DONKERHOEK, South Africa — As security chief of this nation's first renegade radio station, Pieter le Roux is clearly proud of his handiwork.
Atop a treeless hill, past the roadblocks and armed guards, is a newly dug moat. Razor wire bristles on a fence, and gun ports dot a concrete wall beside the gate. Inside are two lines of trenches topped with sandbags. Then chest-high barricades of sandbags, and a wall of tires filled with dirt, protect the broadcast tower and tiny studio.
But the rebel redoubt isn't quite complete. Squinting in the bright sun, Le Roux points at five armor-plated structures in a nearby field. "We've got gun towers that will be mounted in each corner," he says.
A khaki-clad guard with a pistol on his hip scurries up, salutes and asks if another journalist can pass the gate. "Never heard of him," Le Roux says. "Send him back or shoot him."
He continues: "If the government attacks this station, they will have war, and war with a capital 'W.' We will fight on an economic front; we will fight on the labor front; we will fight on the military front. And remember: Our guys don't fight for a salary or for a government. They fight for their very survival."
Welcome to Radio Pretoria, the voice and the symbol of right-wing white opposition to black majority government. Spoiling for a fight and beating a daily tattoo of martial music and pro-apartheid propaganda, the 4-month-old unlicensed FM station has become the rallying point--if not the last stand--for the dwindling number of white South Africans determined to cling to racist rule.
Tapping a longing for the past and a fear of the future, the pirate broadcasters--plus three new copycat stations--blare a shrill message of white supremacy and resistance to democratic change just as apartheid prepares to join Nazism, communism and other discredited one-party states in the junkyard of history.
The threats of violence, and the station's refusal to obey court orders and government decrees to shut down, have sorely tested President Frederik W. de Klerk's government at a time when South Africa is striving to put its racist past behind it.
The government controls broadcasting until a new, independent commission regulates the nation's airwaves, after democratic elections April 27-29.
"Radio Pretoria expects one set of rules to apply to it and another set of rules to the other estimated 200 aspirant radio stations" that have applied for licenses, Home Affairs Minister Danie Schutte told reporters. "This is not acceptable."
Short of armed assault, however, no one has figured out how to silence the pirate station. And that's just fine with the conservative farmers, housewives and commandos who see it as the next best thing to apartheid.
"What we think is happening here is suddenly there's hope," said the ever-cheerful chief announcer Anieta Armand, the "Voice of the Volk." "We were feeling pushed out and neglected. And then came Radio Pretoria and our people had hope again."
Her people are Afrikaners, the 3 million descendants of early Dutch, German and French settlers. They are more than half of the whites here, who make up 14% of South Africa's 40 million people.
Infused with a strict Calvinist faith, the Afrikaners are united by a harsh history and a bitter sense of persecution: beaten by British colonialists, despised by the modern world for the enforced racial segregation and exploitation of apartheid and, in their view, betrayed by white reformers like De Klerk.
But while the legal structure of apartheid has been steadily dismantled since 1990, many Boers, as the Afrikaners are also called, now see an even more insidious chipping away of their culture, language and myths.
Take Afrikaans, their Dutch-derived language. It became an official state language, along with English, in 1925. Hated by blacks as the voice of oppression, however, Afrikaans will be one of 11 official tongues in the new South Africa. Its use will almost certainly decline.
Afrikaners already see their language being eclipsed. The local Coca-Cola franchise and SA Breweries, the monopoly beer brewer, announced that they would stop printing Afrikaans on their cans. The national railway has dropped Afrikaans from its tickets. The national anthem, "Die Stem," is sure to be replaced. Schools, television shows and businesses are using less Afrikaans. Even the new constitution was printed only in English until right-wingers complained.
"Afrikaans is going to be a little kitchen dialect within 20 years," Johan Combrink, a professor of Afrikaans at Stellenbosch University, griped in the Cape Town daily Die Burger.
Then came the announcement last November that women and nonwhites will be eligible to join the Afrikaner Broederbond, an exclusive secret society whose members are required to swear fealty to white rule and the "eternal existence of a separate Afrikaner nation."