Carel Boshoff | S. African separatist, 83

Posted: March 17, 2011

Carel Boshoff, 83, the founder of South Africa's whites-only, separatist town Orania, died of cancer Wednesday.

Dr. Boshoff founded the privately owned town of 900 people, in South Africa's northern province, in 1991 as South Africa transitioned from a white-ruled apartheid government to a democracy. Orania's goal was to preserve the culture of Afrikaners, one of South Africa's white minority groups. Its residents speak Afrikaans, sing traditional folk songs, attend the Dutch Reformed Church, and celebrate Afrikaans holidays.

Although Dr. Boshoff championed the exclusive community, he wasn't a typical white separatist. A professor of theology, he worked in Soweto, one of South Africa's largest black townships, and was paid visits by prominent members of South Africa's black majority party. Visitors included South Africa's first black president, Nelson Mandela, current President Jacob Zuma, and other political leaders within mostly black South Africa.

The youth league of the African National Congress released a statement Wednesday that said the youth league was saddened by the news of his death, and that unlike other right-wing forces, Dr. Boshoff was "always willing to engage with other people." The statement said Dr. Boshoff had "maximum prospects of understanding and embracing nonracialism." - AP

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