Apparently indicating that it does not want blacks around its premises, a South African church in Orania on Sunday barred two black journalists from attending a service in the church.
Africa Review reports that the Afrikaanse Protestante Kerk church in Orania told the journalists “the church is only for whites”.
It is understood that the journalists were on an assignment and decided to attend a Sunday service before returning to Pretoria but they were intercepted by a church leader, identified as Mr. Theunis Oukamp, at the door.
Oukamp, it was gathered, told the journalists that allowing black people into an all-white church would be violating the “rights of Afrikaans people”.
“I am now in a difficult situation. You know that Orania, is only for white people, this is why we are here.
“You must understand I know you want to serve God and everything but I have to protect the rights of Afrikaans people. So I cannot let you in, you guys can go to any other church, but this one is only for white people,” Mr. Oukamp told the journalists.
Speaking on the development, the president of the South Africa Union Council of Independent Churches, Archbishop Modiri Patrick Shole, expressed shock that there was still segregation in the body of Christ, 23 years after apartheid ended.
“We don’t discriminate in church because before God we are one – whether white or black. I find it weird that we still have discrimination in the church,” he said.
The church’s spokesperson, Mr James Kemp, said the leader acted out of line with the church’s policy. He said an internal process would take place.
“The sensitivity of the Orania church is that over the last few years they have had six journalists visiting the congregation and it had a negative impact in the media. It was mainly European publications,” Mr Kemp said.
Meanwhile, Orania is an Afrikaans-only South African town located along the banks of the Orange River, in the arid Karoo region of the Northern Cape Province.
In an article published late last year, CNN described Orania, as an Afrikaner-only, and by extension, whites-only.