Thabo Mbeki meets with the pre

Carel Boshoff, (left) with former president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki (center). Photo via Orania Facebook page

Thabo Mbeki meets with the president of Orania

Thabo Mbeki and Afrikaner nationalism – a meeting of polar opposites.

Thabo Mbeki meets with the pre

Carel Boshoff, (left) with former president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki (center). Photo via Orania Facebook page

The former president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki, has met with Carel Boshoff, the leader of Orania, the independent Afrikaner community nestled in the Northern Cape.

While the somewhat peculiar meeting has been questioned and criticised by hardliners on both ends of the political and cultural spectrum; Boshoff has maintained the importance of engaging with public influencers.

According to a Facebook post published by Orania, Boshoff and Mbeki convened a meeting to discuss the challenges, aspirations and purpose of the Afrikaner community within South Africa.

Thabo Mbeki engages with the Orania Movement

The Orania Movement is aimed at Afrikaner self-determination, through maintaining independent control over an all-white enclave situated on the banks of the Orange River.

Orania has faced fierce criticism for its rejection of the South African Rainbow Nation concept, with adversaries pointing to the movement’s racial and cultural bias as a dangerous rhetoric, reminiscent of apartheid South Africa.

For that reason, the meeting between the two figureheads has raised a few eyebrows. Mbeki, who was the South African head of state from 1999 to 2008, was a fierce proponent of black economic empowerment (BEE) during his tenure.

Boshoff maintains that his meeting with Mbeki was innocuous – a simple and frank discussion about the current socio-political climate within the country.

Orania’s official Facebook post regarding the get-together reads:

“Mr Carel Boshoff, President of the Orania Movement, recently met with former President of South Africa, Mr Thabo Mbeki, to talk about our aspirations, the Afrikaner’s current challenges and our role in Africa.

The Orania Movement follows an approach to continuous liaison with all role players. Mr Boshoff goes to Sweden today to explain the Afrikaner’s position in South Africa and to seek support for our pursuit of self-determination.”

Orania: The centre for Afrikaner nationalism

The independent settlement of Orania has a total of 1 400 permanent residents, with more than 10 000 registered supporters that agree with the sentiment of Afrikaner sovereignty.

According to Orania’s official website:

“During the eighties, many Afrikaner leaders began to realize that the then current political system was not sustainable and that a unique solution should be developed to ensure the future of Afrikaners.

The idea of an autonomous territory for Afrikaners was conceived and Orania was bought in 1991.

If one contemplates the collapse of the Afrikaner’s cultural symbols, monuments, language and traditions, we realize once again that the Afrikaner can only survive if he occupies his own territory where language, culture, traditions and beliefs are protected and expanded and are practised fully without discrimination.”

Boshoff responded to criticism pertaining to the conference by saying:

“If someone is not your friend, he does not necessarily have to be your enemy. Put differently: neutralize enemies wherever you can. Make friends wherever possible. Someone like Mr Mbeki has no power but [he has] influence.”

The meeting between Boshoff and Mbeki comes in the wake of another convening of cultures, that of AfriForum and Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini.

Both parties met last month and discussed issues regarding land expropriation without compensation, as well as positive collaboration between the Zulu nation and the Afrikaner community.