Nightly News   |  December 13, 2013

With apartheid gone, South Africa now struggles with poverty

Julius Malema, who is running for president in South Africa, is promising to redistribute land ownership currently dominated by white South Africans. Now, some white extremists are preparing for a race war. NBC’s Richard Engel reports.

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>>> in south africa , thousands lined up to sue the casket of nelson mandela . more than 100,000 have done so over the past three days. some broke through barriers in the rush to pay respects. on this final day of official mourning. mandela will be buried sunday in his boyhood village. as he's laid the to rest his dream of a rainbow nation may be at risk as the gap grows in south africa between rich and poor, black and white . our report tonight from nbc's richard engel in south africa .

>> reporter: johannesburg can seem like a prison. the rich, barricaded behind high walls and electric fences . the poor, trapped in a life of squalor. when julius was a teenager he was in the crowd cheering for nelson mandela . now he's running for president as champion of the have nots. his plan is a radical redistribution. white south africans , just 10% of the population, own most of the land. what do you think should happen to the land of white farmers?

>> we must share it.

>> reporter: what does that mean?

>> they must give a portion of their land to the black people .

>> reporter: when mandela was your age, he was quite hard line. then he moderated. do you think you are going to moderate?

>> there is no rating.

>> reporter: apartheid is long gone. the problem is poverty. the message is popular and that has white south africans worried about their future in this country. on a farm we met nico and his family. white-owned farms like his are attacked frequently. the attackers, he says, are well organized and black.

>> the killings, the brutal slaughter of innocent people on the farms. nobody is doing anything about it.

>> reporter: many white farmers believe the attacks are designed to drive them off their land. he thinks malema encourages it.

>> if you are going to push us in a corner and try land grabbing, we will react.

>> reporter: fight back?

>> we will fight back. we will take our land back.

>> reporter: some white extremists, as seen in this documentary, are even preparing for a race war . enlisting their children in commando camps. [ speaking in a foreign language ]

>> reporter: i'm preparing for a war that's coming, he says, learning self-defense and hate from apartheid-era military officers.

>> millions of blacks around you, smothering you, killing you. so you have to implement certain systems to survive.

>> reporter: mandela spoke of a rainbow nation . with him gone, that dream is at risk. richard engel , nbc news, johannesburg.