Orania, Northern Cape
A view of the town of Orania
|District||Pixley ka Seme|
|• Chairman/mayor||Carel IV Boshoff|
|• Total||8.95 km2 (3.46 sq mi)|
|• Density||100/km2 (260/sq mi)|
|Racial makeup (2011)|
|• Black African||0.9%|
|First languages (2011)|
|Postal code (street)||8752|
The aim of the town is to create a stronghold for Afrikaans and the Afrikaner identity by keeping their language and culture alive. Anyone who defines themselves as an Afrikaner and identifies with Afrikaner ethnicity is welcome in Orania. In 2004 Orania introduced its own currency, the Ora. Seventy businesses are located in Orania.
- 1 Purpose
- 2 History
- 3 Geography and climate
- 4 Demographics
- 5 Subdivisions and architecture
- 6 Politics
- 7 Administration and services
- 8 Economy and agriculture
- 9 Culture
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 External links
According to its founders, the purpose of Orania is to create a town where the preservation of Afrikanerdom's cultural heritage is strictly observed and Afrikaner selfwerksaamheid ("self reliance") is an actual practice, not just an idea. All jobs, from management to manual labour, are filled by Afrikaners only; non-Afrikaner workers are not permitted unless they have skills no resident has. "We do not want to be governed by people who are not Afrikaners", said Potgieter, the previous chairman. "Our culture is being oppressed and our children are being brainwashed to speak English".
The town's ultimate objective is to create an Afrikaner majority in the northwestern Cape, by encouraging the construction of other such towns, with the eventual goal of an Afrikaner majority in the area and an independent Afrikaner state between Orania and the west coast, also known as a volkstaat.
Carel Boshoff, the founding father of Orania, had originally envisaged a population of 60,000 after 15 years. While Boshoff conceded that most Afrikaners might decide not to move to the volkstaat, he thought that it is nevertheless essential Afrikaners have this option, since this will make them feel more secure, thereby reducing tensions in the rest of South Africa. In this regard he considered it as being analogous with Israel, which serves as a refuge for Jews from all over the world.
Orania has its origins in the late 1980s, when Carel Boshoff, a right-wing academic, founded the Afrikaner-Vryheidstigting (Afrikaner Freedom Foundation) or Avstig. At the time, mainstream right-wingers supported the bantustan policy, which allocated 13% of South Africa’s land area for black South Africans, while leaving the remaining 87% to whites. The founding principles of the Avstig were based on the belief that since black majority rule was unavoidable and white minority rule morally unjustifiable, Afrikaners would have to form their own nation, or volkstaat, in a smaller part of South Africa. Orania was intended to be the basis of the volkstaat, which would come into existence once a large number of Afrikaners moved to Orania and other such ‘growth points’.
Boshoff's plans excluded the area of traditional Boer republics in the Transvaal and the Free State, which encompass the economic heartland of South Africa and much of its natural resources, instead focussing on an economically underdeveloped and semi-desert area in the north-western Cape. Even proponents of the idea conceded that this model would demand significant economic sacrifices from Afrikaners who moved to the volkstaat. The model is based on the principle of ‘own labour’, requiring that all work in the volkstaat is performed by its citizens, including ploughing fields, collecting garbage and tending to gardens, which is traditionally performed by blacks in the rest of South Africa.
Orania had been established in 1963 by the Department of Water Affairs, to house the workers who were building the Vanderkloof Dam. After the dam was completed most of the workers moved away, and the town fell into disrepair. The department completely abandoned Orania in 1981. In December 1990, about 40 Afrikaner families, headed by Carel Boshoff, the son-in-law of former South African Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd, bought the dilapidated town for around US$ 200,000. The first 13 inhabitants moved in April 1991.
In a conciliatory gesture, then-President Nelson Mandela, visited the town in 1995 to have tea with Betsie Verwoerd, widow of Hendrik Verwoerd. Orania reached 200 permanent inhabitants in 1996, while the 2001 Census found 519 residents. By 1998 R15 million had been invested in the town, for expenses including the upgrading of water and electricity supply, roads and businesses. By 2003, Orania had grown to about 750 residents, and local amenities included a holiday resort on the Orange River, a home for senior citizens, two schools, a private hospital and a growing agricultural sector.
