For those of you who don’t know, or cannot pronounce Kleinfontein (CLAIN-FON-TEEN) it is a small agricultural gated community outside of Pretoria South Africa that has hit the news recently for being a ‘white only / Afrikaaner only’ colony branded as racists.
I wouldn’t get involved in this story in any way or for any reason normally but I had to have a chuckle on my way to work this morning reading this because for some reason it seems that gated communities based on wealth are totally accepted yet gated communities based on the community itself’s rules are not.
My chuckle started to turn to a fist clenched fist when I started to think that the people with enough money to justify a community are not frowned upon not even for their blatant mockery of the poor merely by their existence yet a community who says it follows a set of moral codes guided by heritage is now deemed to be evil, just for the record I don’t agree with the latter either!
Don’t get me wrong, as a Jew I understand very clearly what the effects of keeping people in or out based on ‘cultural beliefs’ can be and therefor I’m not saying that these Kleinfonteiners are right but what I am saying is why are the CEOs that live in more luxurious, less sustainable and less socially aware circumstances not being punished by public opinion.
Sure the people of Kleinfontein can hide behind some twisted logic of being part of the Afrikaaner heritage but really they are just trying to keep out certain races – lets not bullshit here but at least they accept poor people who are allocated resource, allowed to live and given work. They buy their services in bulk and allocate them honestly and fairly. They contribute to their own sustainability and they control their consumption and waste – they in effect are a functioning local municipality.
As I started thinking through this my fist clench grew into teeth clench as I started to realize once again the real problem was neither of these two communities. Both should be allowed to close their gates and operate independently because for the sole reason that they exist in a system that doesn’t work. We all do (well before I moved to Shanghai I did).
I wont bore you with everything that is wrong with local and national government but the simple summary is it does not work! It cannot balance the gap between rich and poor, it cannot provide services efficiently, it cannot control crime and it certainly cannot maintain resources. So, you would think the government would welcome gated communities, a bunch less people to have to look after?
The bottom line is you cannot finger the ‘citizens’ of Kleinfontein because they have tried to opt out of society, you can frown upon them for the reasons they do so but surely you have to understand why they have done it? You have to agree, as someone whose power no doubt goes out, garbage sometimes doesn’t get collected, potholes don’t get fixed, electricity price increases, has to be wary of getting hijacked etc that this actually is a viable option. If you can get a bunch of friends together and form a community that is self-sustaining, whatever your reason is maybe its because you are all left handed for &*$# sake, one that is crime free and fully functioning, you tell me that doesn’t sound like a neighborhood you want to live in?
Sounds like a no brainer to me!