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    Nat Quinn

    The Ora is a local exchange that is tied 1:1 to the Rand. The Ora money only in Orania and any Orania business accepts it. Some companies are even offering discounts on purchases with the Ora to encourage people to use it. Edges are also used in parallel with the Ora.

    The benefits of the Ora are firstly that it keeps circulating in Orania because it cannot be taken out. Secondly, it provides security because it cannot be stolen and robbed as it has no value outside Orania. Meanwhile, the edges lying in the bank earn interest while Oras circulates. Lastly, it is also a symbol of independence, with our own symbols and even advertisements on it.


    By Sebastiaan Biehl

    When Orania was purchased in 1991, it was the first practical step in realising an ideal that had been devised for more than 20 years, namely its own territory or nation-state for the Afrikaners.


    There is no clear date to determine when the idea of an Afrikaner nation-state was first mentioned. It did originate within the vapor circles of the South African Bureau of Racial Affairs (SABRA), which was established in 1948 and supported territorial separation on the basis of races and peoples and conducted research around it. Most later proponents and preceptors of the nation-state idea were members of SABRA. Dr Chris Jooste, prominent member and later director of SABRA from 1968 to 1982, was one of the first to mention, apart from homelands for the various black peoples, the possibility of a nation-state for whites (who were treated as a nation at the time) versus Prime Minister Dr Verwoerd, who supported SABRA. However, all the attention was on the development of the various black homelands (even a coloured and Indian homeland was discussed) and South Africa was without the homelands by implication the “whites’ land”, with the Afrikaner as the prominent part.

    During the time of Prime Minister BJ Vorster, where the massive black population increase and the growing unrest made certain people wonder about the sustainability of “separate development”, a “white homeland” was already mentioned as an alternative in the early 1970s should the homeland policy fail, by none other than Dr Gerrit Viljoen, SABRA member, leading academic and later minister under PW Botha. SABRA and especially Dr Jooste promoted the idea more openly in the late 1970s and in 1977 a memorandum on “Project Orange” introduced in-depth research on the possibility of white growth points. In certain core parts of South Africa, including in the area where Orania is located today, whites would establish concentrated in order to form a kind of heartland. Instead of whites, Afrikaners were later increasingly spoken of.


    In 1980, the first organisation that wanted to put the idea of “Project Orange” into practice, the Association of Orange Workers (VOW), was founded. Many of their principles paralleled those of the later Afrikaner Freedom Foundation. Although VOW was still vague about the area and did not want to secede an Afrikaner state from South Africa, they did pursue the idea of concentration in certain demographically favourable core areas as proposed by Project Oranje. They also first preached popular labour as a prerequisite and applied it in several towns within the designated areas (such as Morgenzon and Philippolis). Dr Jooste and others from SABRA were also leaders within VOW. He, Prof Carel Boshoff and others had already advocated for a homeland in the sparsely populated north-western Cape and parts of the Orange Free State, but within the VOW most members were adherents of a concentration in the Eastern Transvaal, where Afrikaners already had large numbers but were still a minority and would never be able to win the number race. Moreover, it was an economically strongly developed and therefore also strongly integrated area.

    Homeland policy lost its jet power in the 1980s and became more and more, with corrupt and incompetent homeland leaders and – administration, embarrassing. While Dr Verwoerd was convinced of the workability and justifiability of homelands and continued Mr Vorster Verwoerd’s policy at least outwardly, by all indications Mr Botha no longer really believed in it.

    There was no government support for what VOW preached and did and little support from Afrikaners at grassroots level, even in the designated areas. In fact, it was at that time, the early 1980s, where there was a rift between SABRA (and related organisations) that stood for territorial self-determination, and the NP government under PW Botha, which worked more and more towards one undivided South Africa (especially with the 1984 constitution). Prof Boshoff, then chairman of the Afrikaner Broederbond and of SABRA (1972-2002) and also chairman of the newly formed AfrikanerVolkswag, was one of those who moved out of the established order into the political desert so as not to give up his beliefs and ideals. SABRA depended on government funding and this was discontinued, as they were increasingly in opposition to the NP government and rejected the 1984 constitution, which renounced the ultimate goal of territorial division. SABRA had to rely on its own fundraising.

    1984 was a decisive year, because SABRA and the NP government were no longer part of the same circle. What used to be at least implicit government policy has now become a stumbling block for the government. This was the time where Afrikaners were tearing up on many levels, politically, religiously, in education and culture. SABRA, however, was a think tank, not a mass movement that could muster popular support. It was for this reason that the Afrikaner Volkswag was founded in 1984, to unite people-minded Afrikaners in the field of their culture and especially around the 150th anniversary of the Great Trek. “On the trek to our own” was the motto and the message was that the commemoration was not only about the past, but that the trek of the Voortrekkers towards freedom and search for their own state in the interior in the past would be the move to an Afrikaner homeland of their own under the present circumstances. Prof Boshoff was elected chairperson of the Volkswag. Not everyone within Volkswag was necessarily nation-staters, but the sentiment of one’s own future and disapproval for the direction of government ran strong. It was also at that time that numerous publications from the circles of VOW, SABRA and Volkswag, advocating a territory or homeland of their own, saw the light of day.

