at the new President of South Africa from the foothills in the distance.They were some way from the amphitheatre where all the world's leaders would be gathered for this sad day in South Africa's history.But then the security would be so tight and every blade of grass minutely examined,so would anything come of it? Hendrik thought no one would be so crazy but then there were some madmen around........ Many of the Ventersdorp residents agreed with the extremist policies of the AWB.They had been brought up to believe that blacks were different and inferior.They just wanted to be left to themselves like in the old days. These changes had just brought trouble and now and in the future it would be very hard for anyone to live in peace in South Africa. Hendrik suspected that Willem was somehow involved because he was always going out at night with some vague story.He had been acting very strangely lately-but then he had always been a strange boy! He and his wife Maryna were very worried about their mysterious son. Hendrik at first said nothing to Willem but when the blasts started increasing in frequency, he tackled him about them. Willem looked straight ahead with his cold blue eyes saying nothing.So his father tried to warn him of the dangerous consequences to those "other people" as if Willem was not involved."The security police always got who they were looking for" he said to Willem. As they lay in bed unable to sleep, Hendrik and Maryna Koekemoer talked tenderly to each other about their son. They recalled his birth,his childhood and his growing up.He was very different to all the other children.They worried greatly about him. What fate would befall Willem Koekemoer in these dramatic days in the history of South Africa?............< Less
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Product Details

Craig Lock
June 3, 2009
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.49 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
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