End of the Ora? Mounting calls for Orania to be shut down

Gauteng MEC for education Panyaza Lesufi called for the Afrikaner town Orania to fall as it goes against inclusivity and democracy.
Gauteng MEC for education Panyaza Lesufi called for the Afrikaner town Orania to fall as it goes against inclusivity and democracy.
Image: SUNDAY TIMES/ SHELLEY CHRISTIANS

Orania has been in the spotlight this week after comments made by Gauteng MEC for education, Panyaza Lesufi.

What Lesufi said

Earlier this week, Lesufi, who spoke at a ceremony honouring late struggle stalwart Harry Gwala, called for the Afrikaner town to fall as it is neither a symbol of inclusivity nor democracy.

“We understand why that institution was established. It has lived its time now. It’s now that that place must be liberated and all South Africans must be allowed to stay wherever they want to stay.

“We don’t say we want to stay with them but you can’t have an institution that is established based on language or based on the colour of a skin,” said Lesufi.

He also called for the town's “madness” to end, saying: "If you think we will keep quiet you are wrong. This madness must come to an end. It’s a betrayal of our call for a truly non-racial SA.”

What Carl Niehaus said

ANC stalwart Carl Niehaus weighed in on the debate on Tuesday, saying, “not keeping quiet is not good enough”. 

“Destroy the money, destroy the damn flag. Charge these white, Orania ‘Boere’, for their racism, throw them in jail,” he said.

“If our laws are not strong enough on racism to do that, pass the necessary legislation. This nonsense cannot be tolerated.”

A response

In response to the calls, an Orania Facebook page posted an Afrikaans poem about their roots.

Hierdie Grond In hierdie grond, het hy sy hart begrawe, met ‘n vlag wat die hoop van ‘n nuwe lewe, hoog bo die...

Posted by Orania on Monday, June 22, 2020

About Orania

The Afrikaner town is situated in the Karoo region of the Northern Cape province. It was established in 1963, in an attempt to preserve the Afrikaner culture within South Africa.

It has a population of nearly 2,000 people. It is also a self-sufficient town and has its own currency called the Ora.

According to a BBC report, prospective residents who apply to live in the town are screened by the town council using strict criteria, which include first and foremost being an ethnic Afrikaner.


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