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Orania, Northern Cape: South Africa’s White Only Town

Story Highlights

  • About Orania
  • Orania, Location And Purpose

Orania is a town in the northern cape of South Africa and South Africa’s White Only Town. Formally established in 1991, the town was created during the last years of apartheid, where it was meant to be a safe haven for Afrikaners. They are the ethnic group descended from the Europeans who colonized South Africa. They speak their own language, Afrikaans and also have their own currency & radio station. There is no police or prison there. Over 100 businesses operate there.

 

About Orania

Orania was created in 1991, a year after Nelson Mandela’s release from Robben Island, and three years before the country’s first democratic election.

By the end of the 1980s, the probability of losing control had already occurred to many Afrikaners, with some believing that impending democracy posed an existential threat to the white Afrikaans way of life. A few felt protecting that required becoming a demographic majority somewhere, rather than remaining a minority everywhere.

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So a small group of Afrikaners – Verwoerd’s daughter and son-in-law, Carel Boshoff, among them – purchased a strip of land on the southern banks of the Orange River, and went about setting up a volkstaat, or independent homeland, where Afrikaners would decide their own affairs.

Orania’s founders did not settle on virgin territory, but on the remains of a half-realised 1960s project to build canals and dams along the Orange River. A community of 500 poor black and mixed-race squatters who had made their homes in the buildings left behind by the project stood between the new owners and their whites-only vision.

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Orania, Location And Purpose

Orania is located along the Orange River in the Karoo region of the Northern Cape province. The town is split in two halves by the R369 road and lies halfway between Cape Town and Pretoria.

The aim of the town is to ensure the survival of Afrikaners by keeping their language and culture alive. Any person who defines themselves as an Afrikaner and identifies with Afrikaner ethnicity is welcome to live in Orania.

People who wish to be residents in Orania have to go through an intervie with a committee, which can deny access if they have a criminal record among other things. The most important requirement is being an Afrikaner.

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Orania is owned by the Vluytjeskraal Aandeleblok (Vluytjeskraal Share Block) company which, together with a series of internally elected bodies, is responsible for the town’s municipal decision making.

 

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