- Afrikaners are descendants of Dutch, German and French settlers who arrived in the 17th Century
- The Dutch, who arrived in 1652, took over land from local people and put them to work as farm workers
- Afrikaners dominated South Africa for many decades and introduced the apartheid system which was based on racial segregation
- Orania was established in 1991, by Afrikaner intellectual Carel Boshoff Snr
- The town is built on 8,000 hectares of farmland along the Orange River
“It takes some adjusting to. It is more difficult for some people because they are used to how things were done in South Africa, they are not used to manual labour,” says Mr Strydom.[caption id="attachment_12722" align="alignleft" width="624"] A white man labouring in Orania, South Africa
All jobs are done by white people in Orania – no outside workers are brought in[/caption] The locals explain that one of the goals in Orania is to help create a generation of pure Afrikaners untouched by the “outside world”. Bizarrely, the town’s existence is protected by South Africa’s constitution through a clause that ensures the right to self-determination – introduced to reassure those worried about the transition to democracy. With its old Cape-Dutch styled houses it is like stepping back in time, but some families fear this place could eventually be too small for their children. ‘Respect’ George van Staden moved from Johannesburg recently after he was offered a job in Orania. Mr Van Staden says his two children are enjoying life in the countryside but he and his wife are preparing them for a world where there is not just one race or culture. “There is no tertiary institution here for example. They need to be equipped to handle the outside world,” says Mr Van Staden. [caption id="attachment_12723" align="alignleft" width="624"] Orania has its own currency pegged to the South African rand[/caption] “I teach them that there is no difference in skin colour. I teach them if they respect the people in Orania they must also respect the people outside Orania,” his wife Tisha adds. Another couple, Theunie and Annelize Kruger, say they are still adjusting to Orania’s rules, which include getting permission from the town council before receiving visitors. “We understand it but it’s a bit frustrating at times,” Mr Kruger says. ‘Defend with our lives’ At the local bar, framed newspaper articles hang on the wall and Afrikaner memorabilia adorns the place. The owner, Quintin Diedericks, is well-travelled but became disillusioned with South Africa and moved to Orania with his wife, a beauty therapist, about four years ago. “It’s very safe here. We sleep with the doors unlocked. You can walk in the street at 3am without any fear. You don’t have that where you live,” he tells me. He blames FW de Klerk, the last Afrikaner to rule South Africa, for the plight of his people.
“He gave away the country for nothing. We had the army,” he says and stops abruptly, beginning to shake his head.Inside the dimly-lit pub, a game of rugby is on the TV, apart from a few odd glances, no-one seems to pay much attention to Stanley or me. A few more locals do come over to our table and conversation is polite and largely politically correct, much like in the rest of South Africa. The pernicious issue of jobs and pro-black policies rears its head. One local explains it as “reverse racism”. “We can’t get jobs. It’s like we are being punished for the past,” he says. [caption id="attachment_12724" align="alignleft" width="624"] After four months in Orania, George and Tisha van Staden say they are still adjusting to the new “rules”[/caption] They seem oblivious to the oppression of black South Africans during apartheid. For them it was a system that gave order. “It [apartheid] didn’t affect me. So many people get aggravated now for things they didn’t even witness. It’s over, move on,” says Yolandie Jonk, 29, a call centre agent. As the sun sets, the bronze busts of Afrikaner leaders spanning over many decades – Paul Kruger, JBM Hertzog, DF Malan, JG Strijdom and, of course, Mr Verwoerd – look protectively over the town. Held in disdain elsewhere, they are Orania’s heroes – yet it is difficult to see how the community will be able to remain so completely isolated in such an inter-connected world. But as one pub drinker put it – being an Afrikaner in Orania is “something we will defend with our lives if we need to”. *Source BBC]]>