During the holidays, after a trip that took us through Lesotho, the Kruger National Park and the family farm in the Free State, we spent a day in the famous Northern Cape Town on the Orange River, Orania.
Orania seems to be very popular internationally with news and documentary makers, specifically for its political stances, values, etc, but I want to talk about something other than that.
I wanted to share how we got a better understanding of this original place and how you and we can learn from them to create your own way of life.
We arrived late to find children playing in the cleanest streets after dark. Despite the unknown, we felt safe.
Hoping to get under the skin of this small town and its people we stayed at a guesthouse, dined at the local steakhouse, went on a town tour, and visited the local deli before heading home.
I wanted to learn more about:
• What drives people to move to this small town in the middle of nowhere? and
• What this place gives and brings to them once settled?
Spending time with locals gave me some insights into the questions I wanted answers to.
WHAT DRIVES PEOPLE TO MOVE TO THIS SMALL TOWN IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE?
Although all people’s story is unique in its own way, a thread that came through in all stories was that they had had enough. Enough traumas. Enough anger. Enough crime. Enough powerlessness.
The list goes on. To understand a man you have to walk a mile in his shoes and one can imagine what their shoe stories might tell you.
WHAT THIS PLACE GIVES AND BRINGS TO THEM ONCE SETTLED?
Here answers were more varied. For most, it gave them the opposite of enough from where they came. Freedom. Choice. Stability.
But the understanding that they know what they want and taking control of life and business within the realities of these new decisions is very apparent.
Leaving Orania, the old Afrikaans saying ‘n Boer maak ‘n plan came up. (The direct translation is ‘a farmer makes a plan’. Mostly it refers to challenges that need to be overcome whatever it takes. For the rest of the world, it means Plan B when all else fails.)
Oraniers have in harsh terrain created a space that the rest of the world can and is looking up to,++ considering their circumstances and challenges and probably even opportunities.
Orania is setting the pace with the Makers Movement teaching crafts and skills to locals and neighboring towns at their new college.
Their local financial system (‘Ora’) with its own bank is getting international recognition for its creativity, feasibility and viability.
The people of Orania have made their future possible after committing to a space that suits their lifestyle, needs, beliefs, values and gives them their own sense of purpose and control.
What can you learn from their story or commitment?
What would your Plan B look like if you needed to action it?
When will it be the right time to do it?
Guaranteed, it won’t be easy.
You’re unique and special in all ways and only by honouring that will you find what it is you need to commit to.
Inspire yourself and take control!
Author: Stanford Payne CA(SA) is an ICF-accredited executive and business coach