Inside South Africa’s whites-only town of Orania

In the sparsely populated Karoo desert in the heart of South Africa’s Northern Cape, the spirit of apartheid lives on.

I spent a few days in Orania, a town established in 1991 where no black people live. I was part of a BBC crew, including Zimbabwean journalist Stanley Kwenda, who were accredited to visit. And during that time, Stanley and I were the only black people in the town of 1,000 – an unusual experience in modern South Africa.

It is an Afrikaner-only town, where only Afrikaans is spoken, because of fears about “diluting culture”. “We do not fit in easily in the new South Africa. It [Orania] was an answer to not dominating others and not being dominated by others,” says Carel Boshoff Jr, the community leader.

Mr Boshoff is one of the leaders of the town founded by his father Carel Boshoff Snr, an Afrikaner intellectual and son-in-law of apartheid architect, Hendrik Verwoerd.

The town was founded by Mr Boshoff Snr as a registered company shortly before white-minority rule ended in the rest of the country. Mr Verwoerd’s grandson tells me that his people were faced with a tough question about their future when the black government was elected in 1994.

“In terms of Afrikaners who had been standing very close to the state, when the policies such as black economic empowerment and affirmative action came into place, Afrikaners needed to seriously think about their future. It wouldn’t make sense not to,” he said. Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) was introduced to encourage more black participation in business.

Read more at the BBC.