THE ABC OF THE VOORTREKKERS
Headleader Piet Strauss
The essence of the Voortrekkers lies in the ABC of this movement. Of course, I am referring to it’s Afrikaner character, citizenship (Afrikaans: Burgerskap) and Christianity. This can be explained further as: a modern Afrikaner character, positive citizenship and consistent Christianity.
Actually, we mean the CAB of the Voortrekkers. This is because, in our case, Christianity determines the Afrikaner character and citizenship. We are Christian Afrikaners and Christian South Africans.
If we really want to live according to the Bible, we must do everything we do, for God. We must be consistent Christians who love the Lord with our heart and soul and all our strength (Deut 6:4); Christians who give ourselves – fully – to Him as living and holy sacrifices, in a way that is pleasing to Him (Rom 12:1); consistent Christians who carry out the command of 1 Cor 10:31, which says: Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
We should be modern Afrikaners who are consistent Christians and therefore want to be Christian Afrikaners who use their language and culture to the honour of God, and to make a positive Christian difference in the countries of which they are citizens.
Christians who not only behave like Christians when they are at the Bible study group or the church or are speaking about their faith, but also when they are subjected to a late tackle on the rugby field, are taking a girl home alone and late at night, have someone else’s money entrusted to them, are standing up for what is right even when the group disagrees, are dying of hunger or have other serious problems.
Christians who strive to carry out the 10 commandments, even under the most difficult circumstances. Who do not steal, even when nobody sees them. Who consider themselves spiritually bound to what is right, even if it is to their own disadvantage. Who have respect for marriage and for the fact that God intended sex for marriage, no matter how strong the temptation is. Christians whom you can trust with your life, because they are carrying out what they believe in practice.
Christians for whom the Christian faith is not merely an external varnish or just a habit, but an inner, living conviction. Christians who seek the will of God in everything they think, say or do. Who obey the Lord because they trust Him. Christians who simply believe the path of the Bible is always the best one to take.
This is why we say in our first two Voortrekker codes: A Voortrekker believes in the Triune God, serves Him and leads a Christian life. For us, this is of primary importance.
However, upon closer inspection it is evident that the Christian principle also plays a determining role in each of the other 8 codes. As Voortrekkers, we accept authority because the fifth commandment expects it from us; we honour the language and culture of the Afrikaner in a way that pleases the Lord; we select the commendable aspects from the history of our nation on the basis of the Word and the commandments of the Lord; we preserve our environment because we are instructed to do so by Genesis 1:28; we are good citizens because the Lord expects us to promote fairness towards all and make our environment a better place for all; we take the lead because we were called to do so according to Psalm 8; we are mindful, internally and externally vigilant because even one’s body is also a temple of the Spirit of God, and we know that God placed us here to always be of service.
Clearly, all this does not mean that the Voortrekker movement is almost like a church. We simply do too many things that churches do not do. No, as a cultural movement we do not favour a specific church. Although we do require our members to belong to a recognised Christian church, we do not prescribe which church it should be. For this reason, we also require that they must believe in the Triune God and accept the Bible as the Word of God.
By doing this, we are not trying to take over the church’s work or to replace the church. We are merely trying to consistently extend the Biblical command that we must serve God in everything we do, to all our activities as a cultural movement. And when we hold religious services in the Voortrekker movement, we also try not to follow a specific church’s customs. We choose for God, not for a specific church.
This is why we say in our constitution that God’s revelation of Himself and His law through His Word and in the order of His creation constitutes the basis or foundation of what the Voortrekker movement represents. We purposefully want to build on the Bible and God’s laws in creation, in everything we as Voortrekkers do.
The constitution states this as follows: The revelation of the Triune God through His Word and His creation is the foundation of the Voortrekkers.
In this way, it becomes a way of life, since a Voortrekker leads a Christian life and wants to obey God in everything, in accordance with His commandments and the laws of His creation. Once a Voortrekker, always a Voortrekker – precisely because your way of life is that of a Christian Afrikaner.
MODERN AFRIKANER CHARACTER
The real "business" of the Voortrekkers is that of a cultural movement: a movement for Christian Afrikaners and Afrikaans. This is why our constitution states that we are a cultural movement for Afrikaners, and particularly for the Afrikaner youth: a cultural movement that revolves around the youth.
This is why our children are so important to us. Precisely for this reason, we cannot remain stuck in 1938 or 1988 with regard to Afrikaans and our Afrikaner character. We are Afrikaners now: in the 21st century!
Modern Afrikaners, Afrikaners with their vibrant, powerful contemporary Afrikaans that sparkles on the Internet, flies to and fro by sms and echoes exuberantly at the "bokjol" (dance party). That dance party that enlivens old Afrikaans songs with a new beat and gives rise to movements that transport you for an entire evening – a wildly exuberant dance party. Modern Afrikaners who have finally discovered that their own can be enjoyable, who do not feel inferior and also do not need to be formal to instil respect and love. As one of our young Afrikaner leaders put it the other day: You can be on your own side too!
