WATCH | From infrastructure to load-shedding: Inside Gayton McKenzie’s visit to Orania

08 May 2023 - 09:39
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Gayton McKenzie recently visited the Afrikaner town of Orania, with the Patriotic Alliance (PA) leader saying he was surprised by some of the things he saw. 

McKenzie visited the town in the Northern Cape to learn more about it and explore the possibility of unity in a divided South Africa. 

“I want to understand Orania beyond the headlines, beyond the racist tag. I have heard about Orania from media, commentators and social media. I decided I must hear the side of Oranians themselves, hence my visit,” he said.

McKenzie arrived in Orania on Saturday, visiting “the whole day and slept over”.

He said his experience in the town may not be the same as others', but he found the residents friendly and welcoming.

“I cannot say with absolute certainty my experience in Orania will be the experience of any other black person. I found the people very friendly and everyone greeted everyone,” said McKenzie. 

“The saddest part about Orania is that they are doing exactly what we should be doing in South Africa, which is building infrastructure and technical schools and empowering people to have dreams. I met the leaders of Orania and they are all very idealistic. It is a pity it is only for Afrikaners”

Here are some things that stood out for McKenzie about the town:


Like the rest of the country, Orania experiences load-shedding. 

McKenzie said Orania was in the process of purchasing a battery costing about R25m to become totally grid independent.

“Most roofs have solar panels and residents sell electricity back to [the] municipality,” said McKenzie. 

“Orania is settled on 800 hectares bought for R1m from government. More land was purchased subsequently. An out-of-court settlement was reached for Orania to have its own municipality, municipal manager and staff. Councillors do not get paid.”


McKenzie sang the town’s praises regarding infrastructure and technical schools.

He, however, lamented that it was for “whites only”.

“Only white people are allowed to live in Orania. The rulers of this town are not forthright about the fact that blacks cannot buy property or stay here. They hide behind vetting, culture, tradition and rules but Orania is for whites only.”

Not inclusive

McKenzie said there was merit in the town’s argument that it preserves the Afrikaner language and heritage.

He said he did not see members of the LGBTQI+ community, and was allegedly told they were not welcome.

Clean town

McKenzie said the town was immaculately clean.

“Orania is the cleanest town I ever visited. Recycling starts at your house and bin. The town is litter-free,” he said

“Orania is also a huge construction site, with new infrastructure being added to keep up with the demand for more houses. The population stands at 3,000 people.”

White workers and house prices

He said all work in the town was done by white people. 

“They make their own chocolates, toffee and beer. The town is growing at a phenomenal rate and house prices are extremely high, hence you have international companies competing with local property companies,” said McKenzie.

“Oranians constructed two private schools and a technical college with plans to build a university soon. Afrikaans is the only language being taught and spoken here. The school parking lot resembles a showroom of Range Rovers, BMWs [and] bakkies when parents pick up children

“Orania has huge factories, thriving restaurants, guest houses and an investment arm to help people arriving in Orania with nothing. Many, including myself, mistook this town as something stuck in the past. Far from it. This town is futuristic and is working, hence the housing demand.”


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