With a very rich history of oppression, South Africa is one of the few countries on the African continent that has had civil society groups exist within its borders for many decades. One of the more recently created civil society groups in the country is AfriForum, an organization that was established in 2006 and is closely affiliated to the Solidarity trade union.
Unlike most of the other civil society and rights groups in the country that mainly focus on the interests of the historically marginalized black population of South Africa, AfriForum is concerned with promoting the interests of the white subgroup population known as the Afrikaners. It was set up to encourage the re-engagement and participation of Afrikaners in the public sphere.
As stated by the CEO of the organization, AfriForum is seeking to achieve balance in South Africa. It looks to provide alternative ideas and suggestions to the stance taken by the government, where and when necessary. This has led to the organization being antagonized by the African National Congress (ANC) youth league who describes it as a group that seeks to defend white privilege.
The organization further has a youth wing called AfriForum Jeug. The youth wing focuses on education issues, including mother tongue education, political interference in student affairs, and affirmative action at universities as it operates as a student organization with branches in almost all universities in the country.
Campaigns By AfriForum
AfriForum has been engaged in various campaigns since its inception in 2006. These campaigns are mostly focused on civil life and activities, safety and security, community affairs, local government, environmental affairs, education and the language, culture and heritage in South Africa, with more emphasis on Afrikaans.
Some of the more popular protests by AfriForum includes their challenge of the presence of Robert Mugabe at Jacob Zuma’s inauguration in 2009, as well as an attempt to stop the government from selling the country’s Airforce helicopters, Alouette III to Zimbabwe. It has as well had various say in the governance of the country and activities in the country.
In 2011, the group brought up a case against the then youth leader of the ANC, Julius Malema, in the Equality Court. The case was a result of Malema singing a song which lyrics translated to “shoot the Boer”. Malema lost the case as the court deemed the song to be hateful, discriminatory, harmful, and without regard to the dignity of Afrikaans. The case was eventually settled out of court before its hearing in the Supreme Court.
Another popular case was against a onetime Leader of ANC Youth League, Ronald Lamola, who said the league would not be able to protect the Van der Merwe and Van Tonder (traditional white Afrikaans family names) unless white South Africans voluntarily gave up their land and mineral rights.
Through its youth group, AfriForum has raised another hate speech case against Jason Mfusi, the leader of North-West University’s South African Students Congress (SASCO). On his Facebook page, Mfusi wrote; “My grandfather says ‘n goeie Boer is ‘n dooie Boer”, which can be translated to; “My grandfather says a good farmer is a dead farmer”.
The youth group, however, ended the case with an agreement that saw the SASCO leader writing an apology letter to the farming community. This was through the mediation of the Human Rights Commission (HRC) of the University.
Other Interesting Facts about AfriForum
1. In the early 1990s, AfriForum founder Kallie Kriel was a member of the Conservative Party. She, however, left because the party under Andries Treurnicht (who refused to take part in the negotiation process) “was not the right vehicle to ensure self-determination [a volkstaat]” for the Afrikaner.
2. In the past, AfriForum has referred to apartheid as a “so-called historical injustice” while its deputy leader Ernst Roets has described it as a “woolly concept”.
3. AfriForum permeates through various facets of civil society. For example, it has established its own university (Akademia) offering B.Com and related degrees. It also runs its own Afrikaans media organization, Maroela Media, which according to the latest figures is the second largest Afrikaans website in the country. There is also the most recently established Southern African Agriculture Initiative, SAAI, which represents the organization’s long-awaited foray into agriculture.
There are a number of ways to contact AfriForum; by visiting the office, calling on the phone or sending an email.
The address for the organization’s head office is on the corner of D.F. Malan and Union Avenues, Kloofsig, Centurion. Visitors would be required to make an appointment before heading to the offices.
To get in touch via phone, an admin of the organization can be contacted through any of the following numbers: 086 10 200 30 or 012 644 4485. If sending an e-mail would be more convenient, an admin can also be contacted through [email protected].
NB: If you have a special request or complaint you would like to be addressed as soon as possible, you can fill up a form on the website that can be gotten through the AfriforumFeedbackform link.
Other Contact Needs:
- 911 wristband orders: [email protected]
- 911 registrations: [email protected]
- Membership and contributions: [email protected]
Mon. to Thurs.: 08:00 – 16:30
Fri. 08:00 – 15:00