Modern Afrikaners who transform arts festivals into contemporary national festivals, and whose language echoes as far as the London Underground in Pommie territory. Who have traversed the world and now look those who were once strangers, squarely in the eye. Who have adjusted to the bigger world that has become small through technology, without buying into the lie that this is only possible if you sacrifice your language, your culture and your country.
Modern Afrikaners to whom Uncle Chrisjan de Wet and Danie Theron remain national heroes, and who, in the midst of the pressure on Afrikaans and the Afrikaner in Southern Africa, have developed a renewed interest in the history of the Afrikaner; children listening in awe to someone vividly relating a wonderful story from our own past.
Modern Afrikaners who want to remain Afrikaners although they are personally experiencing the negative effects of the Afrikaner’s past, and despite hearing other Afrikaners express the amazing conviction that the Afrikaner disappeared together with apartheid – that they, and their own, suddenly disappeared after apartheid. If all who have ever made mistakes had to disappear, who would remain!?
Perhaps it is necessary, at this point, to clearly state that today, Afrikaner character and Afrikaans is not a racial issue to the Voortrekkers, but a cultural issue. To us, it is not a racial label, but a cultural label; not a "pure white" issue, but a cultural issue. We therefore welcome anyone who associates with us. As far as we are concerned, all those who consider themselves Afrikaners, are Afrikaners. We do not have a few requirements and an application that must be approved by some board or other before someone is allowed to qualify as an Afrikaner. In the Voortrekkers, we are looking for Christians who have become Afrikaners through free association – as in the case of our own forefathers, who stopped being German, Dutch, French, Portuguese or whatever, and identified with the Afrikaner through free association.
As we see it, Afrikaans and the Afrikaner culture must continue to develop to remain strong and vital. In its deepest essence, this concerns how modern Afrikaners live and speak. And in the case of Voortrekkers: how modern young Afrikaners live and speak. With two major requirements: that this living and speaking will be based on Biblical principles, and that language and culture, as products of the human spirit, will be approached with respect and sensitivity. Inner language and cultural pride – self-respect – is also evident in how you speak and live.
Listen to Voortrekker codes 4 and 5: we honour our language and culture and build on what was commendable in our past.
As Voortrekkers, we are also part of the countries in which we live. Christians can never bury their heads in the sand and leave country affairs to others. In addition, the politics of the day also has an influence on language, culture and the youth – the Voortrekkers as a movement therefore cannot ignore politics. On one important condition: we remain a cultural movement that does not commit itself to a specific political party. We have no desire to be servile followers of any political, ecclesiastic or cultural pressure group. We must also bear in mind that Christian Afrikaners – our target group – belong to more than one political party in more than one country.
This is why we, as Voortrekkers, make our contribution towards positive citizenship from the angle of Christian Afrikaner culture.
This means that we encourage all our members, as Christians, to make the countries in which they reside better places to live – better places in which all are treated fairly. Whatever is at stake – the language, education or land rights of people, or their right of free association with regard to culture, religion, politics, etc. – all must be treated fairly. Young Afrikaners such as our members want to make their countries work, but on these conditions.
From a Christian point of view, a successful country does not only imply economic prosperity, or only a select group attaining wealth. A country is successful when all its people are treated fairly and have the opportunity or space to develop fully as human beings – in a religious, social, economic, political and art/cultural sense. A country is not successful when one language or culture is being favoured above another; the cultural variety should be seen and supported as a treasure.
In this respect, South Africans also have the Manifesto of Rights in Chapter 2 of the constitution at their disposal if legal measures must be sought to enforce fairness. Nowadays, an increasing number of countries have to contend with religious and cultural variety within their borders. Countries in Southern Africa are not unique in this respect.
As positive citizens, Voortrekkers are prepared to reach out to others and to make their knowledge and other abilities available to others. To make a contribution where we really can. Even if it merely means handing out food parcels or correcting a misperception of Afrikaners among others. Ultimately, such actions help people to develop and to assess others fairly.
We are not positive citizens because it is a buzzword or because other groups are also doing their share or because the authorities want to hear it. We are positive because it is our calling. God calls us to make a difference in our countries.
As Christian Afrikaners, we are naturally also concerned about how our authorities are dealing with Afrikaans. If Afrikaans as a minority language disappears in Southern Africa, the other indigenous languages also stand no chance. This is why we support the rights of all languages. And if you want to protect a language – according to the experts – it must also be protected as a language of instruction at school level and tertiary level, and receive some form of government protection. It is really naive to think that a language will retain its full utility just because we speak it at home.
Voortrekker codes 3 and 6 – 10 refer to positive citizenship when they state the following: A Voortrekker is a positive citizen, accepts authority, values and preserves his environment, takes the lead, is attentive, vigilant and ready to serve.
Voortrekkers are ABC people! Now, today.
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