In November 2005, around 60 Cape Coloured families lodged a land claim with the government, for around 483 hectares (1,190 acres) of land within the town. These families claimed to have lived in the town from 1965, when it was first constructed, up until 1990, when it was sold by the government. The claimants hold that they were forced to leave in 1991, when the town was converted into Orania, and that this constitutes a forced removal in terms of race. The community of Orania opposed the claim. The land claim was settled in December 2006 when the South African government agreed to pay the claimants R2.9 million in compensation.
Geography and climate
|Average high °C (°F)||34.3
|Average low °C (°F)||17.9
|Rainfall mm (inches)||65
As of 2011[update], Orania is home to about 900 inhabitants, with male residents outnumbering females 60% to 40%. Children made up a quarter of the population in 2007. According to town authorities, the population had reached 1,100 by October 2013. The population has grown by 10% annually over the three years to 2015.
Orania is a deeply religious community, with the Dutch Reformed Church being the most popular denomination. Other churches include Apostoliese Geloofsending, Afrikaanse Protestantse Kerk, Evangelies-Gereformeerde Kerk, Gereformeerde Kerk, Hervormde Kerk, Israel Visie and Maranata Kerk.
The origin of Orania residents from various parts of South Africa means that newcomers brought a relatively large variety of denominations to their new town. On important holidays such as the Day of the Vow interdenominational services are held, with members of all denominations attending the event together.
In Orania people from all levels of society perform their own manual labour. Local Afrikaners also work in unskilled positions such as gardening and waste collection. Rapid growth over the four years to 2014 led to the construction of new commercial developments and a rising number of young adult immigrants, but also caused an increase in class differences between residents.
Only Afrikaans is spoken in the town.
Subdivisions and architecture
Orania has three residential areas Kleingeluk ("small happiness"), Grootdorp ("big town") and Orania Wes ("Orania West"). Kleingeluk is a separate district about 1.5km away from Grootdorp, and is poorer than the main town, although progress has been made in narrowing the gap in living conditions.
Many houses in Orania are built in the Cape Dutch architectural style. Most of the original buildings from the water department era are prefabricated, and while some have been renovated others show sign of deterioration, as they weren't designed to last for more than 20 years.
The Dorpsraad (town council) is the main political institution in Orania, and is responsible for running the daily affairs. It is elected annually, and consists of five members and a chairman (the mayor). Political parties are not allowed in Orania's local elections. The Orania Beweging (Orania Movement) is a separate political and cultural organisation that promotes Afrikaner history and culture. The Orania Movement has around 10,000 registered supporters from outside town.
Perspective residents are required to go through an interview process with a committee, which may deny access to people based on criteria such as criminal records. Being an Afrikaner is the most important criterion for admission. Once permission is granted, the new residents become shareholders in the town. Some people who try to live in Orania ultimately leave due to the limited choice of available jobs or the requirement to conform to local social norms.
The town's existence is allowed by the Constitution of South Africa under a clause that allows for the right to self-determination. The town has neither a police force nor a prison. Traffic monitoring and minor crimes such as petty theft are handled internally. Neighbourhood watch patrols are carried out by volunteers. Residents are encouraged to use mediation and arbitration procedures made available by the town council, rather than resorting to South African courts.
On Thursday 5 June 1998, Mr. Valli Moosa (then Minister of Constitutional Development in the ANC government) stated in a parliamentary budget debate that, "The ideal of some Afrikaners to develop the North Western Cape as a home for the Afrikaner culture and language within the framework of the Constitution and the Charter of Human Rights is viewed by the government as a legitimate ideal."
In June 2007, the Afrikaner enclave was visited by the Coloured community of Eersterust, outside Pretoria. The groups met to discuss community development and discussed methods of self-governance. According to visitors the reception was good, and they had "definitely learned from the experience" and experienced no racial tension. The community of Orania gave a donation to the community of Eersterust in support of their nursery school.
On 4 July 2007 the town of Orania and the Northern Cape government agreed that the question of Orania's self-government should be discussed at all government levels.
In 2009, an African National Congress Youth League delegation visited the town. The leader Julius Malema praised the co-operation between residents: "they co-operate instead of working against each other".
Debate surrounding a volkstaat returned to the mainstream media following the murder of AWB leader Eugene Terre'Blanche in April 2010. Boshoff claimed a symbolism of the murder for farm murders that he described as "nothing other than a state of war". Yet, he rejected an invitation to Terre'Blanche's funeral, "I'm not enamoured of him. He chose a path of confrontation, of conflict. We wanted another way."
