AfriForum celebrates 18 years of doing it themselves

AfriForum, an organisation that today represents more than 315 000 members in every corner of the country, celebrates its eighteenth anniversary today. This civil rights organisation was introduced to the public for the first time on 26 March 2006 in an article about its foundation that appeared on page 19 of the Afrikaans Sunday newspaper Rapport. Since then, this organisation has gone from strength to strength, taking on giant companies like Nestlé and even bigger political opponents like Julius Malema and Jacob Zuma, fighting for the preservation of Afrikaners’ cultural identity and language, establishing nationwide safety networks and much more – all in the name of justice.

The civil rights watchdog started in 2006 with only three staff members who stood up to fight for a free, safe, and prosperous future in South Africa. Today, this organisation is 182 staff and more than 10 000 volunteers strong.

“AfriForum’s strength over 18 years lies in the grace of God, but also loyal members and special colleagues for whom their work was and is a calling,” says Alana Bailey, Head of Cultural Affairs at AfriForum. Bailey, like Kriel, has been involved in this organisation since AfriForum’s inception.

AfriForum’s first major campaign was to fight for the preservation of Pretoria’s name. This campaign stretched over several years before it finally bore fruit and today Pretoria is still Pretoria.

While AfriForum was still in its infancy, it also took on the food giant Nestlé after it came to light that this company had a milk contract with the then Zimbabwean first lady, Grace Mugabe. This despite the human rights violations committed in Zimbabwe at that time and the fact that Mugabe was subject to various sanctions imposed by the US and the European Union against her, her husband, Robert, and several other Zimbabwean officials. Shortly after this campaign kicked off, Nestlé pledged never to buy milk from Mugabe again.

Today, AfriForum focuses especially on helping to establish independent communities that take care of their own communities and safety with a do-it-yourself attitude. This means that a lot of work has to be done at the grassroots level and AfriForum’s 165 branches and 172 neighbourhood watches are seizing this opportunity with both hands.

“I am grateful that since AfriForum’s inception, 18 years ago, I have had the privilege of being part of the organisation’s exciting path of growth and especially the multitude of successes that have been achieved during this time. We were just three staff at the start, with zero members and few resources and look where we are now. I am particularly proud that we, in numerous communities with a we-will-do-it-ourselves approach, can today play a role on a large scale in building a future for us, our communities and our descendants,” concludes Kriel.

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