A white nationalist from South Africa was among the hundreds of racists who marched in the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Va., last year and now says President Donald Trump is his “ray of hope” for the future.
Activist Simon Roche heads a paramilitary group called The Suilanders whose “doomsday prophecy” has its exclusively white following gearing up for what they believe is a brewing race war against Black South Africans, according to CNN. The group has plans to evacuate its members to refugee camps in rural South Africa amid the government’s land redistribution plans.
Roche has denied being a racist or a neo-Nazi despite his participation in the “Unite the Right” rally where protesters proudly chanted “Blood and Soil” and “Jews will not replace us!”
“I don’t think it’s racism,” he told CNN. “I don’t wake up in the morning hating Black people.”
After the Charlottesville demonstrations, Roche sent a message to his followers saying how “respectfully and decently” the protesters had behaved during the rally, adding, “The guys did a superb job.”
Roche told CNN he was particularly heartened when Trump fired off a tweet earlier this year demanding an investigation into the “land and farm seizures and expropriations … and the large scale killing of farmers” in South Africa. The president’s sudden interest in Africa came after a segment on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” about the South African government’s plans to seize white farmland and redistribute it to Black South Africans.
“South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers,” the president tweeted.
Trump’s incendiary tweet alleging “large-scale” killings of farmers drew the ire of the international community, but Roche saw it as a good thing.
“We saw a ray of hope,” said Roche. “Maybe there are people out there who know and care and have power and influence. Only time will tell how much is smoke and mirrors — shadows and dust.”