The Reintegration of the South African Order

On Afrikaners’ Strategy: How Greater Demographic Concentration Is Key

“No one is going to give you political order. You have to create it, but you can’t do it alone. This hyper-individualistic idea that you can just be completely self-sufficient, live off the grid, and that you are untouchable, isn’t a means of organizing a society. To prosper, you’ve got to organize with other people.”
– Russell Lamberti, Selfbestuur

Last year in IM—1776 I offered an overview of what AfriForum and the wider Solidarity Movement is doing to prepare for South Africa’s future in the form of community-based, decentralized, state-proof solutions. We are pioneering a new political paradigm, which requires a major shift in how Afrikaners, and Westerners at large, think about solution-building and influencing reality in modern times. 

Flip Buys, Chairperson of the Solidarity Movement, captures the essence of this shift: “People sometimes ask us why we don’t throw our hat in the ring of party politics. The answer is twofold and simple. Firstly, our impact as a movement weighs much more than our numbers. Secondly, if you are asking that question, you greatly underestimate our ambitions.”

The Union- and later Republic of South Africa has been unstable since birth. Its size and level of complexity are closer to a region like North Africa, Western Europe, or Southeast Asia than a single country (hence why the name “South Africa” itself is more akin to that of a region). The country covers a total surface area equivalent to Germany, the UK, Italy, Greece, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Ireland, and Denmark combined. On top of that, this vast territory contains dozens of different cultures and eleven official languages. The fragility of the national state was built into its foundations and has defined the position of the communities contained within it. As Seneca noted: “Fate guides the willing, the reluctant it drags.”

How should you react when your communities are situated within the territory of a teetering state doomed to collapse? Emigration is a medium-term, individual-level solution, but it is not a long-term option for most collective identities. Afrikaner emigrants to Western countries tend to almost completely assimilate into their host nation’s culture within just one or two generations. Therefore, the question Afrikaners currently face is: How do you build a future as a large community of people with a Western heritage when they are living as a minority in one of the world’s first post-Western countries?

Afrikaners’ key demographic challenge is not about numbers. There are more Afrikaners today (between 2,5 and 3 million) than the population of many countries. The key challenge is dispersion across the surface area of southern Africa. Addressing this dilemma is the crux of Flip Buys’ book, Die pad na selfbestuur (The Road to Self-Governance): “Demographics is the river within which history flows,” Buys writes, “the future of Afrikaners is therefore undeniably dependent on greater concentration.” Where your people live in high concentrations, you can start to create a reality. Homesteading can be a workable solution for a household, but it cannot save a community, a culture or a civilization. 

With these realities in mind, AfriForum has identified towns, cities and regions where large numbers of Afrikaners already reside. Through the organization and development of such anchor communities, we are creating safe harbors for Afrikaners where they can live securely, with the guarantee of basic services like water and electricity, a functional sewage system, and effective security structures; where their children can receive education in their mother tongue and learn about their history; where the elderly can retire in peace; where Afrikaner heritage, monuments, and statues are appreciated, preserved, and new ones erected.

The second step involves establishing a network and growing cooperation between these anchor communities. This is particularly effective for anchor communities in close proximity, such as in Pretoria, where more than 500,000 Afrikaners currently reside. Afrikaner numbers here are increasing, not only because they are having more children, but also because, according to the Solidarity Research Institute, Pretoria is the place to which most Afrikaners have semigrated in recent years. 

AfriForum has already identified 14 viable anchor communities in Pretoria that, with increased cooperation, have the potential to eventually form a cultural canton. Rather than try in vain to calm the tempestuous seas, the goal is to establish stable points of order in which communities can survive and ultimately thrive. Success is not guaranteed and everything we build can be destroyed by man or nature, like the abandoned houses of Kolmanskop, which have been reclaimed and swallowed by the merciless dunes of the Namib Desert. Dropping anchor in a storm will not always save you, but without one, sinking into the abyss is almost certain.

Orania, an Afrikaner town in the Karoo desert, has embodied the principle of de facto preceding de jure since its creation. In 2000, when the ANC government mandated that every piece of land must be administered by a municipality, the residents of Orania were able to obtain a court judgment that allowed them to take responsibility for their own services. This was made possible by the fact that its people had been working hard to independently provide their own services since the town’s founding in 1991. In 2022, the de jure reality further adapted to Orania’s de facto reality, through a formal agreement of independence with the Thembelihle Local Municipality, under whose authority they were supposed to fall. The people of Orania did not wait for the regulatory reality to grant them permission. They simply created their own reality, which the state had no choice but to acknowledge.

Just like the people of Orania, AfriForum and the Solidarity Movement aren’t asking for permission. Our future is too important to leave up to the whims of the state. With the deterioration of government capacity also comes growing opportunities for decentralization of power and creating facts on the ground. Our strategy instead involves the creation of a reality so resilient that the government has no choice but to recognize it as legitimate. With neighborhood watches, for example, we grow them to a point where we can simply inform the state of their existence and offer assistance and cooperation where possible. If AfriForum waited for a formal government green light to establish our neighborhood watches, we would still have a total of zero neighborhood watches, instead of 165+, our current numbers. 

The future of the country is a “desert of disorder” containing “oases of order,” writes Professor Koos Malan in an article titled The Disintegration of the South African Order. For generations, coastal communities in South Africa have built harbors to protect against the chaotic ocean. But the battle between chaos and order in South Africa is only just beginning. A huge responsibility now rests on our shoulders, and we must be willing to risk failure. For in the great historical relay race where the stakes are high, the enemy is unforgiving and the result is final, every generation only gets one chance to grasp the baton and safely hand it over to the next. Our cooperative actions, not those of an isolated few, will determine our legacy and the length of our chapter in the annals of history.

Read also: A Time to Dig Trenches

Ernst van Zyl is a Campaigns Officer for strategy and content at AfriForum.

Scroll to top