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Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging

Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging

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Encyclopedia
The Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (Afrikaner Resistance Movement) (AWB) is a South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

n far right
Far right
Far-right, extreme right, hard right, radical right, and ultra-right are terms used to discuss the qualitative or quantitative position a group or person occupies within right-wing politics. Far-right politics may involve anti-immigration and anti-integration stances towards groups that are...

 separatist political
Political organisation
A political organization is an organization that involves itself in the political process. In a broader sense, a political organization can also be viewed as a political system, as long as it includes the entire system and body of government...

 and former paramilitary
Paramilitary
A paramilitary is a force whose function and organization are similar to those of a professional military, but which is not considered part of a state's formal armed forces....

 organization, since its creation dedicated to secessionist Afrikaner nationalism
Afrikaner nationalism
Afrikaner nationalism is a political ideology that was born in the late 19th century around the idea that Afrikaners in South Africa were a "chosen people"; it was also strongly influenced by anti-British sentiments that grew strong among the Afrikaners, especially because of the Boer Wars...

 and the creation of an independent Boer
Boer
Boer is the Dutch and Afrikaans word for farmer, which came to denote the descendants of the Dutch-speaking settlers of the eastern Cape frontier in Southern Africa during the 18th century, as well as those who left the Cape Colony during the 19th century to settle in the Orange Free State,...

-Afrikaner
Afrikaner
Afrikaners are an ethnic group in Southern Africa descended from almost equal numbers of Dutch, French and German settlers whose native tongue is Afrikaans: a Germanic language which derives primarily from 17th century Dutch, and a variety of other languages.-Related ethno-linguistic groups:The...

 republic or "" in part of South Africa. In its heyday in the 1980s and '90s, the organisation received much publicity both in South Africa and internationally as a white supremacist and neo-fascist
Neo-Fascism
Neo-fascism is a post–World War II ideology that includes significant elements of fascism. The term neo-fascist may apply to groups that express a specific admiration for Benito Mussolini and Italian Fascism or any other fascist leader/state...

 group.

It was formed in 1973 by Eugène Terre'Blanche
Eugène Terre'Blanche
Eugène Ney Terre'Blanche was a former member of South Africa's Herstigte Nasionale Party who founded the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging during the apartheid era...

, who remained the leader until he was murdered by two of his black farm workers over a wage dispute in 2010. Terre'Blanche was succeeded as leader by Steyn van Ronge.

History


The AWB was formed on 7 July 1973 in a garage in Heidelberg, Transvaal
Transvaal Province
Transvaal Province was a province of the Union of South Africa from 1910 to 1961, and of its successor, the Republic of South Africa, from 1961 until the end of apartheid in 1994 when a new constitution subdivided it.-History:...

 (now Gauteng
Gauteng
Gauteng is one of the nine provinces of South Africa. It was formed from part of the old Transvaal Province after South Africa's first all-race elections on 27 April 1994...

), a town southeast of Johannesburg
Johannesburg
Johannesburg also known as Jozi, Jo'burg or Egoli, is the largest city in South Africa, by population. Johannesburg is the provincial capital of Gauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa...

. Eugène Terre'Blanche
Eugène Terre'Blanche
Eugène Ney Terre'Blanche was a former member of South Africa's Herstigte Nasionale Party who founded the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging during the apartheid era...

, a former police officer
South African Police
The South African Police was the country's police force until 1994. The SAP traced its origin to the Dutch Watch, a paramilitary organization formed by settlers in the Cape in 1655, initially to protect civilians against attack and later to maintain law and order...

, became disillusioned by then-Prime Minister B.J. Vorster
B.J. Vorster
Balthazar Johannes Vorster , better known as John Vorster, served as the Prime Minister of South Africa from 1966 to 1978 and as the fourth State President of South Africa from 1978 to 1979...

's "liberal views," as well as what he viewed as communist influences in South African society. Terre'Blanche decided to form the AWB with six other like-minded persons, and was elected leader of the organisation, a position he held until his death in April 2010.

Their objective was to establish an independent Boerestaat ("Boer State") for Boer
Boer
Boer is the Dutch and Afrikaans word for farmer, which came to denote the descendants of the Dutch-speaking settlers of the eastern Cape frontier in Southern Africa during the 18th century, as well as those who left the Cape Colony during the 19th century to settle in the Orange Free State,...

