For other uses, see Orania.Map signifying Orania's locationOrania is a South African town that is located along the Orange River in the arid Karoo region of its Northern Cape province. It is the first existing realisation of the Volkstaat concept (indeed, Orania is at the easternmost point of an earlier proposed Volkstaat area in the Northern Cape province) and is unique among South African towns in being the only all-Afrikaner enclave in South Africa.It is the ideal of the Orania community to grow over time into a greater Volkstaat as proposed by the Volkstaat movement and secede from South Africa. History
Afrikaner cultural celebration at OraniaIn 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. This was a few months after the repeal of apartheid laws and the release of Nelson Mandela from prison. The town is privately owned by the Vluytjeskraal Aandeleblok (Whistle Corral Share Block) company, that also manages the town. The name Vluytjeskraal derives from the name of the farm on which the town was founded, while the Aandeleblok 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 shareholdersthereforeown the company, which in turn owns the property. The chairman of this company, Dr Manie Opperman, acts as an unelected de facto "mayor". The town was bought from the Department of Water Affairs, which built the town for the workers building a canal network utilising the water in the Orange River, when the project was completed.Then President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, visited the town in 1995 to have tea with Betsie Verwoerd, widow of the former apartheid prime minister. Orania's purpose
Street sign in OraniaThe function of Orania, according to its founders, 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 white Afrikaners only; non-Afrikaner workers are not permitted (elsewhere in South Africa it is still common to consider some manual labour jobs to be "black jobs" that are to be avoided by white South Africans). "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." Others point out[attribution that since the end of apartheid, the relative political power of the Afrikaners as a political group has diminished to a proportional amount in line with their population size. Some Afrikaners havethereforeperceived the advent of multi-racial democracy in South Africa as a marginalisation of the Afrikaner community. Past movements
The idea of a strictly Afrikaner settlement in modern South Africa is not new. In the 1980s, a group of right wing Afrikaners, led by HF Verwoerd's son formed a group called the Oranjewerkers. They also planned a community based on "Afrikaner self-determination", and attempted to create a neo-"boerstaat" (Afrikaner state) in the remote Eastern Transvaal (now Mpumalanga) community of Morgenzon. Its failure was possibly due to the fact that South Africa had an Afrikaner government at the time and so few perceived any benefit from this community. Orania today
Today, Orania is home to about 546 Afrikaner families (1,523 inhabitants). Many of the poorer arrivals to Orania take up residence in small tract houses located in downtown Kleingeluk ("small luck/happiness"). However since the sudden economic "boom" in Orania, with more workers arriving, accommodation is very hard to find and become expensive in 2007. Many of the more wealthy residents, including the city's founders, live in the nearby neighbourhood of Grootdorp ("big town"). The media has reported that there has been some friction between the two groups particularly since the poorer group has to perform the lower paying manual labour viewed as a "black man's job". This has been claimed to be only a minor dispute as stated by Frans de Klerk, CEO of the Orania Movement, who also resides in Kleingeluk . School system
Orania's school system is unorthodox by South African standards with teachers acting as guides instead of lecturers . There are two schools, Die Volkskool Orania (Orania People's School) and the CVO Skool Orania (where CVO stands for Christelike Volks-Onderwys or Christian People's-Education), The latter is based on Christian and Boer values, although both schools underwrite these values, with some differences in their teaching methods.The Volkskool (People's School) is based on the "Kenweb"-system, which utilizes computers in the classroom for repetitive learning, and puts the child in the centre of the learning process. Children plan their own schedules, in accordance with "goal sheets" which ensure that they cover the entire curriculum. They are then accountable for reaching the goals, on which they are tested every week. There are 2 written examinations per year, and numerous tests in between. The school is also different in that they allow each pupil 15 leave days per year. In addition there are normal school holidays, which are a bit shorter than those of other schools .The CVO-school is run more on conventional lines. Although the official curriculum is followed, special emphasis is placed on Afrikaner history and Christian religion . Economy and Agriculture
Farming is an important part of Orania's economy, the most recent project being a massive pecan nut plantation .Annual crop festival at OraniaDuring 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. The benefits of its own "monetary system" are that money is locked in to Orania to a certain extent, and it builds people's pride in their own culture . Orania recently launched its own chequebook. Radio Station
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 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 broadcasted harmless news about birthdays and social events. Management of the radio station claimed that they frequently applied for a radio license in order to be a community broadcaster like other radio stations in the country. Land claim by allegedly displaced Coloured inhabitants
In November 2005, around 60 Cape Coloured families lodged a land claim with the government, for around 483 hectares of land within the town. These families claimed to have lived in the town from 1965, when it was first constructed, up until 1991, 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 is opposing the claim.Orania residents on 2006-12-05 said the settlement of a land claim is a boost for their quest for self-sufficiency and independence. "We're very satisfied that the claim lodged by about 80 people was settled on Monday and that the state is paying them R2,9 million," town spokesperson Eleanor Lombard told the media by telephone. "The settlement of the land claim will help us further in achieving economic self-sufficiency," said Lombard. "It's a win-win situation for us. But the ultimate long-term goal is independence." The Coloured families lodged a compensation claim against the Department of Water Affairs, which moved them out of Orania after the company bought the town. Co-operation with the Coloured community
In June 2007, the Afrikaner enclave received a visit from the Coloured community of Eersterus, outside Pretoria. Both groups met to discuss community development and discussed methods of self-governance. According to visitors "The reception was good" and "We definitely learned from the experience and we experienced no racial tension." The community of Orania gave a donation to the community of Eersterus in support of their nursery school. Self-government progress
On July 4th, 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.
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