    Between 1986 and 1988 many commemorative events took place, with the culmination at Donkerhoek near Pretoria on 16 December 1988, where folk-minded Afrikaners were joined together and there was a sense of destiny and a new aspiration for a great ideal without the consumed NP. However, the emotional upwelling of the Great Trek 150 anniversary now had to be used for a purpose. The mobilisation of large numbers of Afrikaners around the Great Trek led directly to the establishment of the Afrikaner Freedom Foundation (AVSTIG) in March 1988, also under the leadership of Prof Carel and Mrs Anna Boshoff. While SABRA was especially theoretical in nature, and Volkswag culturally political, AVSTIG pursued the unequivocal goal of making the nation-state become reality through development of a sparsely populated area in the North-West Cape. For now, however, AVSTIG was an avantgarde organization with a few but very strong nation-state members, and Volkswag was the “people’s organization” whose members supported the nation-state ideal in principle. Later, a transitional arrangement was made with “Spansaam”, where a member of one organisation became a member of all three (SABRA, Volkswag, AVSTIG), with increasing focus on AVSTIG.

    In June 1988, AVSTIG released its plan for a Nation State. The dry and sparsely populated North-West Cape and parts of the Southern Free State were proposed as a nation-state, without any major city or homeland or mine, a large virtually empty area that would have a solid majority with some 500 000 Afrikaners. It was based on research by Dr Jooste and Dirk Viljoen in particular. People’s labor was one of the non-negotiable requirements for the nation-state. The model of the occupation and development of Palestine by the Jews was, in addition, both an example and an inspiration. The plan at this stage evoked little enthusiasm in the media or below the average Afrikaner as the media followed the NP line in particular, but it was nevertheless seen by some as a possible way out of the impasse of violence and conflict.

    AVSTIG continued to market its plan with all its aspects. Visits were also made to the designated area during this time to look at a suitable place to make a practical start.


    In August 1990, a member of AVSTIG came across an advertisement in the Landbou Weekblad that announced that the state was offering for sale an entire town in the Northern Cape, Orania, with an area of 483 hectares. It was located in the nation-state territory proposed by AVSTIG. Prof Boshoff immediately gathered the management members of AVSTIG and the next morning they travelled the long way from Pretoria to pay an exploratory visit to Orania and investigate whether the town was suitable as a nation-state growth point. Although the place was dilapidated and wrecked, Prof Boshoff and his supporters did see the potential and realised how much infrastructure was still there that would otherwise have to be rebuilt at great expense. On the way back it was decided to risk the sale and to put in a tender at the auction. Prof Boshoff contacted Prof Gerrit Viljoen, Minister for Constitutional Development in the NP Cabinet and an acquaintance from the days of communal involvement in SABRA, to ask whether government would have a principled objection in establishing a nation-state growth point.

    According to Prof Viljoen, government would do nothing to stop such a nation-state growth point. The amount of R620 000 was raised, especially through the tireless recruitment of Anna Boshoff and a tender was put in. However, the amount was insufficient and the bid was granted to a Johannesburg man who had until 31 January 1991 to pay the sum. However, fate disposed that the nation-staters would be given a second chance because the prospective purchaser could not meet his obligations. Now it had to be decided quickly.

    Out of approximately 1500 members and supporters of Volkswag, AVSTIG and the nation-state idea, people were identified and contacted to invest in the project through shares of R25 000 each. It was share capital borrowed interest-free and repaid as the share blocks in Orania were sold. All initial contributors for the purchase of Orania received their input capital back without interest in due course. The window of opportunity for the purchase of Orania was only open for a very short period of time and that everything went right was a small miracle.

    A few days before the deadline for the tender, the amounts were paid into a trust account and the agreement was concluded. For the amount of R1 050 000, the initial purchaser’s obligations were taken over and Orania from the Department of Water Affairs with all the improvements and equipment was purchased and registered in the name of Orania Management Services Proprietary Limited (OBD). By January 31, 1991, OBD would take over and the Department would vacate everything. However, due to all sorts of obstacles and foot dragging of the department, the date was moved to March 31. Thereafter, on 13 April, the official launch was to all prospective residents as well as to the media, an event celebrated annually as Orania’s founding day. Shortly after the purchase of Orania, the surrounding farm Vluytjeskraal 272 was also bought.

    AVSTIG constituted itself as a future Afrikaner government, with an annual Citizens’ Assembly where all members as well as interested parties could discuss matters relating to the nation-state, a Citizens’ Council elected by the members and a kind of “volksraad”, and the executive council with portfolios, a kind of people’s government and the president as chairman. Meetings took place in the Community Hall of Orania, but on the assumption that Orania was only the first growth point in a larger future nation-state.


    The history of our organization – Orania Movement

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