- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 20, 2013

A South African town that spans about 2,000 acres and touts about 1,000 residents is fighting to maintain its historical roots — as an all-white community that beckons from apartheid days.

“We feel that our culture is being threatened, and we want to protect it, and we want to nurture it,” said Marisa Haasbroek, a writer and mother who also acts as spokeswoman for the gated community, Kleinfontein, NBC reported.

Nelson Mandela may have toppled the apartheid regime in the nation. But outside Kleinfontein’s front gate is a bust of the father of apartheid, Hendrik Verwoerd, and the fence that encircles the community is heavily patrolled by armed guards, NBC reported.

The community is called “racist” by some — but residents say they are just trying to protect their futures and secure their properties in the face of rising crime rates and widespread and welcomed affirmative action.

Whites are often frozen from the job market, the residents say. And only those who fully embrace the white-only culture are allowed to call the community home, NBC reported.

Potential residents must accept the community’s “core values,” including Protestant-Christian beliefs and Dutch-based Afrikaan dialect, NBC reported.

No Jews or non-whites allowed, the community says, NBC reported.

The community has existed outside Pretoria for more than 20 years, but criticism has grown of late. Just last month, residents blocked a black man from buying a home within its walls, leading to widespread protests and demonstrations outside the fence, NBC reported.

Meanwhile, local government officials have kicked off an investigation, charging that the community is breaking laws by discriminating based on race.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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