Jul 30 2013

Guardian: Welcome to Kleinfontein, lingering outpost of apartheid South Africa

At the entrance to the rural settlement of Kleinfontein is a well-kept shrine to the primary architect of apartheid. Nearby rests an old wheelbarrow, a symbol of the white Afrikaners who once ruled the country. Inside the coffee shop, at the bank, everywhere, there are only white faces. A white security guard, wearing grey camouflage, checks cars at a gate on the main road. Race is a key factor for entry. No blacks are allowed to buy or rent houses.

Two decades after the end of apartheid, a system of brutally enforced segregation, this hamlet exemplifies the deep racial divides that still preoccupy South Africa. The existence of Kleinfontein and places like it has set off a debate about the type of country that South Africa should be today.

As Nelson Mandela, the country’s first black president, battles a serious lung infection, many South Africans are examining whether their nation has lived up to his vision of equality, engaging in conversations about race, politics and the economy. That has drawn new attention to all-white communities and the festering legacy of apartheid.

To blacks, Kleinfontein is a remnant of a painful past, a gated community of whites determined to perpetuate racist, apartheid-era practices. The several hundred whites who live there say they need to safeguard their Dutch-based Afrikaner culture and language and seek refuge from affirmative action policies and high crime rates that they blame on blacks. They insist that they are not racist, noting that they don’t welcome Jews, Catholics or any English speakers, either.

Under apartheid, the white Afrikaner-led government forced blacks to live in homelands to separate the races. Today, the residents of Kleinfontein say the creation of Afrikaner homelands is the best way for South Africa to progress under the black-led government of the ruling African National Congress party.

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2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Guardian: Welcome to Kleinfontein, lingering outpost of apartheid South Africa”

  1. Ross Moodliaron 31 Jul 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Deep racial divide??? I think not. Dont judge our country because a few sour apples still live in the past. The majority of South Africans respect each other. I love my country stuff like this hurts… there is no place for those people in SA.

  2. Ross Moodliaron 31 Jul 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Deep racial divide??? I think not. Dont judge our country because a few sour grapes still live in the past. The majority of South Africans respect each other. I love my country stuff like this hurts… There is no place for those people in SA they should leave.