By Ayanda Zulu
There were several political groups that opposed the negotiations that eventually bore a new democratic order.
Among these groups was a white supremacist movement called the Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB), which represented a sect of racist Afrikaners on the far right who demanded an independent “Volkstaat” (state) in the new political order.
These racists, whose thinking was deeply rooted in Afrikaner nationalism and herrenvolkism (master-race ideology), feared being led by what they termed a black “communist” government. This swart gevaar was coupled with concealed repulsion over the prospect of sharing geographic spaces with blacks they deemed to be racially inferior.
Amid uncertainty over the acceptance of their demand, they embarked on a campaign of violence and intimidation, which was characterised by random attacks on black people, brutal murders, and the bombing of strategic infrastructure. Their leader at the time, Eugene Terreblanche, routinely threatened to “burn the country down” and declare war if the demand was not met.
Although the demand was never explicitly accepted, section 235 of the new South African constitution tacitly allowed them to pursue their goal under the euphemistic label of self-determination.
ON ORANIA AND ORANIANS
This is the socio-historical context in which a “town” like Orania must be understood.
The exclusively white Afrikaner enclave, which is inhabited by the ilk of racists who once found a home in the AWB, is a Volkstaat attempt (some would argue that it is a Volkstaat).
Over the years, residents of the “town” have attempted to mask this blatant racism by presenting it as some humanistic project to preserve culture and heritage. Outfits like Afriforum and VF Plus have joined them in this charade by continuing to howl about the legitimacy of self-determination.
In light of these disingenuous attempts, it is encouraging to know that South Africans are not fooled.
They know that these are hateful extremists who have a history of brutal violence towards blacks and a propensity for it. These extremists religiously believe in this idea of secessionism. Nothing will ever convince them otherwise, and they would go to any length to defend their apartheid-inspired project.
I may have, in my contextual analysis, confused the reader about the purpose of this piece. Accordingly, I plead for the reader’s time as we edge closer towards the thesis.
CRITICISM OF ORANIA
Orania has been rightly criticised by many for undermining the ideal of a racially integrated society and romanticising an apartheid era of segregation.
Predictably, there have also been mounting calls for it to be dissolved and reintegrated into a multiracial society. I disagree in this regard.
Orania must be left alone.
WHY ORANIA MUST BE LEFT ALONE
As mentioned earlier in this piece, the residents of Orania are extremists who religiously believe in secessionism for the purpose of preserving “racial purity”. Furthermore, they have a history of brutal violence towards blacks and a disposition for it because they view them as being subhuman.
By this logic, any successful attempt to dissolve Orania – even through the legal route – would frankly lead to war.
Peacetime revolutionaries will be quick to criticise what they perceive to be cowardice and remind me that 2 500 people (and their 7 000 supporters elsewhere) are no match for an army of 75 000 soldiers. This is true.
But a direct confrontation that could potentially spark resistance outside Orania and even elicit international responses, is unnecessary and short-sighted.
The most pragmatic stance is to allow these racists to keep their enclave while we focus on rebuilding our country and dealing with the multiple issues that our people face.
* Ayanda Zulu is a Politics student at the University of Pretoria and a regular contributor for The African.
** The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of IOL or Independent Media.
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