Orania – 20 years of democracy

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Orania - Only white people who define themselves as Afrikaners are eligible for residency and employment in the town
Orania -Only white people who define themselves as Afrikaners are eligible for residency and employment in the town

After 20 years of democracy, the whites-only town of Orania is attracting more residents – population growth has reached 10% a year. But the town, in the Karoo, Northern Cape, on the banks of the Orange River, is still small, with only about 1000 residents.

Only white people who identify themselves as Afrikaners are eligible for residency.

“It’s a safe, peaceful and pleasant town, a small community. Everyone knows each other,” said Magda van Staden, a retired vet who moved in from Pretoria in 2007 and now works at Die Kleretrommel, the local charity clothing shop.

Farmer Bertus Steenkamp, 64, moved from Viljoenskroon, in the Free State, eight years ago to get an “authentic experience” of his culture.

“Having travelled to and worked in Mozambique and Zambia, it was a fitting place to settle down in.”

Steenkamp’s wife, Paula, the local estate agent, compared Orania to a large, corporate company in which everybody works together towards its success.

“This has made Orania more attractive to the outside world. Our office receives around 10 phone calls a day from South Africans who want to buy property and move here.”

The town has reported an increase in inquiries from younger people, such as University of Pretoria BCom marketing graduate Albertus Koltzow, 22, who is involved in seven businesses in the town.

Many blacks are keen to visit Orania.

The town’s chief executive, Frans de Klerk, said: “Tourists are welcome. We are investing more … in tourist accommodation and attractions.”

Asked what she liked most about Orania, a seven-year-old girl said: “In Hartswater there were a lot of black people. Here there are none.” ….

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