S. Africa's right still fears post-Mandela apocalypse

S. Africa's right still fears post-Mandela apocalypse
A photo of a younger Mandela (above) in a memorial after his death.

PRETORIA, South Africa - In South Africa, right-wing prophesies that Nelson Mandela's death will be followed by a racial apocalypse refuse to be quashed by events.

Ever since the mostly peaceful transition to majority rule in 1994, right-wing South Africans have claimed the moment would spell an end to reconciliation and unleash untold bloodshed.

So engrained was the idea of a "Night of the Long Knives" that it even seeped into mainstream thinking.

Some plotted elaborate evacuation plans, radio programmes discussed whether it was remotely possible and one journalist even visited a town where whites would supposedly gather before fleeing, just in case anyone turned up.

When nothing happened after South Africa's first black president drew his last breath on December 5, or after his burial 10 days later, most were unsurprised, but for some it was nothing more than apocalypse deferred.

"They are definitely planning something. It won't happen over one night, but will be gradual," said Neil, 40, while on a recent visit to an Afrikaner memorial, the Voortrekker Monument in Pretoria.

The belief that one day whites would be slaughtered en masse is tenacious and can be traced back to the earliest white settlers on the tip of Africa.

Later, in the early 1900s, in the wake of the second Anglo-Boer War, the idea was propagated by soothsayer Nicolaas van Rensburg, who has obtained cult status among radical Afrikaner groups.

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