His Big White Self
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|His Big White Self|
|Directed by||Nick Broomfield|
|Running time||85 minutes|
|Original network||Channel 4|
His Big White Self is a 2006 documentary film made by Nick Broomfield. It is a follow-up to his 1991 film The Leader, His Driver and the Driver's Wife. It was shown for the first time as part of More4's Nick Broomfield week which started on 27 February 2006. The documentary follows Broomfield as he returns to South Africa 12 years after the collapse of the apartheid regime. His previous film focused largely on JP Meyer, a driver for Eugene Terre'Blanche (the leader of the far-right Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging), and JP's wife, Anita.
In His Big White Self, Broomfield explores conditions after his return to Ventersdorp in the former Transvaal (now North West Province). He meets with JP, a former driver of Eugene Terre'Blanche, head of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (Afrikaner Resistance Movement), and his wife Anita to see how their lives have changed since the fall of apartheid in 1994. (He had covered the lives of this couple in his 1991 documentary.) JP and Anita have divorced since 1991.
JP works as an ambulance driver, splitting his time between this and his new wife. Anita moved to the town of Ottosdal and devotes much of her time to their grandchildren, teaching them Afrikaaner ways and traditions. JP expresses feelings of betrayal, as he believed that the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging would instigate a 'Boer revolution' in its quest for a white homeland after Mandela and the ANC came to power. The AWB failed to achieve this goal.
JP justifies apartheid and its principles of separation by race as the 'best way' for South Africa to exist harmoniously. Anita, by contrast, has shifted from being a radical champion of white rule to concluding that a minority has no right to govern a majority.
Broomfield also gains access to Eugene Terre'Blanche himself, meeting him in disguise to prevent the leader from recognising him. During Broomfield's previous meeting with Terre'Blanche, the leader considered himself to have been portrayed as foolish, leading to death threats being sent to Broomfield. The film also documents some particularly noteworthy events which all occurred in the run up to the ending of Apartheid and the South African general election, 1994. This includes the events of 9 August 1991 when President F. W. de Klerk visited Ventersdorp (the leader's birthplace and a major power base for the AWB at the time) and the battle which subsequently ensued when the AWB allegedly cut the town's power supply and began firing on police. The Storming of the Kempton Park World Trade Centre is also shown. In June 1993, the AWB and other far right groups stormed the Kempton Park World Trade Centre near Johannesburg. At the time the venue was being used for negotiations between the ANC and the National Party to end Apartheid. Again the AWB made national headlines when in March 1994 they invaded the tribal homeland of Bophuthatswana uninvited seemingly acting as if on a hunting parade killing many civilians. The film captures the event when three AWB commandos were summarily executed by a Bophuthatswanan soldier as they were attempting to leave the tribal homeland. At the time Bophuthatswana was still a so-called independent homeland for blacks set up by the Apartheid regime and its leader, Lucas Mangope was refusing to reintegrate the homeland with the new South Africa prompting a coup. The film's final scene shows Anita, still working as a nurse, treating a small black child who has sustained some minor leg wounds which seemingly alludes to the new South Africa where black and white are no longer separate, previously hospitals were segregated by race as were many other public amenities.