Apartheid: Inside South Africa’s Whites Only Town

Apartheid: Inside South Africa’s Whites Only Town

Written by Pumza Fihlani | From BBC

In the sparsely populated Karoo desert in the heart of South Africa’s Northern Cape, apartheid lives on.

I spent a few days in Orania, one of just a few black people to have set foot in the whites-only town since its establishment in 1991.

Part of a BBC crew, including Zimbabwean journalist Stanley Kwenda, we were given permission to visit.

And during that time, Stanley and I were the only black people in the town of 1,000 – an unusual experience in latter-day South Africa.

Racial interaction is not welcome in the Afrikaner-only town, where only Afrikaans is spoken, because of fears about “diluting culture”.

Zimbabwe-born Stanley Kwenda takes a tour of South Africa’s all-white town of Orania

“We do not fit in easily in the new South Africa. It [Orania] was an answer to not dominating others and not being dominated by others,” says Carel Boschoff Jr, the community leader.

Mr Boschoff inherited the town from his father Carel Boschoff Snr, an Afrikaner intellectual and son-in-law of apartheid architect, Hendrik Verwoerd.

Mr Verwoerd’s grandson tells me that his people were faced with a tough question about their future when the black government was elected in 1994.

“In terms of Afrikaners who had been standing very close to the state, when the policies such as black economic empowerment and affirmative action came into place, Afrikaners needed to seriously think about their future. It wouldn’t make sense not to,” he said.

Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) was introduced to encourage more black participation in business.

We were taken on a guided tour of the town’s facilities by John Strydom, a retired doctor, whose main message was: “We are not against black people. We are for ourselves.”

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