EnglishShow more Special sense of general English.
A.nounA member of an organised group of armed men, espousing conservative political views and formed with the expressed aim of disciplining ‘comrades’, working against activist groups, and controlling townships.See also A-team, comrade, fathers, ibutho sense 2, Mbokodo, rooidoek, witdoek.
1985Cape Times 3 Jan. 1A New Year raid by Ndebele vigilantes into the largely Pedi-speaking Moutse district north-east of Pretoria.
1985Saspu NationalVol.6No.2, 6Students constantly fear assassination as vigilantes..have murdered and petrol bombed many who demand a better education.
1987E. Prov. Herald 5 Sept. 1Our children are growing up frightened of the police and vigilantes who are always questioning our children about their fathers.
1987LeadershipVol.6No.3, 58Fire-bombing, shooting and necklacing by militant activists and vigilantes of their political opponents, the violence and counter-violence of the security forces.
1988Now Everyone Is Afraid (Catholic Inst. for Internat. Rel.) 67During 1987 armies of more than 1 000 vigilantes fought against ‘comrades’ in KwaNobuhle as well as Crossroads and KTC.
1989Reader’s Digest Illust. Hist. of S. Afr. 479The excesses of kangaroo courts and summary murders of people alleged to be ‘collaborators’ led to a reaction — and the emergence of the ‘vigilantes’, conservative groups who wanted a return to the old order in the townships.
1990M. KentridgeUnofficial War 9The armed Inkatha members..are known as vigilantes both by themselves and by their detractors...Vigilantes are organised, violent groups of men who espouse conservative political views and are committed to the destruction of all progressive organisations and individuals. These vigilantes act either in collusion with the police or on their own, with the police apparently turning a blind eye...In describing themselves as vigilantes, however, Inkatha members mean that they are merely sober citizens, forced, on those occasions when police protection proves inadequate, to defend themselves against attacks by radicals. Of the two definitions, the first is more widespread.
1992R. Lyster inNatal Mercury 25 Nov. 8There is a continuous, low intensity war taking place..between the Kwazulu police and Inkatha-based vigilantes on the one hand, and on the other any person or entity which represents a threat or challenge to the legitimacy of the KwaZulu government.
1987E. Prov. Herald 19 Jan. 1Two people died in an outbreak of vigilante violence in Port Elizabeth African townships at the weekend. Township sources reported a witch-hunt of supporters of the United Democratic Front.
1987New Nation 12 Feb. 1Attacks by vigilante groups on anti-apartheid activists — often described in the pro-government media as ‘black-on-black violence’ — have increased dramatically since the declaration of the state of emergency.
1987New Nation 9 Apr. 2It appeared police were not prepared to check vigilante activities in the township.
1990M. KentridgeUnofficial War 9Vigilante leaders are drawn from a variety of sources: Inkatha members with a particular penchant and talent for combat;..chiefs of rural areas and their indunas, or headmen.
A member of an organised group of armed men, espousing conservative political views and formed with the expressed aim of disciplining ‘comrades’, working against activist groups, and controlling townships.
Of or pertaining to such a group.
Hence vigilantismnoun, also vigilanteeism, the attitudes and actions of vigilantes.
1987Weekly Mail 7 Aug. 11Township vigilantism and tough action against rent boycotters or squatters.
1990New African 25 June 10 (letter)It is common knowledge that vigilanteeism has always been backed by the apartheid regime as it..adds another brutal form of their defence strategies or assault tactics in a bid to crush the might of the progressive forces.
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