Orania: South Africa’s Only White City that practices Modern-day Apartheid


Orania is a small town in South Africa to the Northern Cape. The town was established in 1991 after Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, and three years before South Africa had its ever first democratic election. Orania was considered in the ending periods of apartheid, where it was meant to be home for Afrikaners. The town is only habited by whites; however, residents say the town is a cultural project with no racial inclinations.

The town is a sign of evident unrelenting racism. Tembeka Nicholas Ngcukaitobi, a renowned lawyer in South Africa, says,

“Orania represents downright hostility to the idea of a single, united, non-racial country. The continued existence clearly shows it is not sunshine and rainbows everywhere within the landscapes of the rainbow nation”.

Orania town from the time of the establishment

The town’s walls were put together during the time when the apartheid regime was crumbling down. The idea, which was put in place from 1996, in pursuant South African Bureau for Racial Affairs that rejected the idea of turning the country into a commonwealth. The idea proposed a nation where population groups can develop independently. The town is built on land bought by a group of Afrikaners. Together with, Hendrik Verwoerd’s daughter who apartheid top architect and son in law Carel Boshoff III. The small town is private property. They trailed this idea to protect the culture of the Afrikaners with no influences from the outside influences.

It is a no go zone for Blacks.

If you are black in South Africa or from abroad, you are forbidden to settle there. The town was built with a vision of total separation from other races. Therefore, no migrant labor is used in the small town. No low-income jobs that were reserved for the blacks during the white dictatorship government. Significant to notice, the town’s symbol is a small boy rolling up his sleeves. This expressed the words of Verwoerd when he said:

“If Afrikaners want self-determination, they’d better roll up their sleeves and work.”

In the beginning, the founders of the town did not find as virgin territory. The small land was a beautiful home to more than 600 poor black. And mixed-race squatters who settled in the buildings abandoned in the 1960’s plan to construct canals and dams along the Orange River. These residents became a burden to the founders and their mission to make the town a white-only town. It was captured when Boshoff reportedly said that he “did not buy a bus with passengers.”

Edward Cavanagh, who is a Cambridge historian, is pretty aware of the history of land rights on the Orange River documents.  He remembers one of the large scale evictions of the Orania residents under apartheid. The eviction by the future residents of Orania assisted by pistols, whips, and dogs that took out all the blacks from the town for good! Despite the fact that the land was bought legally, the eviction was applied with a lot of force on the people of color.

Everything is done the Orania way; Afrikaner self-determination.

The small state has its own currency, the ora, which runs equally with the rand. The total population is about 1700 people. It has shopping centers, schools, cultural centers, and many memorials for apartheid prominent leaders and history, which they celebrate. If you would want to be a resident of the small town, you have to apply first. Go through a vetting committee and lastly go through an interview by the governing authority. One of the questions during the interview is, can you support yourself and are you committed to upholding the goal of society—the Afrikaner self-determination.


While the residents participate in every aspect of South Africa’s national development, for example, elections, it is clearly evident that the small town is only white residents. And a no-goes zone for blacks despite being in the African country.



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