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Preserve the Afrikaner Culture in Orania

Hierde artikel is geskryf deur James Read wat die afgelope 8 jaar Dean of Students / Assistant director of Christ for the Nations Institute by die Dallas Baptist University in Texas, VSA, is. Die artikel het ook ‘n tesis gevorm wat hy by die universiteit ingedien het. Wat ook veral interessant is, is dat Read homself beskryf as “'n boerseun van Pretoria”. Hy is getroud met 'n Brasiliaanse meisie wat hy in Texas ontmoet het. Read kan gekontak word by Hierdie e-posadres word van Spambotte beskerm. Jy moet JavaScript ontsper om dit te lees. of Hierdie e-posadres word van Spambotte beskerm. Jy moet JavaScript ontsper om dit te lees. of 214 302 6482 in Texas. In a recent publication of Elle magazine, Elizabeth Griffin concludes that “beauty is diversity.” With so many different cultures, languages, and skin colors framing our reality, diversity is the fragrance that shapes us, and that blends us all together. Thousands of languages and hundreds of nations bring color, and individually contribute to a rainbow of differences. The Afrikaners of Orania on the southern tip of the African continent, one of the many cultural groups that form part of society, is a group in a fight for cultural survival. This is a fight to preserve the Afrikaner culture, a fight to keep their relevance, and a fight for their piece of the rainbow. The Afrikaners of Orania should be allowed to practice their culture without reservation. Tuning into the evening news or flipping through the pages of the daily papers is a reminder of the racial and cultural tensions that shape society. The lack of tolerance for one another is at an all time high. Minority groups across the world are fighting for recognition and survival. The global push for uniformity is rampant, and with this comes the threat of cultural irrelevance of many minority groups around the world. Laws of restraint that determine and outline the way that these minorities should govern their lives are dictated without compromise. Blame is easily passed on those groups that fail to live up to these restraints and terms such as “racist” and “prejudiced” are used to label those who fail to live up to expectations. The Afrikaner people of Orania are one of those groups who find themselves in a battle for cultural survival. Many white South Africans have had to look for opportunities abroad due to Black Economic Empowerment policies implemented by the South African government, a sky high crime rate, and rampant farm murders against white, South African farmers. These are just some of the factors that have placed the survival of the Afrikaner culture at serious risk. As the Afrikaner culture of South Africa has slowly been influenced and absorbed, and Afrikaner immigration has soared due to the paralyzing Affirmative Action policies, the Afrikaners of Orania are trying to preserve what is left of Afrikaner culture. Afrikaners are the descendants of the Dutch settlers that colonized South Africa in 1652. This people group has developed a language that is based on Dutch, and they have shaped their own culture that is defined by joyous ceremonial dances, sumptuous food and desserts, a love for community and family, deep religious convictions, and hard work. Numerous non-Afrikaners have visited this Afrikaner enclave in Orania and the feedback has been very positive. A common consensus is that Orania will love and share its culture warmly, with great hospitality and respect. On a recent visit to Orania, the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, seemed “to better understand the desire of a people to remain a people and preserve their culture” (Page). It is no surprise that the Afrikaners of Orania are continuing to carry the torch of hospitality that has shaped the Afrikaner people for centuries, but it is sad that the President fails to live up to his words by constantly threatening the confiscation of white land without compensation from so many hard-working Afrikaners, and doing nothing about the modern day genocide against white farmers in South Africa. Why is it that this community has been under constant scrutiny for trying to preserve their culture? Why are they questioned for trying their best to take care of their cultural survival and safety? We live in a society that advocates for cultural uniformity. A respected publication has uncovered some serious political probabilities and write that “the U.N. vote is about to put America and the world on the fast track to a one-world government” (Hohmann). The formation of the United Nations and a common European currency are just a few examples of the movement toward uniformity. Is there a deep underlying motive of governments and world leaders that is cutting the throats of cultural minorities worldwide, and erasing the beauty of diversity in a push for global uniformity? The way that the world government has gone about their business and their lack of having the interest of their constituents in mind has certainly warranted the skepticism of the writer. Because of the lack of tolerance for diversity, offense runs rampant. In South Africa, the slightest disagreement or action that is not agreeable is branded as “racist” or presumed to have an ulterior motive. One can hardly drink a cup of white coffee without having an ulterior motive. The system allows for offense to be taken and is freely supported, which justifies the right to feel offended. Where does this form of intolerance for diversity and lack of accommodation for cultural differences come from? In a country that is rampant with crime and has one of the worst murder rates in the world, one can hardly blame the Afrikaners of Orania for choosing to settle in a tiny country town outside of Hopetown, far from the governmental and moral corruption, and rampant crime rates in the city. The history of South Africa and the recent scars of apartheid are still open wounds for many that were affected by racial segregation. Prior to the first democratic election in 1994 there was a lack of basic human rights for some of the citizens of South Africa. Many black South Africans were racially oppressed. The writers strongly condemn the oppression of black South Africans prior to the release of Nelson Mandela in 1990. Today, post-apartheid South Africa is a multi-cultural society, and home to eleven official languages. It is called the Rainbow Nation and is a melting pot of diversity. Among many other cultures it is home to the Zulu, Pedi, Xhosa, Khoi, and the Afrikaner. It is understandable how a push for white cultural preservation can be questioned and scrutinized, because it was the white government that applied the apartheid laws upon black South Africans. It can certainly be looked upon with much skepticism for a group of white South Africans to now advocate for cultural relevance and preservation by forming a uniform community. It could have grim resemblances to apartheid South Africa. It could bring back the painful memories that many black South Africans had to deal with for so many years. Why would these Afrikaners not want to be part of a modern day Rainbow Nation? Lebron James recently became the victim of race-related hatred and was quoted as saying that “it just goes to show racism will always be part of the world” (Rogers). It is unfortunate that such an icon was not able to play a unifying role in a time that needed it most. What James failed to add was that these acts by a minority of extremists do not represent and reflect the behavior of the majority of people, much like the Afrikaners of Orania do not reflect or represent the former apartheid government. South Africa has a rough past in terms of race-relations and is still healing from the hurts. Like in many other parts of the world, there are extremists who do not tolerate diversity or respect other races and cultures. Take the Ku Klux Klan and the Black Panthers of America, for example, but just like the Klan and Panthers do not represent most Americans, the Afrikaners of Orania do not represent extremists. Due to the racial prejudices that still exist worldwide, no accommodation is made for the Afrikaners of Orania who do not have an agenda other than to live life in peace, to practice their religious convictions, to work hard, and to preserve their culture and language. To deny a group the right to preserve their culture, and to constantly question their motive for choosing to do life within their cultural boundaries is discrimination. Under the apartheid system there was not a lot of accommodation made for diversity. Separate public swimming areas and denial of basic human rights, such as participating in the democratic process was the norm of the day. Why is this form of intolerance for diversity replicated in the post-apartheid South Africa? Two wrongs don’t make a right. Racism and prejudice will always be a part of humanity and this is unfortunate, but the desire to preserve culture cannot be put under the same banner as racism. The United States Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs notes that “cultural heritage endures as a reminder of the contributions and historical experiences of humanity” (Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs). The right for self-preservation and cultural practice should be a basic human right that is granted to the Afrikaner community of Orania, much like accommodation is made for the Amish communities of the United States. It seems like the American government has made the necessary accommodation for the Amish and Native Indians to freely practice their culture without reservation. Why are the Afrikaners of Orania not allowed to do the same? The Afrikaner community of Orania has been accused of being a race-driven community because they have chosen to create a community that puts Afrikaner cultural values, their language, and the Afrikaner ethics as a guideline for their day-to-day living. Major news networks have run some stories about this community in Orania. It was surprising how opinionated and politically slanted these reports were. A news network that wrote an article stating that this is a “whites-only town”, unfortunately failed to recognize that this town is open to people from all races. Spokesperson for Orania, James Kemp, recently said, that “anyone that is willing to integrate into that, regardless of skin color, will be welcome in Orania” (Bauer). The truth is that the Afrikaners of Orania are some of the most welcoming people and have hosted numerous black government leaders and visitors with open arms and huge smiles. With all the media and political attention that this tiny minority of Afrikaners are receiving, there remain many unanswered questions about the motive of those media outlets and politicians involved. The linguistic society of America notes that, “what makes languages distinct from one another turns out to be much more a social and political issue than a linguistic one” (Anderson). In an attempt to unify humanity, there has been a lot of pressure for uniformity among culture, not only in South Africa, but worldwide. Governments around the world are in endless discussions about worldwide unity, but what they do not seem to understand is that unity and uniformity are two uniquely different things. Why do we all have to be the same? Surely, we were created by a creator who found the greatest beauty in diversity. On the topic of cultural diversity, Kaplan University has concluded that, “culture is that which shapes us; it shapes our identity and influences our behavior” (Belfield). Culture is what makes us who we are. It is beautiful. It would be great if total unity could prevail on Earth, if people groups and races could live in harmony, if accommodation could be made for one another, and if there could be a common respect for others, their culture, and their way of doing things. Do we have to be uniform to be united? Surely not. If everyone spoke the same language and everyone wore the same clothes, would the heart be healed? If everyone ate the same food and was the same skin tone, would the world be a better place? If everyone was uniform we would still be dealing with the humanity inside us all. There is no guarantee that uniformity breeds contentment. The solution to peaceful unity is not in scrutinizing and questioning the motives of people groups. Accommodation should be made for people groups to practice their right of freedom. Homogenous groups should be allowed to live life in the context of their worldview. This view should not encourage segregation and racism, and it should treat others the way that they would like to be treated. Accommodating one another with respect edifies diversity and reminds us how beautiful it is. The solution to the problems that we deal with is not to fit everyone into a mold of commonality, but it is to allow diversity to express itself freely. People should be held accountable for the way they treat other cultures and there should be no tolerance for racial prejudice, but to throw the baby out with the bathwater and place strict restrictions around people that suffocates their ability to live within the boundaries of their cultural conviction is tantamount to genocide. It kills - just at a slower pace. No people group (regardless of race, culture, or language) should be oppressed and discarded. Sadly, it is the minorities like the Afrikaners of Orania that are being kicked while they are already down. Much like this Afrikaner community has embraced and loved visitors from all walks of life, black and white, they should be treated the same way. Works Cited “Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation.” Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs - United States Department of State. Accessed 7 July 2017. Anderson, Steven. “How many Languages are there in the world?” Linguistic Society of America, n.d. Bauer, Nickolaus. “Preserving Orania - where Afrikaner purists feel at home.” ENCA, 17 May 2017. Belfield, Lisa. “Cultural Diversity: Imagine All the People.” Kaplan University, n.d. Griffin, Elizabeth. “21 Portraits of Beauty Around the World.” ELLE, February 19, 2015. Hohmann, Leo. “Obama Puts U.S. On ‘Fast Track’ To World Government.” World Net Daily, September30, 2015. Page, Thomas. “Inside Orania, South Africa's whites-only town.” CNN, December 20, 2016. Rogers, Martin. “LeBron on vandalism incident: 'Racism will always be part of the world’.” USA TODAY, May 31, 2017.
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