When it comes to documentaries on different cultures, they do not come much different than Orania. Set centrally in South Africa, Orania is a privately owned town set up by Carell Boshoff in 1990. Boshoff’s vision was to create a place for traditional (white) Africaner’s to live.
Set behind a fence, the Afrikaners residents of Orania live the lives they believe in, a completely self-sufficient principality (if that’s the way you choose to live it), they even have their own currency. If you life in Orania you must live by the laws and rules set out, of which the roots are based fairly traditionally in the origins of the original Afrikaneer settlers.
Filmmaker Tobias Lindner has set about showing what life is like in this usually very shut off community, to hopefully show the world what the town is like, and dispel the many myths that surround the community. Orania is known all over Africa, but know for different reasons, some think it’s a dictatorship, others a sort of left over Nazi regime, many think they have close links with the devil, but the reality is, Orania is a place that just believes in a much simpler more innocent time, while trying to keep the Afrikaner traditions and race alive, in a nation that saw a decline in the practice.
There is of course a dark side; if you cannot speak the Afrikaan you are not necessarily welcome there. The radio station plays traditional (fairly churchy sounding) music and it’s programming of said radio station is a little “organized”. You also get a very clear image of what might happen to you (nothing that unpleasant) if you fail to comply with the rules of Orania.
The movie is an inspiring look at life, it’s interesting, and well balanced, it shows you a view of life from the inside and the outside, and is competently shot. Whether it aims to achieve it’s goals we will never know, but what is for sure is it does paint a particularly inviting image, if you have a longing to get away from the trappings of modern life and essentially live off the land.