-Afrikaner
Afrikaner
Afrikaners are an ethnic group in Southern Africa descended from almost equal numbers of Dutch, French and German settlers whose native tongue is Afrikaans: a Germanic language which derives primarily from 17th century Dutch, and a variety of other languages.-Related ethno-linguistic groups:The...

 people only, existing separately from South Africa, which was considered too left wing and liberal by Terre'blanche. The AWB was formed in an attempt to regain the ground lost after the Second Boer War
Second Boer War
The Second Boer War was fought from 11 October 1899 until 31 May 1902 between the British Empire and the Afrikaans-speaking Dutch settlers of two independent Boer republics, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State...

: they intended to re-establish the independent Boer Republics of the past — the South African Republic
South African Republic
The South African Republic , often informally known as the Transvaal Republic, was an independent Boer-ruled country in Southern Africa during the second half of the 19th century. Not to be confused with the present-day Republic of South Africa, it occupied the area later known as the South African...

 (Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek) and the Republic of the Orange Free State
Orange Free State
The Orange Free State was an independent Boer republic in southern Africa during the second half of the 19th century, and later a British colony and a province of the Union of South Africa. It is the historical precursor to the present-day Free State province...

 (Oranje Vrystaat).

Apartheid era



During the 1970s and 1980s, the AWB grew from the original seven to several thousand white South Africans. They opposed the reform of apartheid laws during the 1980s, harassing liberal politicians and holding large (and often quite rowdy) political rallies. Terre'Blanche used his flamboyant oratorial skills and forceful personality to win converts. He railed against the lifting of many so-called "Petty apartheid
Petty apartheid
Petty apartheid is a term which originally referred to the more apparently trivial aspects of apartheid in South Africa, but that is now also used to refer to segregation in other countries as well...

" laws such as the law banning interracial sex and marriage (the race relations act), mixing of the races (group areas act) as well as the allowance of limited political rights to Indians and Coloureds (Mixed race individuals). During the State of Emergency (1984 to 1986) there were many reports of AWB violence and even murders against unarmed non-whites. The AWB was especially in opposition to the then-banned African National Congress
African National Congress
The African National Congress is South Africa's governing Africanist political party, supported by its tripartite alliance with the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the South African Communist Party , since the establishment of non-racial democracy in April 1994. It defines itself as a...

. The ruling National Party
National Party (South Africa)
The National Party is a former political party in South Africa. Founded in 1914, it was the governing party of the country from 4 June 1948 until 9 May 1994. Members of the National Party were sometimes known as Nationalists or Nats. Its policies included apartheid, the establishment of a...

 considered the AWB to be little more than a fringe group, so while not officially endorsed, they were able to operate relatively unhindered. However in 1986, white police officers took the unprecedented step of using tear gas against Terre'Blanche and the AWB when they disrupted a National Party rally. The organisation was estimated to have had support amongst 5 to 7 percent of the White South African population in 1988. In the Nick Broomfield
Nick Broomfield
Nicholas "Nick" Broomfield is an English documentary film-maker. He is the son of Maurice Broomfield, a photographer.Broomfield works with a minimal crew, recording sound himself and using one or two camera operators...

 film, His Big White Self
His Big White Self
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 February 27, 2006.The documentary follows Broomfield as he...

 he claims that the organisation reached a peak of half a million supporters in their heyday.

Volkshulpskema


In the mid-1980s, the AWB instituted a Voedingskema (feeding program), later called the Volkshulpskema (people's help scheme), to help the very poorest Afrikaner families. The scheme delivered a meal every day to 14,000 poor Afrikaner children in Pretoria
Pretoria
Pretoria is a city located in the northern part of Gauteng Province, South Africa. It is one of the country's three capital cities, serving as the executive and de facto national capital; the others are Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein, the judicial capital.Pretoria is...

. Certain farmers also donated vegetables on an almost weekly basis, and in the final three months of 1986 alone 300 tons of food was donated. In the winter, bedding was donated as well. Sympathetic mine owners and farmers arranged jobs for unemployed Afrikaners on the farms and mines. Afrikaans singer Bles Bridges
Bles Bridges
Bles Bridges , born Lawrence John Gabriel Bridges, was a much loved South African singer. He became known as Bles Bridges, as his Irish granddad called him Bles , due to his very thin hair from an early age....

 held a concert on 3 March 1987 in Pretoria and gave the 10,000 Rand raised to the project.

