South Africa: Orania and Kleinfonteini -Where Apartheid lives in Nelson Mandela’s ‘Rainbow Nation’

Orania, a town white with fear



Welcome to Orania, South Africa: a whites-only enclave established in 1991 during the dying years of apartheid.

The town in the sparsely populated Karoo region is inhabited only by Afrikaners.

These descendants of Dutch-speaking migrants who arrived in South Africa in 1652 with Jan van Riebeeck, now make up six percent of the “Rainbow Nation’s” population.

But they make up 100 percent of rural Orania.

It was the Afrikaners who formed the backbone of the National Party that introduced apartheid, and many South Africans regard Orania’s residents as little more than latter-day bittereinders — term used for Boer War holdouts — who rage against today’s majority rule.

But residents maintain the town is not racist.

They argue that Orania is the best way of preserving Afrikaner culture and language and offers a safe sanctuary from crime-ridden neighbourhoods.

“We are safe here,” said resident Kobus Jonck. “We do not worry about locking our cars at night, even the (house) doors… they are never locked.”

Its easy to see why some may find the setting idyllic.

The town is built on the 8,000 hectares (19,768 acres) of a private farm, along the Orange River, in the beautifully desolate Northern Cape province.

There are no high-rise buildings or factories. Children run barefoot between small prefabricated homes.

According to the town’s authorities, its modest population of 1,000 is growing at nine percent a year.

Jonck, a sheep farmer, settled in Orania in 2012 with his family only after going through an interview process with the town committee.

“When new people come to Orania, they are interviewed by a group of people to make sure that they have sufficient understanding of what the town is about,” said Carel Boshoff IV, the son of the late founder of the town, Carel Boshoff III.

Its leaders have dreams of turning it into an independent state for the Afrikaner minority, who today number three million.

In line with the town’s motto of “working for freedom”, residents are encouraged to be self sufficient, and the majority are farmers or traders.

They all work to grow and develop the town and labour is provided by the townspeople, as little as possible comes from the outside.

Like any other town, Orania is run by a council which is elected on an annual basis, according to Mayor Harry Theron.

It boasts shops, schools and its own flag and currency, the ora, which is pegged to South Africa’s rand.

But unlike other towns, blacks are not welcome.

At the entrance of the town, a statue of Hendrik Verwoerd, the architect of apartheid, stands proudly among other prominent icons of the old South Africa.

The town’s flag with blue, white and orange colours similar to the old apartheid flag is visible everywhere across this microstate in the making.

Perhaps ironically, Orania’s existence is protected under article 235 of South Africa’s Constitution which ensures right to self-determination.

The legislation was adopted after the end of apartheid, following years of fighting against the system of separate homelands for native blacks.

“This republic is growing,” proclaimed Quintin Diederichs, a former rugby player who became a resident three years ago.

“We have fifty companies that we have created with our own hands,” said Diederichs.

But beneath the seemingly safe and secure environment lurks paranoia, some residents believe that one day blacks might turn against them.

A waiter at a bar said that he fears “black South Africans will kill all white people” when peace icon Nelson Mandela dies.

The 94-year-old who was jailed by the apartheid regime became the country’s first black president in 1994.

Upon his release from prison in 1990 he preached reconciliation and non-racialism.

Orania is probably not what the revered statesman envisaged for a new South Africa.

Video: Orania- South Africa’s whites only town in a black majority post Apartheid nation

Video: Orania


Kleinfontein: Pretoria’s own Orania


By Lali van Zuydam
iOL news

PRETORIA – About 30km (18.6 miles) south-east of Pretoria on the N4 highway, there is a place you enter through a boom gate – similar to many other places in the city.

A security guard in full military attire greets you at the gate with a book for you to sign, and once you’ve stated your case you’re allowed in.

The system is similar to those at every other security estate in the city – except on the other side of this particular gate, you will see white faces only.

Welcome to Kleinfontein.

The white people who live here call it a “cultural community”, a safe haven for the white Christian Afrikaner.

