Inside Orania, South Africa's whites-only town
Updated 4:46 AM ET, Tue December 20, 2016
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(CNN)Orania is not prime real estate by any stretch of the imagination.
The settlement west of the Orange River in Northern Cape, South Africa lies on arid and weather-beaten land; baked by the harsh summer sun and frigid through the dry winter. It's farmable, but not easy, requiring strong backs and callused hands.
Rising above the scrub the town's symbol flutters atop a flagpole, a young boy rolling up his sleeves, preparing to knuckle down and transform this landscape. It's a romanticized image for a romanticized notion: a place where Afrikaners can be Afrikaners. Tough, resourceful and making do; descendants of Dutch settlers and proud of it.
A remote farming town of approximately 1,300, Orania by this description is unremarkable. Except it is not. Instead, the community has gained a notoriety beyond its modest means as a parochial enclave within the Rainbow Nation, where the dream of an Afrikaner state is alive and well.
Orania, you might have guessed, is Afrikaner-only. And by extension, whites-only.
It's also growing.
Beginning life in 1990 during the last gasps of apartheid, the Afrikaner town was the brainchild of Carel Boshoff III. The son-in-law of H.F. Verwoerd, the architect of apartheid, he and a number of families purchased an abandoned workers' village with lofty ambitions that one day hundreds of thousands of Afrikaners might call it home.
When Boshoff III died in 2011, his son Carel Jr. assumed presidency of the Orania Movement, the political arm of the community. Today he is their lead spokesperson and first line of defense -- a man whose job it is to intellectualize the argument for self-imposed segregation.
Boshoff IV, along with dozens of others, was interviewed by Swedish journalist and author Kajsa Norman while researching for her latest book "Bridge Over Blood River: The Rise and Fall of the Afrikaners." Norman spent two stretches in Orania.
"When I first arrived in South Africa people didn't want to talk about Orania at all, didn't want to acknowledge that it existed," she tells CNN. "Many people were ashamed I think."
Orania's supporters are quick to point out that it exists within the parameters of the law. The post-apartheid government allowed for the concept of an Afrikaner state within the new constitution under freedom of self-determination on cultural and linguistic grounds.
Mpho Mogale, municipal manager and information officer of Thembelihle Local Municipality (in which the town is located), confirmed to CNN that "Orania exists legally," citing a 2000 Northern Cape High Court case adjourned "sine die" (without a further hearing date), when Orania fought incorporation into its newly demarked municipality.