On 14 September 2010 President Jacob Zuma visited Orania. He met with Orania founder Professor Carel Boshoff and his son, Orania mayor Carel Boshoff IV and other community leaders. After the meeting Zuma visited housing projects and several agricultural sites in Orania.
Orania and the Xhosa community of Mnyameni signed a cooperation agreement on 11 December 2012. The objective of the agreement is to assist in the development of own institutions and the transfer of knowledge between the communities in order to reduce their dependency on government initiatives for development.
Since 1994, citizens of Orania have voted all five times in the national elections. Over the last three elections, Orania had an average vote turnout of 65%, based on registered voters. In the South African general election, 2009, the community decisively voted for the Freedom Front Plus party. The four votes recorded for the Economic Freedom Fighters party in the 2014 election elicited a number of comments from South African media.
|Party||Votes (2004)||% (2004)||Votes (2009)||% (2009)||Votes (2014)||% (2014)|
|Freedom Front Plus||158||84.95%||242||86.73%||224||76,89%|
|African Christian Democratic Party||3||1.61%||3||1.07%||7||2,41%|
|African National Congress||3||1.61%||3||1.07%||5||1,72%|
|Congress of the People[a]||-||-||3||1.07%||1||0,34%|
|New National Party [d]||1||0.54%||-||-||-||-|
|Economic Freedom Fighters [e]||-||-||-||-||4||1,37%|
- Party did not contest in elections before 2009.
- Party only contest in the 2004 elections and then submerged into the Freedom Front, making it the Freedom Front Plus
- Merged into the Democratic Alliance in 2012.
- Merged into the African National Congress in 2005.
- Party did not contest in elections before 2014.
Administration and services
The town is privately owned by the Vluytjeskraal Aandeleblok company. The farm on which Orania was founded, is called "Vluytjekraal". Along the Orange river grows a fine reed, called "fluitjiesriet" or in old Dutch spelling "Vluytjesriet," meaning whistle reed. A kraal is an Afrikaans loanword borrowed from Portuguese curral, for cattle enclosure. As wood for poles is scarce, these reeds were traditionally used for building cattle enclosures, until stone structures could be erected. Aandeleblok ("share block") refers to the company structure that allows people to buy shares and thereby obtain the right to stay on and work a piece of ground within the property of the company. The shareholders thus own the company, which in turn owns the property. Ownership of plots and houses is in the form of shares in the company. No title deeds are provided, except for agricultural land.
Orania receives no fiscal contributions from either state or provincial government. Vluytjeskraal functions like a municipal administration, being funded by rates and delivering services like water, electricity and waste management. The Helpsaam Fund, a non-profit institution, raises money for projects like subsidised housing for newcomers in need. Orania has a small clinic, and a government-funded nurse visits twice a month.
The Elim Centre accommodates unemployed young men who come to Orania seeking employment. They are usually given work with the municipality or local farms, and provided with training. Nerina, the equivalent residential complex for women, was completely in July 2012.
The people of Orania believe in protecting the environment.
- The town recycles the garbage of its residents. Residents sort their own garbage and place it into five different trash cans.
- All new houses must have solar-geysers for hot water.
- Various people in the town are looking at ways to switch over to green electricity.
- In the town there are a number of different ecological buildings, for example a straw bale house with a living roof.
- An earthship (aardskip) is currently being built in Orania. Progress of the earthship construction can be seen at the Project Aardskip blog.
Bicycle sharing system
In 2014 Orania opened its bicycle sharing system, called the Orania Openbare Fietsprojek (Orania Public Bicycle Project). 30 Bicycles are divided over 3 stations in different parts of the village. One station is near the information office of the Orania Movement in the western part of Orania, while another station is located in the Aan-Die-Oewer holiday resort. A third station is located near Die Kuierstoep shopping centre in the Kleingeluk neighbourhood. The use of these bikes within Orania is free for everyone.
Economy and agriculture
Farming is an important part of Orania's economy, the most recent project being a massive pecan nut plantation, one of the largest in South Africa. Since purchasing the 430 hectares (1,100 acres) town, the community has added 7,000 hectares (17,000 acres) of agricultural land to the town. Seventy businesses are located in Orania. Economic services provided in the town include a call centre, stockbroking and architecture. The average wage in Orania was estimated at approximately R4,000 per month in 2007, low by white South African standards.