The 800-hectare co-operative, started by Jan Groenewald, turns 21 years old this year and is one year younger than Orania – it’s sister town.
“It was started in 1992 when the founding members got that tingling feeling that the ANC would take over,” says Dr Pieter du Preez, who has lived here for five years and is a member of the board.

There are 450 shareholders in Kleinfontein with 300 homes and 1 000 residents – all white, Christian and Afrikaners.
“It is an Afrikaner homestead,” says Du Preez.

Once you have made it through the boom gate, you are greeted as Oom (uncle) or Tannie (auntie) by another security guard – also in military dress. He asks you who you are visiting and escorts you.

On the way to the office building, you are confronted with a large bust of Hendrik Verwoerd, the architect of apartheid.
Every white face along the way is smiling and they greet you in the purest Afrikaans.
Still, the place is eerily quiet.

“We have almost zero crime,” says Marisa Haasbroek, Kleinfontein’s volunteer communications officer.

The first stop after checking in at the office is the coffee shop.
You are treated to coffee and baked milktart by yet another smiling Afrikaner face. The smile broadens when they realise you are Afrikaans too.

The average age of a Kleinfontein resident is 60.

“Older people move here to retire because it is safe, quiet and we have a great care centre,” Haasbroek says over coffee.

When asked why there are few young people, she says it is too far outside Pretoria and the young do not want to drive so far to work.

“Older people do not travel as much,” she says.

Next up is a guided tour.
The main road is only tarred up to the bust of Verwoerd, and from there, you follow dirt roads, each with its own name.
The first stop is the seemingly middle-class area with two- or three-bedroom brick homes and gardens with colourful flowers. The gardeners are white.

Haasbroek is clear that they they have all sorts of people living in Kleinfontein.

“We have a healthy population distribution. We have poor people and more well-off residents, nice people and less nice people,” she says.

Across the road is the “white squatter camp” – where whites from informal settlements outside Kleinfontein have found a home. They live in caravans, tents and shacks.

One shack is held together by ropes planted into the ground.

There is an ablution block and a little way down, new little homes.

“We uplift the poor by giving them jobs. We have zero unemployment and we build houses for them,” Haasbroek says of the RDP-type houses on the edge of the squatter camp they call the “caravan park”.

The car passes two children playing in the squatter camp. They stare at the new faces.
Solidariteit sponsors some of the children’s education.

“We are trying to break the cycle of poverty,” Haasbroek says.

The poorer members of the community do mostly manual labour – some build homes in the middle- class area. Others lay bricks on the dirt road.

The next stop is the school, with the “vierkleur” (old Transvaal Republic flag) flapping in the wind.
It is a CVO (Christelike Volkseie Onderwys) school which caters for Grade 0 to Grade 9.

“The children mostly transfer to the CVO school in Pretoria to finish their schooling. Some, like my children, are home-schooled,” says Haasbroek.

The children are exposed to other races and cultures when they leave Kleinfontein.

“They go out and meet black people, for instance. It is good experience but they come back home to a safe environment where they know who they are,” she quietly but firmly asserts.

There are no requirements to belong to a specific political party – except that they belong to a right-wing party. “We are members of AfriForum but there are residents with more extreme views,” says Haasbroek.

Religion is no one’s business but your own.

“Some people belong to the NG Kerk, some to the APK (Afrikaanse Protestantse Kerk) and others to the Hervormde Kerk.”

Haasbroek loves the fact that she can live “in two worlds”.

“I can sing Sarie Marais on a Friday night in the community hall and on a Saturday morning I go out to Woodlands Boulevard.”

The tour continues to the “Waterkloof” of Kleinfontein – where the wealthier residents live.
This is where Haasbroek lives with her engineer husband and two children.
The Kleinfontein Wild Park leads you around the property and back to the residential areas.

The tour is almost over – the last stop is the community hall, next to the rugby field.

“In June, we all trek to Orania to play rugby against them,” Haasbroek informs me.

The tour ends where it started – at the bust of Verwoerd.

“This is where we feel at home. “We live with people who are like us.”

If you want to make Kleinfontein your home town, you go through a stringent process of approval.

“We have to make sure potential residents align with our cultural beliefs and our language.”

Once approved, new residents buy shares in the co-operative.

