Devote Your Life to a Cause: The Lesson of Nelson Mandela, According to Orania

The one lesson to learn from the life of Nelson Mandela is that one can devote one’s like to cause in which you believe, and that success can follow, even if at first it seems impossible, according to the leader of the Afrikaner Orania movement.


Writing in Afrikaans on the official Orania blog, Carel Boshoff IV, president of the Orania Movement, which has built a 1,000-strong Afrikaner town in South Africa’s northern Cape, said that Mandela’s death “ushers in a new era in South Africa.

“Firstly, it is important that we take [19th century Boer president] Paul Kruger’s advice, namely that of taking the best from the past and building a future upon it.

“We will do this by taking Mr. Mandela’s own argument a logical step further, and using his behaviour towards Orania to our advantage,” Mr Boshoff said.

“It comes down to the following: Mr. Mandela wanted a legacy of reconciliation. We say reconciliation is a good thing, but it can only be built upon recognition, which is the foundation of freedom.

“Naturally, the precondition is that you cannot claim recognition unless you are also prepared to give it: that is why are prepared to grant to Mr Mandela the recognition of a fallen opponent.

“Secondly, we must realize that the transition to majority rule was founded on an understanding which will now, with Mr. Mandela’s death, be moved to even further into the background.

“It is an open secret that the relationship between the ANC and its ruling alliance partners has been under great pressure recently, and that its conciliatory attitude is quickly being forgotten.

“This can heighten tension—including between whites and blacks in South Africa. Although it might not necessarily lead to an immediate surge in violence, Afrikaners, as a vulnerable, small, and dispersed population element in South Africa, should be giving serious attention to their security.

“While we encourage Afrikaners to be ready for any eventuality, we know that the only permanent assurance of our safety and survival is tied up with the occupation, operation and control of, its own territory.

“Therefore, we in Orania are continuously and increasingly ready to develop new and more comprehensive ways to meet our peoples’ needs. We are after all, not here for ourselves, but for our people.

“Thirdly, we must be like the farmer in the mythological story of Icarus. When the latter fell into the sea after his wings melted because he flew too close to the sun, the farmer carried on plowing.

“It is good to take note of important events that take place around us, but it is even better to stay level-headed and keep doing what we do—namely, to keep building up our growth point of an Afrikaner nation state with all our passion and strength.

“If there is something we can learn from Mr Mandela, it is that you can devote your life to a cause in which you believe, and that success can follow, even if at first it seems impossible.”

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