The town of Orania has been the subject of much scrutiny and scorn, both within and outside of South Africa, and even amongst Afrikaners. However, the idea of an ethno-cultural or linguistic enclave is not a new one.

There is a Xhosa community in Mnyameni (in the Eastern Cape), which is not subject to the same scrutiny. Interestingly, the people of Mnyameni and the people of Orania have a good relationship, and no qualms about working together: In December 2012, Orania and this community signed a cooperation agreement, determining that there would be assistance in developing institutions, as well as transfer of knowledge between the communities.

And in Ireland, there are the Gaeltacht areas, where the goal is to protect the Irish language and culture.

Orania and its History

What sets Orania apart from other such places is, firstly, the history of South Africa, which leads people to automatically assume that the Afrikaner community of Orania wish to recreate a racially segregated South Africa; and secondly, that the Town was formally, legally, and constitutionally instituted.

On 23 April 1994, the African National Congress, the Freedom Front, and the National Party signed the Accord on Afrikaner self-determination, which led to Article 235 of the Constitution of South Africa, which guarantees the right of self-determination for cultural groups.

Orania was established with the idea of protecting, preserving, and maintaining Afrikaner language and culture, as well as maintaining the traditional, Christian values that most Afrikaners share. Furthermore, Orania was built on the principles of self-reliance, self-sufficiency, and self-determination.

Establishing itself in the semi-arid Northern Cape, Orania was built on the bones of an abandoned construction town, with limited infrastructure or funding. With all jobs being performed by the citizens of the town, the project was off to a slow start. However, through the hard work and determination of the Afrikaners who initially settled there, the town has grown in both size and population.

With a population of roughly 3,000 people, the town is growing, expanding, and modernizing. There are stores, restaurants, schools, medical centers, businesses, and even an airfield.

So, come visit Orania to see what this little Afrikaner outpost has to offer.

You can also learn more about the history of Orania here: History