During the end of apartheid



During the negotiations that led to South Africa's first multiracial elections, the AWB threatened all-out war. During the Battle of Ventersdorp
Battle of Ventersdorp
The Battle of Ventersdorp on 9 August 1991 was a violent confrontation in the South African town of Ventersdorp between right wing supporters of the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging and the South African Police and security forces...

 in August 1991, the AWB confronted police in front of the town hall where President F W de Klerk was speaking, and "a number of people were killed or injured" in the conflict. Later in the negotiations, the AWB stormed the Kempton Park World Trade Centre
Storming of Kempton Park World Trade Centre
The storming of the Kempton Park World Trade Centre took place in South Africa on June 25, 1993 when approximately three thousand members of the Afrikaner Volksfront , Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging and other paramilitary right-wing Afrikaner groups stormed the World Trade Centre in Kempton Park,...

 where the negotiations were taking place, breaking through the glass front of the building with an armoured car. The police guarding the centre failed to prevent the invasion. The invaders then took over the main conference hall, threatening delegates and painting slogans on the walls, but left again after a short period.

In 1988, the AWB was beset by scandal when claims that Terre'Blanche had had an affair with journalist Jani Allan
Jani Allan
Jani Allan is a South African columnist and radio commentator. She became a household name as a columnist for the Sunday Times where she worked between 1979-90. She is also known for her alleged affair with an interviewee, the late right-wing political leader Eugène Terre'Blanche...

 surfaced. In July 1989, Cornelius Lottering, a member of a breakaway AWB group Orde van die Dood
Orde van die Dood
The Orde van die Dood was a militant offshoot of the Afrikaner Resistance Movement which sought to create a white Boer homeland in South Africa, beginning in the 1980s.The movement gained exposure in 1989 when member Cornelius Lottering attempted to assassinate the journalist, Jani...

 (Order of Death), attempted to assassinate Allan by placing a bomb outside her Sandton apartment. Nick Broomfield
Nick Broomfield
Nicholas "Nick" Broomfield is an English documentary film-maker. He is the son of Maurice Broomfield, a photographer.Broomfield works with a minimal crew, recording sound himself and using one or two camera operators...

's 1991 documentary The Leader, His Driver and the Driver's Wife
The Leader, His Driver and the Driver's Wife
The Leader, His Driver and the Driver's Wife is a 1991 British feature-length documentary film set during the final days of the apartheid regime in South Africa, particularly centering on Eugène Terre'Blanche, founder and leader of the far-right, white supremacist political organisation AWB. The...

 claimed that Terre'Blanche had sex with Allan, a claim she denied. This led to Allan taking libel proceedings against the documentary broadcaster Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

 in 1992 in the London High Court. During the trial, several transcripts of their alleged unconventional sexual positions appeared in the South African and British press. Terre'Blanche also submitted a sworn statement to the London court denying that he had had an affair with Allan. Although the judge found that Channel 4's allegations had not defamed Allan, he did not rule on whether or not there had been an affair.

Bophuthatswana coup



In 1994, before the advent of majority rule, the AWB gained international notoriety in its attempt to defend the dictatorial government of Lucas Mangope
Lucas Mangope
Kgosi Lucas Manyane Mangope is the former leader of the Bantustan of Bophuthatswana and current leader of the United Christian Democratic Party, a minor political party based in the North West province of South Africa....

 in the homeland of Bophuthatswana
Bophuthatswana
Bophuthatswana , officially the Republic of Bophuthatswana was a Bantustan – an area set aside for members of a specific ethnicity – and nominal parliamentary democracy in the northwestern region of South Africa...

. The AWB, along with a contingent of about 90 Afrikaner Volksfront militiamen, entered the capital Mmabatho
Mmabatho
Mmabatho is the former capital of the North-West Province of South Africa. In the apartheid era, it was the capital of the former "Bantustan" of Bophuthatswana. Following the end of apartheid in 1994, Bophuthatswana was integrated into the newly established North-West Province and Mmabatho was...

 on 10 and 11 March. The black policemen and soldiers of the Bophuthatswana Defence Force who were out in force to support president Mangope disappeared from the streets in protest at the AWB's actions and later turned on the militiamen at the airport at Mafikeng
Mafikeng
Mahikeng – formerly legally, but still commonly known as Mafikeng – is the capital city of the North-West Province of South Africa. It is best known internationally for the Siege of Mafeking, the most famous engagement of the Second Boer War.Located on South Africa's border with Botswana, it is ...

. One AWB member was shot and killed when the convoy attempted to leave the airport and continue on to Mmabatho. When in Mmabatho, the AWB and the Afrikaner Volksfront found themselves under continuous siege from both the Bophuthatswana Defence Force and Mmabatho citizens. When attempting to retreat from Mmabatho on 11 March, three AWB members were killed by Defence Force members after they had been wounded in a firefight. Nearby photojournalists and television news crews recorded the incident, which proved to be a public relations disaster for the AWB, demoralizing its white members. The AWB claimed that they were asked into the country and only entered trying to help the Bophuthatswana government, but the Tebbutt Commission found the "evidence is overwhelming that they entered the area uninvited and that they were not welcome there". Although Eugène Terre'Blanche proclaimed the campaign a victory, it is seen as a watershed moment in the South Africa's history, as it led to the realisation by militant right-wing organisations that they could not win in an armed struggle.

