That endangered species, the South African white, now a mere 9% of the population and falling, while lumbered with a disproportionate share of taxes, discriminated against in the labour market and whose children face unfair hurdles to higher education, is now under attack from the self-proclaimed intellectual Xolela Mangcu.
In fact he calls himself a “public” intellectual, whatever that means. Maybe one can buy shares in him.
His writings are generally incoherent and his latest rant particularly so. This is what he said and good luck in making head or tail of it: “Because they could put down blacks through law, white South Africans did not imagine they would not make the grade internationally. And so they continued talking about standards from a very low base.”
No sane individual would deny blacks were repressed under apartheid. This was evil and shameful. Not all whites supported it and many fought it in their own ways.
But whites were beneficiaries whether they wished to be or not and reparations must be delivered to those formerly disadvantaged and dispossessed. But in so compensating for the sins of the past it would be self-defeating to drive away the skills which whites, and others, acquired in the past. Mangcu appears to be saying that SA whites do not measure up as their standards are at a “very low base”.
This flies in the face of all evidence, both anecdotal and statistical. Let me provide an example.
A recent house guest from New York is a medical graduate of the University of Cape Town.
Today he runs the world’s largest orthopaedic hospital in Manhattan, which is part of Cornell University, where Mangcu obtained his doctorate in some sort of politics.
Even your ageing correspondent, who failed to matriculate at the Durban High School, was head hunted to turn around Australia’s foremost newspaper publishing company.
There are numerous other examples, far more impressive than my own. A major Australian law firm took a policy decision to have a hiatus on the hiring of South Africans.
All were so committed and talented that before long they were partners and this firm, one of the oldest and most distinguished in Australia, suddenly had a majority of SA partners.
An SA accounting qualification is among the most highly regarded in the world. In Britain South Africans have risen to the top. They sit on the highest courts, are ennobled by the Queen, run vast businesses and work at the highest levels in medicine, accounting, engineering and architecture. Sir Donald Gordon, founder of Liberty Life in SA and of Liberty International in the UK, is only one of a number of graduates of King Edward V11 High School in Johannesburg who have had spectacularly successful international careers.
In the US the graduates of SA university Wits have been a dominant force in one speciality, paediatric surgery.
These émigrés run large hospitals and departments at leading universities. Now UCT is imposing racist conditions of acceptance at its medical school.
Black kids need have only a 74% pass rate, brown kids 78%, Indians 88% and whites 91%.
It seems this once great university with a glowing international reputation, will in future produce a few brilliant white doctors and a lot of mediocre black ones.
Another View by Stephen Mulholland.