A R9 million dairy farm, the Bo-Karoo Suiwel, operated in Orania from 1998 to 2002. Though deemed one of the most modern dairies in South Africa at the time, the increased cost of imported machinery caused by a decline in value of the rand combined to a rise in the price of corn used to feed cattle led to its liquidation.
During April 2004, Orania launched its own monetary system, called the Ora, based on the idea of discount shopping vouchers. The Orania local banking institution, the Orania Spaar- en Kredietkoöperatief ("Orania Savings and Credit Co-operative") is in charge of this initiative. Orania launched its own chequebook in 2007.
Orania's tourism industry is showing rapid development with the completion of a luxury river spa and boutique hotel complex in 2009. Orania Toere (Orania Tours), Orania's first registered tour operator, was also launched in 2009. In 2010 thirteen independent hospitality businesses operate in Orania. This includes a caravan park, self-catering flats, rooms, hotel and guest-houses. The town is said to be popular among black tourists.
The flag comprises a small boy, pulling up his sleeves, and a blue and orange background, traditional Afrikaner colours. The Koeksistermonument, erected in 2003, celebrates the koeksister and is one of the town's tourist attractions. A collection of busts of Afrikaner leaders, sourced from institutions that no longer wanted them after the end of apartheid, sits on a 'monument hill' outside town. There is also a Verwoerd museum, in which items and photos of Hendrik Verwoerd are on display.
The town also houses the Irish Volunteer Monument, dedicated to the Irish soldiers who fought on the Boer side during the Boer War (see Boer foreign volunteers). The monument was designed by Jan van Wijk, who also created the Afrikaans Language Monument in Paarl. It was moved from Brixton, Gauteng in 2002 by a group of Afrikaners concerned by its imminent demolition.
Younger residents occasionally complain of a lack of recreational activities, a concern common to many small communities. Quad racing is a popular pastime, but frowned upon by town authorities for safety reasons.
There are two schools, the CVO Skool Orania (where CVO stands for Christelike Volks-Onderwys or Christian People's-Education) and Die Volkskool Orania (Orania People's School). Although the official curriculum is followed, special emphasis is placed on Afrikaner history and Christian religion, though with some differences in their teaching methods.
- The CVO-school is run along conventional lines.
- The Volkskool use a self-driven teaching (selfgedrewe) system which is unorthodox by South African standards.
There is a rivalry between the schools, which is generally friendly but can occasionally become quite fierce. Not all local children attend them, as some parents choose homeschooling or boarding schools in cities like Bloemfontein.
In 2005, after complaints by citizens, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa shut down Orania's unlicensed Radio Club 100 radio station, on grounds of its alleged racism. The station's equipment was seized. No criminal charges were laid against the operators of the radio station, who claim that the radio station broadcast harmless news about birthdays and social events. Management of the radio station claimed that they repeatedly applied for a radio licence in order to be a community broadcaster like other radio stations in the country.
In January 2010, Afrikaans daily newspaper Beeld published an article by Frans de Klerk, chief executive of Orania, in which he sets out what he views as the successes of Orania. De Klerk also distanced the town from racist organizations using Orania to further their own causes. Shortly after, Die Burger, another Afrikaans daily newspaper and sister publication of Beeld, published an article by author and journalist Marida Fitzpatrick, describing her experiences when visiting Orania. Fitzpatrick praised the town for its safety and environmentally friendly approaches to living, but also wrote that overt racist ideas and ideology still underpinned the views of many residents.
A list of cultural holidays in Orania:
- Afrikaner nationalism
- Ethnic autonomous regions
- Intentional community
- Balmoral, Mpumalanga
- "Main Place Orania". Census 2011.
- Pumza Fihlani (6 October 2014). "Inside South Africa's whites-only town of Orania". BBC News. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
- "DVD". Orania. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
- "Insight into Orania". 2010sdafrika.wordpress.com. 2012-03-21. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
- Haleniuk, Aleksander. "Orania – the embryo of a new Volkstaat?". Academia.edu. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
- "10 years on, Orania fades away". News24.com. 22 April 2004.
