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.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Nothing Ever Happens in Afrikaner Heaven

Some unkind words from the people at Time Inc.

The anniversary solemnly marked on a rocky hilltop last week by the residents of Orania is not observed by many South Africans. Bittereinderdag (Bitter-ender Day) commemorates those among the Boers who refused to abide by the peace agreement concluded by their leaders more than a century ago, and fought to the bitter end against the advancing British Empire. But the townsfolk of Orania, a privately owned community populated by some 600 white Afrikaners who, like their forebears, never accepted the peace deal made by their own leaders that brought black majority rule to South Africa, use the day to rededicate themselves to the fading ideal of a separate Afrikaner nation state.

During the transition from apartheid to democracy in the early 1990s, Orania's founding fathers envisaged the town as the center of a new Volkstaat (People's State) that would emerge as a refuge for the country's 2.5 million Afrikaners who were expected to flee the post-apartheid society. And although only 600 Afrikaners followed them, they remain undeterred.

"South Africa is now the youngest black republic in Africa. That leaves the Afrikaner feeling uneasy," says Carel Boshoff, a white-haired former theology professor who has lived here since 1992. "As we experience more and more the marginalization of the Afrikaner in language, in public life, in institutions, the need for an Afrikaner region is growing."

Many Afrikaners are certainly feeling uneasy. Poverty and unemployment are on the rise, and rampant violent crime has increased feelings of insecurity. As towns and streets once named in honor of Afrikaner heroes are steadily renamed, the huge success of a folk song celebrating Boer War general Koos De La Rey signaled a hunger for a return to Afrikaner pride.

Boshoff had once hoped that his vision of a self-sufficient Afrikaner homeland would draw 60,000 people to Orania. But after 13 years of black rule in South Africa, Afrikaner separatism remains a quirky fringe movement. Orania flies its own flag, and prints its own currency, the Ora. A large monument to the koeksister— sticky donut renowned as an Afrikaans delicacy — stands near the town swimming pool. But for all but a few stalwarts, the dream of the Volkstaat has quietly faded away. City dwellers regard Orania with a mixture of bemusement and scorn. Most recently, the town drew headlines when a man announced plans to open a whites-only nudist colony here — a plan the Oranians say they will reject.

"People tend to define us in terms of the old apartheid, but we're way past that," says John Strydom, another longtime Orania resident. "People like to call us racists, and if you look hard enough you'll find a racist or two here. But there are racists in Cape Town as well."

The differences between Oranians and the Afrikaners of the apartheid era, says Strydom, is that his community have shunned the reliance on low-paid black labor upon which apartheid was built. "We're a new breed of Afrikaners, because we do our own work," he says. Here, the garbage is collected and the houses of the wealthy are kept clean by poorer white people. "Our motto is self-sufficiency," says Strydom. "If you can't do something yourself, you go to someone within the community first. Then you look for someone within your own culture."

On the morning of Bittereinderdag, new bronze busts of Hendrik Verwoerd (the notorious architect of apartheid) and other Afrikaner icons are unveiled before an audience of 60 people. Some sport koeksister T-shirts; others wear orange, white and blue, the colors of the Boer Republic defeated by the British. Among the busts stands a statue depicting a boy rolling up his sleeves to get down to work. The same logo adorns the flag and the orange and blue baseball caps popular among residents.

Leaving the ceremony, Odel and Rene, two teenage girls, say they are glad to live in Orania, because here the Afrikaans language and culture is protected. "Many of the schools of the Afrikaans people have closed," says Odel. "They want to have Kaffirkaans, not Afrikaans."

"Kaffir" is an old Afrikaans racial epithet for black people, derived from the Arabic term for "infidel." But when asked if she refers to the term whose use is now banned under legal penalty in South Africa, she just giggles.

Still, both girls say they plan to move away from Orania when they grow up. "Sometimes it's just too quiet here," says Rene.



At 10:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Day Rooi Jan

Have you read the piece I wrote?


It is merely a suggestion. Give it a thought. I am interested to see what alternatives there are.

Regards Uncle Cracker

At 12:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Afrikaners, Boers, etc. We are all one of the same whether we like it or not. Its in our blood not the name.

We need eachother because we are we have in this God forsaken piece of land.

God seen ons, ons kort U.

Gee ons, ons wapens, kos en mees belangrik...verstant


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