Orania community lauded

2007-06-11 19:23

Bloemfontein - The Northern Cape Afrikaner enclave of Orania received a visit from the predominantly coloured community of Eersterus, outside Pretoria, at the weekend.

Orania Movement spokesperson Eleanor Lombard said the two groups came together to discuss community development.

"Both communities strive towards greater self-sufficiency and the conversations centred on mechanisms to promote this," she said in a statement on Monday.

Bridgette MacKay, on behalf of the Eersterus residents who visited Orania, said the unemployment rate in her community was very high and leaders had turned to the University of Pretoria for help with self-reliance development projects and businesses.

"You cannot wait for government," said MacKay.

She said the community asked the university project leaders about successful self-reliance projects, and Orania was mentioned.

"We wanted to know how Orania started their businesses on their own and how they got on with it," said MacKay.

'Self-reliance is not an easy road'

Lombard said the visiting delegation was made up of Eersetrus community leaders as well as representatives from the Tshwane municipality and the University of Pretoria.

She said besides in-depth discussions, the visitors were taken on an extensive tour of community projects in Orania.

"Although Eersterus, as an urban community, differs from Orania as a rural community, they face similar challenges and problems which were discussed," said Lombard.

"Self-reliance is not an easy road."

Lombard said the need to strengthen the local economy within their communities was emphasised.

"The consensus between the visitors and the hosts was that success rested with a community's desire and dedication to launch and complete developmental projects."

According to Lombard, the visitors were "slightly hesitant about the visit but were pleasantly surprised" and had a good time.

"The reception was good," said MacKay.

"We definitely learned from the experience and we experienced no racial tension."

MacKay said the group, 10 women and two men, were from Riverside Heights in Eersterus.

A nursery school recently established in Eersterus also received a donation from Orania in support of community development projects.