LETTER: Adiel Ismail asks if the recent debacle surrounding Brackenfell High School is a storm in a teacup or if this is symptomatic of a greater problem in our society Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)
LETTER: Adiel Ismail asks if the recent debacle surrounding Brackenfell High School is a storm in a teacup or if this is symptomatic of a greater problem in our society Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

LETTER: If Orania is okay, then why not Brackenfell?

By Opinion Time of article published Dec 3, 2020

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by Adiel Ismail

The recent debacle that surfaced at Brackenfell High School raises some interesting questions.

Apparently, a so-called private ball was arranged exclusively for the attendance of its white matriculants. At least two views are held by parents.

The EFF protesting on behalf of the non-white learners at the school held the view that the school management perpetuated racist actions reminiscent of the apartheid era, while the parents of the white matriculants who attended this function saw absolutely nothing wrong with their actions that excluded black learners since it was a private function.

Is this a storm in a teacup? Or is this symptomatic of a greater problem in our society?

In a democratic society, everyone has the right to make his or her own decision. And we are reminded that such a decision should be respected by those who disagree with it. If this is indeed the case, then will it be acceptable for a community or business to decide membership or customers to/for its services offered?

As an example, will be it be socially acceptable and constitutionally correct to have, say, a private school solely for the paler race where non-white learners are not welcome in democratic South Africa?

Will it also be acceptable to offer a haircutting service only to people with a certain type of hair? Similarly, can owners of B&B’s decide which race may use their facilities?

Is it also acceptable for a community to allow only a certain race to live in a designated area in democratic South Africa? But is the latter practice not observed in Orania, a small town along the Orange River in the Karoo region?

Although the aim of the existence of the town was to create a stronghold for Afrikaans and the Afrikaner identity by keeping their language and culture alive. The residents of the town state that anyone who defines themselves as an Afrikaner and identifies with Afrikaner ethnicity is welcome to live in Orania.

But are non-white Afrikaners really allowed to buy a property and live and in the town

The 2011 Census revealed that 97.2% of the population in Orania were white, 1.9% coloured and 0.9% black. In July 2018, “The Seattle Times” reported a population of approximately 1 600. Although critics accuse the town authorities of going “against the rainbow nation concept, the town’s relations with the South African government are non-confrontational”, since it recognised its legitimacy, as stated on Wikipedia.

Note, the latter may not be my personal view but follows from the evidence. In conclusion, if Orania is allowed to exist in democratic South Africa, then similarly, should the private matric function at Brackenfell High School not be acceptable too?

You be the judge.

* Adiel Ismail, Mountview.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

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