Post-apartheid


On 17 June 2001 Terre'Blanche was sentenced to six years in prison
Prison
A prison is a place in which people are physically confined and, usually, deprived of a range of personal freedoms. Imprisonment or incarceration is a legal penalty that may be imposed by the state for the commission of a crime...

 for assaulting a petrol station worker, John Ndzima to such an extent as to cause permanent brain damage, and the attempted murder of a security guard and former employee, Paul Motshabi. Terre'Blanche was released in June 2004 after serving 3 years in Rooigrond Prison near Mafikeng
Mafikeng
Mahikeng – formerly legally, but still commonly known as Mafikeng – is the capital city of the North-West Province of South Africa. It is best known internationally for the Siege of Mafeking, the most famous engagement of the Second Boer War.Located on South Africa's border with Botswana, it is ...

.
During his time in prison he became a born-again Christian and claimed he had moderated many of his more racist
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

 views and preached reconciliation as 'prescribed by God'.

In April 2007, AWB posters appeared at the 13th Klein Karoo National Arts Festival
Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees
The Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees is an Afrikaans language arts festival that takes place yearly in the South African town of Oudtshoorn. The festival includes both the visual and the performing arts and is officially recognized by the South African government as a national arts festival...

 in Oudtshoorn. Several posters made reference to the Bok van Blerk
Bok van Blerk
Bok van Blerk, born Louis Pepler March 30, 1978, is a South African musician who sings in Afrikaans. He became famous in 2006 for his rendition of "De la Rey" by Sean Else and Johan Vorster.- Early life and career :...

 song 'De la Rey', an Afrikaans hit record about the Boer General as well as to South Africa's former coat of arms. Organisers were quick to remove the posters.

In March 2008, the AWB announced it was re-activating for 'populist' reasons, citing the encouragement of the public. Reasons for the return include the electricity crisis, corruption across government departments and rampant crime. Plans include a demand for land that they claim is legally theirs in terms of the Sand River Convention
Sand River Convention
The Sand River Convention was a convention whereby Great Britain formally recognised the independence of the Boers living beyond the Vaal River. In return, the Boers promised that slavery would be outlawed in the Transvaal and that they would not interfere in the Orange River Sovereignty's affairs...

 of 1852 and other historical treaties, through the International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

 in The Hague
The Hague
The Hague is the capital city of the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. With a population of 500,000 inhabitants , it is the third largest city of the Netherlands, after Amsterdam and Rotterdam...

 if necessary, and if that failed, taking up arms. In April 2008, Terre'Blanche was to be the speaker at several AWB rallies in Vryburg, Middelburg
Middelburg, Mpumalanga
Middelburg is a large farming and industrial town in the South African province of Mpumalanga.Middelburg was established as Nasareth, , in 1864 by the Voortrekkers on the banks of the Klein Olifants River. The name was changed in 1872 to Middelburg to mark its situation midway between the Transvaal...

 and Pretoria
Pretoria
Pretoria is a city located in the northern part of Gauteng Province, South Africa. It is one of the country's three capital cities, serving as the executive and de facto national capital; the others are Cape Town, the legislative capital, and Bloemfontein, the judicial capital.Pretoria is...

. Several areas in South Africa have been earmarked as part of a future Volkstaat
Volkstaat
Volkstaat is a proposal for the establishment of self determination for the Boer and Afrikaners minority in South Africa according to federal principles, alluding to full independence in the form of a homeland for Boer and Afrikaners....

 according to three critical title deeds. The areas include; Vryheid in KwaZulu-Natal
KwaZulu-Natal
KwaZulu-Natal is a province of South Africa. Prior to 1994, the territory now known as KwaZulu-Natal was made up of the province of Natal and the homeland of KwaZulu....

, the old republics of Stellaland
Stellaland
Stellaland, officially known as the Republic of Stellaland from 1882–1883 and, after unification with the neighbouring State of Goshen, as the United States of Stellaland from 1883–1885, was a Boer republic located in an area of Bechuanaland, west of the Transvaal.During its short history,...

 and Goosen in the far North-West and sections of the Free State.

