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By Mercury Reporters
Some cheered the death of a "dog" while others swore revenge. Yet for the vast majority of South Africans it was another ordinary day yesterday, with the bonus of a Monday off over the Easter long weekend.
For the pundits, the consequences of Saturday's murder of right-wing leader Eugene Terre'Blanche did not come close to another Easter weekend 17 years ago, when South Africa was on a knife-edge following the assassination of SACP leader Chris Hani.
But the government was not taking chances, with Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and General Bheki Cele dispatched to Ventersdorp. They were backed by police top brass, including Andre Pruis and Hawks boss Anwa Dramat, in a show of force.
President Jacob Zuma, who had called for calm in an overnight statement, followed up with a televised address for extra effect last night.
ZoopyTV interviewed ordinary South Africans to find out how they felt about Terre'Blanche's murder
Emulating then ANC president Nelson Mandela's intervention after Hani's slaying in 1993, Zuma appealed to political leaders to think first before making statements that could inflame racial tension.
He was referring to loose talk by politicians, commentators and rightwingers ranging from threats of "bloodbaths" and possible revenge, as well as the inevitable blame game associated with ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema's resuscitation of the "shoot the boer" song.
Presidential spokesman Vincent Magwenya said Zuma's call for "responsible leadership" applied "to everyone - to Malema and the AWB alike".
Expressing his condolences to the Terre'Blanche family, his friends and comrades in the AWB, Zuma said the killing was "shocking" and "a sad moment for the country".
"I know for a fact that those who have been close to Mr Terre'Blanche, they must be feeling a pain, but it is this time that we have got to exercise our leadership responsibly to make this country unite in calling for a stop to violence.
"Violent crime must be fought and be defeated by all of us," he said, condemning the murder as a "cowardly act".
Zuma earlier personally conveyed his condolences to Terre'Blanche's daughter Bea and said he also wanted to speak to her mother, Martie.
The ANC, while denying claims that singing of "shoot the boer" should be blamed, said it would consider a moratorium on the song in the interests of national cohesion.
Former president FW de Klerk - who was head of state when Hani was assassinated - said he was shocked and outraged. Last month he wrote to Zuma appealing to him to step in and moderate what he believed to be the "increasingly inflammatory tone of the national debate".
Terre'Blanche was killed in the early evening, allegedly after a dispute about wages with two farmworkers.
A 15-year-old boy and a 28-year-old man were arrested within an hour. They were detained at the Ventersdorp police station and are expected to appear in court on charges of murder tomorrow.
Police Captain Adele Myburgh would not comment on rumours that the pair said they had killed Terre'Blanche in self-defence.
The family of the 15-year-old was shattered by his arrest and feared for their safety.
The boy's father said: "I have nowhere to go, but I am scared that my family is going to be attacked. I still don't know what got into this boy because he has caused such a huge problem for the community, not just his family."
He said his son told them there was a fight because Terre'Blanche refused to pay them. "I still don't believe that boy killed Terre'Blanche," he said.
Family and neighbours told The Mercury the boy was quiet and had worked full-time for Terre'Blanche from 14.
Another farmworker described how he went to work on Saturday as usual with the two workers who were later arrested. Jacob Lepondo, 17, said Terre'Blanche had failed to pay them all at the end of the month and they had asked Terre'Blanche's wife for payment, but she did not have money.
Lepondo went home, but as the other two had to continue working, they went back to the farm.
"He was willing to pay them. I don't know what went wrong when they got to the farm," said Lepondo.
"I heard he was attacked with a knife and a tool we use on the farm," he said. "I'm saddened by his death. He used to buy clothes for me and give me R50 every weekend."
By late yesterday there was a huge pile of flowers, condolence cards and teddy bears at the gate of Terre'Blanche's farm, alongside the old South African flags favoured by AWB supporters.
In Ventersdorp's township, Tshing, some people celebrated. "I'm glad he's dead. I'm going to celebrate," said a teenager outside a tavern.
"Terre'Blanche was a criminal," said his friend
"They leaped into the air screaming, 'The dog is dead!'" said Pandora Ngubelanga in Tshing. "Terre'Blanche did a lot of bad things to people and he got away scot-free. So the law failed us. But these two brave men have avenged for us," said a smiling Ngubelanga.
Martha Mokone was injured by an AWB bomb in Tshing in the 1990s and her husband, now deceased, lost his arm. "I suffered because of that man. He must go and burn in hell. I will not go to his funeral... he killed innocent people," she said.