NORMALLY a sleepy little dorp at the best of times, Ventersdorp is typical of many platteland towns.
The corrugated iron-roofed homes owned by whites are close to the centre of town and as usual the location, this time Tshing, is situated a distance away.
But it was the Ventersdorp magistrate's court that was the focus of attention yesterday.
It was turned into a fortress for the appearance of a 15-year-old youth and a 28-year-old man in connection with the murder of AWB leader Eugène Terre'Blanche.
From 6am the crowds began to gather.
To one side bakkie-loads of whites arrived dressed in their traditional garb of khaki, flags waving proudly.
To the other blacks arrived on foot and by taxi ... all hoping to get a glimpse of the accused.
To some of those gathered the accused are heroes ... to others cold-blooded killers ... some are just indifferent.
Media from around the world were in attendance ... CNN from the US, Al Jazerra from the Middle East, Sky News from the UK. Radio stations from Canada, France and Germany also had their teams covering proceedings.
On the ground well over 100 police - including the dog unit, explosives and riot squads - had little to do but were prepared nonetheless.
And then the spark that just about started a riot was lit. After both groups were addressed by court representatives that the case would be held in-camera due to the age of the one accused, the crowd was urged to disperse.
The whites broke out into a rendition of Die Stem ... the blacks responded with Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrica.
Things were still peaceful, when in an inexcusable moment of madness a white woman sprayed a cold drink in the direction of the black singers.
Ugly insults from both groups flew back and forth and for a moment it seemed things might spiral out of control.
To their credit the police stepped in quickly, but in those few moments the naked hatred and racism of AWB members was exposed.