Volkstaat

Volkstaat (Afrikaans for "People's state") is a proposal for the establishment of a homeland for Afrikaners. Outside a possible use of force, the South African Constitution and International Legislation present certain possibilities for the establishment of such a state. The South African regime declared that they would not support a Volkstaat, but "would do everything they could to ensure the protection of the Afrikaner language and culture". What a fine job they are doing.

Monday, November 06, 2006

South African white separatist finds his inspiration in Quebec

A report in the Canadian newspaper Bational Post of 20 May 1999 on a visit by general Constand Viljoen to the province of Quebec.

A controversial South African politician who dreams of an independent white homeland says he drew on Quebec as his inspiration.

"As a Canadian, you must understand self-determination," Constand Viljoen, a 66-year-old former army chief, told the National Post after a lunch with foreign correspondents yesterday.

Ever since apartheid ended in 1994, Mr. Viljoen's Freedom Front party has been demanding a "volkstaat" where white Afrikaners can live in isolated peace -- their language and culture safely protected from black domination.

"Quebec is one of the examples in the world that inspired me . . . Quebec has regional autonomy through its provincial powers. French people have the right to govern their schools, to have language laws, cultural policies."

In the short term, says Mr. Viljoen, the Quebec model is exactly what his supporters want. He suggests that Afrikaners should be permitted to establish mini-provinces -- or Swiss-style cantons -- in areas where they already live in large concentrations, such as the administrative capital of Pretoria.

Then, for starters, they could run their own security force and their own schools.

But it is his long-term quest that leaves many cold. Mr. Viljoen wants to pack one million Afrikaners into the arid Northern Cape province. His people, all of them of natural "pioneering stock," will develop the desolate area into a hub of high-tech industry. It has to be something high-tech, he stresses, so there will be little requirement for labour.

"There would be a tendency to make use of other, non-Afrikaner people for labour." Black people, that is. "And then we would be overrun in our own country again."

Mr. Viljoen was part of a South African delegation that visited Toronto in 1995 for a conference on constitutional development. He made a study of Quebec so he could use the province as an example while fighting for his own volkstaat during South Africa's constitutional talks.

"We are a people, a volk. We want a complete say on our own affairs . . . The Quebec people want the same. We are not out of step with the rest of the world."

Mr. Viljoen had foreign correspondents furrowing their brows as he claimed Afrikaners have been put into "bondage" by the African National Congress and that the ANC had planted black activists into a rural Afrikaner school to provoke race riots. That his supporters may one day be forced to take up arms. That, if the international community didn't help Afrikaners get independence, it may find itself entangled in an ethnic war like the one in Kosovo.

"There is impatience," he said. "If that [violence] is the only way out, then what can one do?"

Mr. Viljoen is not someone to be taken lightly. He is credited with averting bloodshed in the late stages of white rule.

Desperate to destroy negotiations between the ANC and F.W. de Klerk, the president, some 50,000 whites gathered at a Pretoria stadium to call for violent opposition. Mr. Viljoen helped avert a crisis by distancing himself from more radical white activists. Later, he formed his more moderate Freedom Front to pursue the idea of a volkstaat.

The party captured 2.1% of the popular vote, and 37.5% of the Afrikaner vote. Nelson Mandela, the ANC president, promised to give the idea of a volkstaat serious thought.

"Since then, nothing," Mr. Viljoen complained. "The ANC is very stubborn on this issue . . . It would like to blend the cultures into one, grey new South Africa."

Afrikaners, the descendants of Dutch and German settlers who arrived here in the 17th century, were carefully protected by the all-powerful National Party during almost 50 years of apartheid. The Afrikaner government gave its people state jobs and benefits that were denied to the majority blacks.

"We want a complete say on the education of our children . . . We want to live according to our feelings, our convictions," Mr. Viljoen says.

If the government refuses to take them seriously, he says, Afrikaners will be pushed to consider another Quebec-style solution -- a referendum on "sovereignty."

Source

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