CP tends to support secessionist movements in the West. Maybe we think of it as a natural extension of healthy localism/nationalism. But it isn't just about Catalonia, Flanders and Padania. That the 3 million Afrikaner should have their own homeland seems self evident. We recently interviewed Jan Cornelis who is one of the European representatives of the Orania Movement - a movement to build a viable and stable homeland for the Afrikaner similar to the ethnic enclaves of the countries of Lesotho and Swaziland.
This is the first part of a two part interview with Jan Menger of the Orania Movement.
CP: Glad you could take time and talk to us. Could you give us a intro to yourself and what you do?
I’ve long been fascinated by Afrikaans. I remember that I was in high school when I first heard about the language. I learned about the East India Company and the Dutch Golden Age. Our people traveled and explored the world. At the Cape of Good Hope we established a trading post, what would grow into a significant settlement of Afrikaners.
Reading more about it, I learned that today the African National Congress (ANC) and the South African government is suppressing the Afrikaners, their culture and language. At first it sounded as if it was a degree of readjustment following the stormy period of apartheid ending in South Africa, but then I realized it was more than that. So I thought, I’m going to do something about it.
From my own country, the Netherlands, I work to build awareness of the situation and to make people conscious of the serious problems for Afrikaners in South Africa. The media conceals a great deal when it comes to South Africa.
Within a short period of time I was able to meet important people who are also working on this issue. I have talked to many different people, from influential politicians to well-known Afrikaners. I’m honored to do this work.CP: So what is the Orania movement?
JCM: One first has to understand what it means to call oneself a movement: there must be a progressive intention. In the case of Orania, people want a safe haven for Afrikaners, where they can speak their language, have faith in what they believe and continue their traditions in safety and unity.
Orania is an Afrikaner town and small region in the Northern Cape province. The purpose of the village is to create a center for Afrikaners and Afrikaner identity by keeping the language and culture alive. Anyone who defines himself as an Afrikaner may live in Orania.
Often the media describe Orania region where apartheid is maintained, but that's simply not the case. Orania distinguishes itself by a place where Afrikaner traditions and speaking Afrikaans are valued. It is peaceful, and has nothing to do with apartheid.
Orania also has good relationships with other ethnic groups in the Northern Cape province, groups that are also treated as minorities by the current ANC government. Orania is always looking not only to protect its own people, but to collect ideas from all over the world to protect South African cultural heritage. That is what I call a movement.
In early 2016, I was invited to a meeting in Ghent, Flanders. There, we founded the Orania Movement Europe. The idea was to bring Europe closer to the Orania Movement in South Africa.
It is very difficult an organization such as the Orania Movement to build support from the other side of the world. We want to serve as a European department of the original organization in South Africa. We want to reach smaller European pro-Afrikaner organizations and build a network. If this succeeds, it is not only easier for Orania to reach Europe, but also easier for the smaller pro-Afrikaner groups in Europe to reach Orania and South Africa in general. For now, we are still busy with the formation and building a strategy for the organization, but I am convinced we will be able to do something soon for Orania and the Afrikaners in South Africa.
We — not just in the Netherlands, but also in Belgium, Germany, France and the United Kingdom — all have links to the Europeans of South Africa. It would be strange if these countries didn’t feel the need to do something for the country and the people to which they are so related.
Part II follows Wednesday
Jan Cornelis Menger is founder of founder of AfrikanerHart and co-founder of Orania Movement Europe. You can find out more about his work at AfrikanerHart and Orania Movement Europe.