Amidst a Facebook
Facebook
Facebook is a social networking service and website launched in February 2004, operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. , Facebook has more than 800 million active users. Users must register before using the site, after which they may create a personal profile, add other users as...

 race row concerning North West University students, the South African press revealed that the AWB have been using the social networking site to recruit members. The Mail and Guardian newspaper revealed that the AWB group has over 5000 members, and appeals to 18- to 35-year-olds to join the organization's youth wing. Steyn van Ronge was recently announced as the permanent leader of the organisation.

Logos


The AWB flag is composed of three black sevens (forming a triskelion
Triskelion
A triskelion or triskele is a motif consisting of three interlocked spirals, or three bent human legs, or any similar symbol with three protrusions and a threefold rotational symmetry. Both words are from Greek or , "three-legged", from prefix "τρι-" , "three times" + "σκέλος" , "leg"...

) in a white circle upon a red background. According to AWB, the sevens, 'the number of JAHWEH
Tetragrammaton
The term Tetragrammaton refers to the name of the God of Israel YHWH used in the Hebrew Bible.-Hebrew Bible:...

', 'stand to oppose the number 666, the number of the anti-Christ'. Red is considered to represent Jesus' blood, while black stands for bravery and courage. The inner white circle symbolizes the "eternal struggle", or according to other sources "eternal life". The flag bears a resemblance to the Swastika
Swastika
The swastika is an equilateral cross with its arms bent at right angles, in either right-facing form in counter clock motion or its mirrored left-facing form in clock motion. Earliest archaeological evidence of swastika-shaped ornaments dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization of Ancient...

 flag used by the Nazi Party and Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

.

The AWB also uses the "Vierkleur
Flag of Transvaal
The Flag of Transvaal was the flag of the former Transvaal province of South Africa. It was previously the flag of the historic Transvaal Republic, officially called the Zuid Afrikaanse Republiek or in English translation, the South African Republic, from 1857 to 1874, 1875-1877, and 1881-1902.The...

", the original flag of the once independent South African Republic
South African Republic
The South African Republic , often informally known as the Transvaal Republic, was an independent Boer-ruled country in Southern Africa during the second half of the 19th century. Not to be confused with the present-day Republic of South Africa, it occupied the area later known as the South African...

, and the flag of the Orange Free State
Flag of the Orange Free State
The flag of the Orange Free State was designed in 1856 and adopted officially on 23 February 1857 on the third anniversary of the republic....

.

In fiction


Several members of a fictionalized AWB are important characters in Harry Turtledove
Harry Turtledove
Harry Norman Turtledove is an American novelist, who has produced works in several genres including alternate history, historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction.- Life :...

's American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 alternate history novel The Guns of the South
The Guns of the South
The Guns of the South is an alternate history novel set during the American Civil War by Harry Turtledove.The story deals with a group of time-travelling Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging members who supply Robert E...

. The AWB also features prominently in Larry Bond
Larry Bond
Larry Bond is an American writer and wargame designer. He is the designer of the Harpoon and Command at Sea gaming systems and several supplements for the games. His numerous novels include Dangerous Ground, Day of Wrath, The Enemy Within, Cauldron, Vortex and Red Phoenix...

's novel of a Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

-era civil war/international conflict in South Africa, Vortex
Vortex (novel)
Vortex is a 1991 war novel by Larry Bond and Patrick Larkin.-Plot summary:In a tense, hypothetical 1990s apartheid South Africa, a reformist president and his cabinet are killed after their train is destroyed by a special ANC guerrilla team...

.

See also



Similar groups
  • Afrikaner Volksfront
  • Boerestaat Party
    Boerestaat Party
    The Boerstaat Party is a right wing South African political party founded on September 30, 1986 by the late Robert van Tonder. It was never official because the required 500 persons under one roof could not be rallied. It was never represented in the South African Parliament, neither in the...



Separatism
  • Orania
  • Volkstaat
    Volkstaat
    Volkstaat is a proposal for the establishment of self determination for the Boer and Afrikaners minority in South Africa according to federal principles, alluding to full independence in the form of a homeland for Boer and Afrikaners....



Documentary films
  • His Big White Self
    His Big White Self
    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 February 27, 2006.The documentary follows Broomfield as he...

  • The Leader, His Driver and the Driver's Wife
    The Leader, His Driver and the Driver's Wife
    The Leader, His Driver and the Driver's Wife is a 1991 British feature-length documentary film set during the final days of the apartheid regime in South Africa, particularly centering on Eugène Terre'Blanche, founder and leader of the far-right, white supremacist political organisation AWB. The...

  • Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends
    Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends
    Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends is a television documentary series, in which Louis Theroux gives viewers the chance to get brief glimpses into the worlds of individuals and groups that they would not normally come into contact with or experience up close...

    episode 3.3

External links