- "Orania - Home of the Afrikaner". Lief-orania.co.za. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
- "Orania, white and blue". Mail & Guardian. 1 November 2005. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- Martin Schonteich; Henri Boshoff (2003). "`Volk` Faith and Fatherland. The Security Threat Posed by the White Right". Institute for Security Studies. pp. 43–45. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "A people clutching at straws". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- "Impact on Cultural Heritage Resources". Eskom Holdings Limited. August 2006. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "Orania and the third reinvention of the Afrikaner - Carel Boshoff". Politicsweb. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- Daley, Suzanne (23 March 1999). "Beloved Country Repays Mandela in Kind". New York Times. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
- "Orania, Main Place 31202 from Census 2001". Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- "Millions of rands already invested in Orania". Orania.co.za. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- Groenewald, Y (18 November 2005). "Coloureds Claim the Volkstaat". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 2006-06-25.
- SAPA (5 December 2006). "Orania Pleased at Land Claim". News24. Retrieved 2010-04-04.
- "Brixton to Orania: The great trek of the Irish Volunteer Monument". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- "“Place of our own”: The Anthropology of Space and Place In the Afrikaner Volkstaat of Orania". UNISA. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- "Where even street sweepers are white". IOL News. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- "Afrikaners Attend Church Service In Orania South Africa". Getty Images. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- "Orania: Afrikaner dream gives capitalism a human face". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- Orania Inligtingspamflet, 2010
- "Orania: South Africa’s last apartheid town". News.com.au. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- "VF se strewe legitiem, sê Moosa" [Freedom Front endeavour legitimate, says Moosa] (in Afrikaans). Beeld. 5 June 1998.
- "Orania community lauded". News24.com. 11 June 2007.
- "Orania, N Cape agree on way forward". IOL News. 2 July 2007.
- "Malema surprised by Orania". News24. 28 March 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "Orania building a different future". Sunday Times. 10 April 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Jacob Zuma visited Orania News 24. 14 September 2010
- Orania signs agreement with Mnyameni Mail & Guardian. 11 December 2012
- Boshoff, Carel (2 January 2013). "Maak soos vriende". Beeld. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
- "Orania votes for FF+". IOL News. 23 April 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "‘No problem with EFF votes in Orania’". IOL News. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- "2004 National Results". News24. Retrieved 2014-05-03.
- "Orania votes for FF+". Iol.co.za. 2009-04-23. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
- "2014 National Results". News24. Retrieved 2014-05-08.
- "kraal". Thefreedictionary.com. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
- "Zuma's visit 'an outstanding day' for Orania". Mail & Guardian. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- "Project Aardskip". Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- "Aardskip - Earthship". Retrieved 14 May 2013.
- Orania Openbare Fietsprojek (Orania Public Bicycle Project). Stokkiesdraai Avontuurpark en Winkelsentrum. 16 July 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2014
- William Dicey (1 September 2007). Borderline. Kwela Books. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-7957-0189-4.
- "Zuma likely to visit Orania". IOL News. 29 March 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "Melkery in Orania lewer melk vir kaas". Beeld. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- "Orania-melkery se geldspeen droog op". Rapport. 24 February 2002. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
- "'Whites-only' money for SA town". BBC News. 29 April 2004.
- "Orania launches own cheque book". iAfrica. 22 February 2007.
- "Orania Oewerhotel en Spa". Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Flitslig, Mei 2010 and Voorgrond, 2010
- "20 years of democracy in Orania: The past might have a future". Times LIVE. Retrieved 31 March 2015.
- "Skole". Orania. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
- "Orania CVO-skool". Oraniacvo.co.za. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
- Red Apple Media. "Afstandleer Plus". Afstandsleer.co.za. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
- "The journey to hell and back". IOL Travel Western Cape. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
- "Orania radio station kicked off the air". IOL News. 9 November 2005. Retrieved 2006-06-25.
- SABC (13 April 2008). "Radio Orania on-air again". Sabcnews.co.za. Retrieved 2013-12-12.
- [dead link]
- Fitzpatrick, Marida (30 January 2010). "Ook net mens". Die Burger (in Afrikaans). Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "Orania". Raindance Film Festival 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- "Voorgrond" (in Afrikaans). Orania Beweging. February 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
- Official website of Orania (in Afrikaans)
- Orania Toerisme (Tourism)
- Official promotional video created by the Orania Movement
- Lief Orania, Orania's online community and business portal
- Issues of Voorgrond, the town's newsletter