The town of Orania, situated in the Karoo region of the Northern Cape province, was established in an attempt to preserve the Afrikaner culture within South Africa. It was founded in 1991 and started off with only 13 residents. This number has expanded to accommodate nearly 2000 people.
Orania is a self-sufficient town which has shops, hair salons, a library, a post office, a hotel, some schools and many churches. They also have their own currency called the Ora. Residents who apply to live here are throughly screened by the town council using strict criteria, which includes first and foremost being an ethnic Afrikaner.
Gauteng MEC for Education, and Harry Gwala Foundation Board Chairman, Panyaza Lesufi is calling for Orania to fall. It is the country’s only whites-only town, and allows a space for those who do not support or wish to conform to South Africa’s ‘rainbow nation’ ideology to flourish.
“We understand why that institution was established. It has lived its time now. It’s now that that place must be liberated and all South Africans must be allowed to stay wherever they want to stay. We don’t say we want to stay with them but you can’t have an institution that is established on the basis of language or on the basis of a colour of a skin,” Lesufi said.
He said this at a ceremony honouring Harry Gwala on Monday, June 22 who was a well-known anti-Apartheid activist, and former leader in the African National Congress (ANC) and South African Communist Party (SACP).
The Foundation is also calling for Gwala’s grave to be turned into a National Heritage Site.
As reported by Briefly, the residents of Orania claim that the South African Constitution makes provision for the town to exist on the basis of the right to self-determination.
In response, Orania posted an Afrikaans poem about their roots and heart belonging on that land, on their Facebook page.
Some comments included:
“Once the white is successful they just want to stand bakhand to steal or receive without working. They probably want to burn the schools in Orania too! What ever did they stand? SA’s infrastructure is basic to nothing. State Hospitals, WILL, Eskom state institutions bankrupt stolen!”
“What are your plans to protect Orania that they want to take away.”
“Wish I could afford this then I’ve been in Orania for a long time.”