South Africa is a country that has seen much civil society groups and movements since the earliest times of the country as a result of its history of oppression. While some of these civil society groups have gone back to the 1960s and way before, others are much recent. Such is AfriForum.
AfriForum as a civil rights organization was established in 2006. The organization which is linked to the solidarity trade union was designed to encourage the participation of Afrikaners and other minority groups into participating in public debates and civil actions.
As stated by to the CEO of the organization, it is seeking to achieve balance in the country. Hence it serves to provide alternative ideas and suggestions to the stance taken by the government, where and when necessary.
The organization has a youth wing which is active with its protest activities as well as mobilization, and other youth activities. It has the promotion of multiple languages and promotion of mother tongue in the country’s education as one of its core objectives.
Activities and Campaigns by AfriForum
This South Africa forum has been engaged in various activities since its inception in 2006. It has as well always provided its views on the state of things in the country. Its 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 popular protests of AfriForum include 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 Air force helicopters, Alouette III to Zimbabwe. It has as well had various says in the governance of the country and activities in the country.
Also, the Forum has in 2011 brought up a case against the then youth leader of ANC, Julius Malema in the Equality Court. The case was as a result of Malema singing a song which lyrics translated to “shoot the Boer” repeatedly. Although Malema lost the case as the court deemed the song hateful and without regards to the dignity of Afrikaans, and was discriminatory and harmful, the case was settled out of court before its hearing in the Supreme Court.
It has as well had cases 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.
The Forum through its Youth League raised another hate speech case against Jason Mfusi, the leader of North-West University’s South African Students Congress (SASCO) leader. The leader through his Facebook page made a remark thus; “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”. AfriForum’s youth league, however, ended the case with an agreement which 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.
The forum has also a platform on its site with various petitions that one can sign, as well as other activities that one can get involved in. some activities include “Month of Self-Reliance”, in which people would do things such as erect sign posts and build speed bumps for themselves without the help of the government; and “winning the War on Crime in South Africa”. Others are “AfriForum Election Observation Mission (EOM)”, for the country’s 2016 local elections; and “Blue and Green Drop Branch Project”, which focused on the efficacy of drinking water and sewage plants in towns across the country.
Petitions opened by the forum on its site include “Stop Racial Quotas in Sports”, “Petition against Uranium Mine in the Karoo” and “Petition Regarding the Stolen Firearms of the SAPS”. All the petitions are open to the public to sign and support the cases. While some petitions indicate the number of people needed to sign, others are open for any number of people.
The organization has been antagonized by the African National Congress (ANC) youth league as an organization that seeks to defend white privilege.
More so, the forum has been seen in some quarters as being too moderate to serious issues in the country and being too aggressive and vicious when they are attacked.