Editorial: White separatists not what we need

It is not surprising given the nature of the project that plans for a controversial, whites-only settlement near Willowmore have suffered a setback.

But what is surprising is that Die Eden Projek leader Jaqui Gradwell firmly believes his dream will be still be realised – and soon.

Though the initial deal for an Orania-style enclave at Alberts Park farm near Willowmore has fallen through, Gradwell says he and his members have a shortlist of other farms in the area and hope to move onto their new land in a matter of weeks.

One wonders how the Paul Kruger look-alike who has been living in a Uniondale caravan park with his family for the last three weeks will manage this, given that the initial deal fell through because the R200 000 guarantee he was meant to provide for the sale of the land did not materialise.

Gradwell, meanwhile, says there were other reasons why he walked away from the deal.

For starters, it seems he underestimated the number of people who would leap at the chance to live out their days in his curious outpost of a white Utopia.

Even so, Gradwell believes some 40 000 people, over time, will not be an unrealistic number for his Eden Projek.

Someone should point out to him that the Northern Cape whites-only town of Orania, presumably a model with which he would identify, has scarcely 1 000 residents today – a far cry from the 60 000 its founders imagined it would have by the mid-2000s.

We are living in a time when much of the free world seems to be becoming increasingly polarised. Racial and religious intolerance is cropping up wherever you look, including in countries held up for so long as models of equality and democracy.

Freedom in our own country was hard fought; great sacrifices were made to build a nation in which everyone could be equal.

And, though racism is far from dead, and many are disillusioned for a variety of reasons (not least our economy and the pathetic state of our leadership), we have proven to the world that we can all live in relative harmony.

The last thing South Africa needs is a bunch of out-of-touch separatists like Gradwell and his ilk.

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