Following Trump’s historic election to the U.S. presidency Tuesday night, the leader of a white nationalist group in South Africa sent the new president-elect an ardent message of support and congratulations on the unprecedented win.
A member of South Africa’s Afrikaner Resistance Movement,(AWB) — a Neo-Nazi organization — told Buzzfeed Thursday that group leader Steyn von Ronge congratulated Trump and thanked him for his support of the white nationalist movement in South Africa and beyond.
“On behalf of tens of thousands of members of the AWB, as a white resistance movement against suppression of white people in South Africa, we want to congratulate you,” von Ronge wrote. Thank you for your … support of the white nation in South Africa. We wish you all the best for the future, and you can rely on our support.”
According to Buzzfeed, the Afrikaner Resistance Movement was founded in 1973 by white supremacist Eugene Terre’Blanche, who is notorious for brutally beating a Black worker for eating on the job and setting his dogs to attack a Black gas station worker. White South Africans flocked to the alt-right group during 1980s and 1990s amid talks of an end to the oppressive system of apartheid.
The main goal of the AWB was to establish an independent “Boer-Afrikaner” state for white South Africans only. However, membership among white nationalist group began to decline as the predominately Black nation moved relatively peacefully into a post-apartheid era.
Terre’Blanche remained leader of the AWB up until he was murdered by a Black farmworker in 2010, the Guardian reports. He was then succeeded by fellow AWB member von Ronge.
Like other white nationalist groups across the globe, morale among remaining members of the Afrikaner Resistance Movement was emboldened by Trump’s upsetting victory. The new president-elect’s incendiary and oftentimes racially-divisive rhetoric also gave rise to acts of outward racism committed by his bigoted supporters.
“Where most people in their own country deride [white nationalists] as atavistic idiots, these groups may now feel that they belong to something bigger — a tide of white rage,” Nicky Falkof, a professor at Johannesburg’s Witwatersrand University, told BuzzFeed. “They are nothing new in South Africa, of course. What is new is the ideological legitimacy that may be conferred on their extreme positions by Trump’s victory.”
Like American white supremacists who wish to return to the “good ‘ol days” before the Civil Rights Movement, South American white nationalists feel that the fall of apartheid leaves the nation open to the risk of being “wiped out” by “outsiders.”
“Regarding South Africa, we are really hoping that Trump will do something to save us from being simply wiped out after almost 400 years in our country,” said Dan Roodt, one of South Africa’s most well-known alt-right activists. Roodt told BuzzFeed via e-mail that the nation’s alt-right movement needed help against the many Black politicians, who wished to “perhaps even herd us into concentration camps.”
With Trump elected to be the new leader of the free world, white nationalists from across the globe will now look at him to make decisions in their favor.