This affords them the right to live there and they are allocated a property.
Residents can then build a house on the property. “If you want to sell the house, the money belongs to you,” says Haasbroek.
The community can also accommodate twice as many homes as currently exist.

“We have enough water and we distribute the electricity ourselves,” says Haasbroek, adding that Eskom only brings the electricity services to the edge of the community.

Residents are involved in a process of applying to be accredited as an independent town – it currently exists as part of the City of Tshwane.

“We do not want trouble. We are well aware of the outside world. We just feel strongly about our identity, but we are not aggressive towards the City of Tshwane,” she sighs.

* Residents of Kleinfontein defend their right to live as they do based on Article 235 of the constitution which allows for self-determination. The article gives the residents the right to live in a community with people of their own culture and language group. It is the same article on which the residents of Orania base their existence.

“We feel at home with our own people and we know who we are,” said Marisa Haasbroek, Kleinfontein’s volunteer communications officer.


‘Tshwane municipality must work with Kleinfontein’ Ramokgopa

Barry Bateman

PRETORIA – Tshwane Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa on Wednesday committed the municipality to working with an Afrikaans cultural community, east of Pretoria.

Ramokgopa visited the Kleinfontein settlement on Wednesday, which recently made headlines with reports that it was “a whites-only racist enclave”.

The community seeks to be self-sufficient and independent from municipal services but denies it excludes people based on race.

The Kleinfontein community applied to the Tshwane Municipality to be recognised as a formal settlement.

Ramokgopa said it is significant.

“If these were people were arrogant they wouldn’t have applied because in the first instance they don’t recognise them.”

While he acknowledged the community’s freedom to associate and assert their heritage and culture but said it must not undermine other provisions in the bill of rights which prohibit discrimination.

The community accepts people who speak Afrikaans, be Protestant Christian and recognise Anglo-Boer history.”

Meanwhile, the community’s leaders invited Ramokgopa and officials to meet with them and tour their home.

Kleinfontein spokesperson Marisa Haasbroek described the community as an Afrikaans cultural community whose inhabitants align themselves with a set of core values.

She dismissed allegations they were racist.

“We also exclude other Afrikaaner people who do not align with those values.”

Ramokgopa said, “They’ve got a right to conserve their heritage, culture, language and they have the freedom of association. The bill of rights makes that provision.”

However, he said this needs to be balanced with the freedom to reside anywhere in the republic.

Last week, the Democratic Alliance Youth marched in Kleinfontein asking it to accept that apartheid is over.

It told Kleinfontein leaders there is no room for racial exclusivity in South Africa.

Kleinfontein was founded 21 years ago and is not the only ‘whites only’ community in South Africa.

In the Northern Cape, there is Orania which was formed in 1991.

Residents argue that Orania is not racist, but the best way of preserving Afrikaner culture and language and it offers a safe sanctuary from crime-ridden neighbourhoods.

The City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality was established on December 5, 2000 with 13 former city and town councils and managed by means of an executive mayoral system. Tshwane includes Pretoria, one of South Africa’s 3 capital cities.

Video: South Africa’s other whites-only settlement of Kleinfontein
Located only 30 Kilometers or 18.6 miles north of Pretoria

Video: Kleinfontein – South African town accused of keeping Apartheid alive

All-white town fights to preserve segregation in Mandela’s ‘Rainbow Nation’

By F. Brinley Bruton
NBC News

KLEINFONTEIN, South Africa – An all-white enclave less than an hour from South Africa’s capital is fighting to hold on to a segregated life reminiscent of the country before Nelson Mandela toppled the apartheid regime.

“We feel that our culture is being threatened and we want to protect it and we want to nurture it,” said Marisa Haasbroek, a writer and mother who serves as voluntary spokeswoman for a gated community called Kleinfontein.

Kleinfontein does not hide its ties to South Africa’s divided past, nor its mistrust of the country’s present: At its entrance stands a bust of Hendrik Verwoerd, who is seen as the father of apartheid.

A fence surrounds its almost 2,000 acres and guards in fatigues police at the entrance of the community condemned as “racist” by some critics.

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