Orania pins its hopes on Ramaphosa

Between the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as president of the ANC and the relaxation of liberal individualism’s stranglehold in Europe, 2018 may be the right time to start pushing for a full-blown Afrikaner homeland again, the Orania Movement believes.

Even if that is not the case, changes in the political winds at least mean that the proto-homeland movement can insert itself into the post-colonial discourse elsewhere in Africa, and link itself with “increasing cultural awareness in Eastern Europe”.

Because, after decades of it being the preserve of the fringes, “cultural self-determination is again a subject that can be discussed in polite conversation”, said Orania Movement President Carel Boshoff Jr in an open letter this week, in which he called for renewed involvement in and support for an Afrikaner homeland.

Afrikaners have less leverage and fewer resources than they did in 1988, when a predecessor to the Orania Movement started pushing for such an enclave, Boshoff said. Yet ideas such as community, self-sufficiency and recognition are more accepted than they were in the dying days of apartheid.

And, although he stressed that an Afrikaner homeland should seek ­recognition after becoming a de facto reality rather than propitiate the ANC, Ramaphosa could represent an opportunity.

“He was involved with the inclusion of section 235 of the South African Constitution and will hopefully be approachable on continued discussions in this regard,” said Boshoff.

Section 235 of the Constitution specifically allows legislation that would establish a “territorial entity” for “any community sharing a common cultural and language heritage”.

Meanwhile election results out of Europe show that the continent is growing aware of “the immigration crisis” that has been building for years, so creating a more conducive environment in which to push the ideology of self-determination.

At the same time Boshoff acknow­ledged that Orania “still represents a line of thinking that most South Africanists and nation-builders” find galling. Still, he argued, a central state with transformation and nation-building as core goals simply cannot provide a balance between majority and minority populations. An “entirely different” approach to the state is required.

The Orania Movement claims a paid-up membership of 5 140. It hopes within the next two years to achieve a population of 2 000 in the Northern Cape town it describes as a city in the making.

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Phillip De Wet
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