White South Africans use Facebook in campaign to return to Holland
White South Africans, concerned about racism and crime, have launched a Facebook petition to return to Holland, where their ancestors lived 300 years ago.
Cape Town, South Africa
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Afrikaners in South Africa may soon find out. Three hundred years after their forefathers left Europe for a new life in Cape Town, some Afrikaners are lobbying the Dutch government to grant them citizenship.
The descendants of the Boer settlers are looking for an exit plan. They say white people have become targets of crime with tensions rising since the murder of right-wing Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB) leader Eugene Terreblanche last month.
They want the Dutch authorities to enact a "Jus Sanguinis" or right of blood law allowing Afrikaners to return to what they claim is their original home.
After the end of apartheid in 1994, many white South Africans fled the country fearing a racial backlash. Many emigrated to Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the US, and the United Kingdom. A recent report by the South African Institute on Race Relations said nearly 800,000 whites had left during that period, citing employment discrimination and the high crime rate. South Africa sees an average of 50 murders a day – most of the victims are black.
The emerging Afrikaner "Right of Return" campaign echoes the concerns of 1994, and is indicative of a rising fear among some white farmers. The effort is being co-ordinated by Lara Johnstone, who claims South Africa is heading down the path taken by Zimbabwe with whites bearing the brunt of economic and civic collapse.
“I don’t know whether it will be five years, 10 years or whenever – it depends on the Malema factor," said said, referring to Julius Malema, the African National Congress youth leader who was fined $1,300 last week for singing a song that urged ANC members to “shoot the Boers.” "But I think we are going to become another Zimbabwe."
Many of her members are also supporting an online petition for South African Brandon Huntley, who prompted a diplomatic spat after applying for asylum in Canada on the basis of racial persecution here.
Johnstone's site also explains how to apply for Dutch citizenship. But for most, the chances of receiving Dutch citizenship are almost non-existent, say Dutch officials and analysts.
Johnstone, who lives in George in the Western Cape, says many whites are fearful for the future. “Like a lot of people I can’t afford to emigrate so my options are limited. When I speak to people it feels like we’re between a rock and a hard place with little room to maneuver. I think Western Europe does have a duty of care towards white South Africans because most of us come from there originally. Because of our Dutch heritage, I think we should be allowed to return there."