Exercise in futility or dawn of Afrikaner self-determination: an exploratory ethno-historical investigation of Orania
Author: F de Beer
Publication: Anthropology Southern Africa, 2006, 29(3&4)
Due to their ethnic diversity nation states have the arduous task of accommodating various identity conscious groups within their boundaries. Nation-building programmes and strategies are employed mostly to unite the heterogeneous populations of nation states, as is currently also being done by the ANC Government in South Africa. In 1991, three years before the ANC came to power, a group of Afrikaners who wished to maintain their identity and culture purchased a town from the Department of Water Affairs next to the Orange River in the Northern Cape Province with the purpose of establishing self-determination in an own territory and ultimately a volkstaat. In this article the antecedents of the Orania Afrikaner settlement, their ethnic identity, management structure, political affiliations, daily life and quality of life, the viability of the settlement as well as views of fellow Afrikaners in South Africa about its establishment, are reflected upon. In the process due consideration is given to the viability and sustainability of the Orania undertaking and whether or not it constitutes the dawn of Afrikaner self-determination that will ultimately fulfil the freedom ideals of identity conscious Afrikaners. The study is also contextualised within the current theoretical tenants of ethnicity and the methodology of anthropology.