For as long as anyone can remember white South Africans have feared the future and hedged against its uncertainties. It has always been thus with privileged minorities everywhere. The ways in which they have done so are too numerous to list in a short column. But most have involved taking steps to smooth a path to the wider world. In the national censuses conducted in the 1970s, for instance, close to 60% of whites reported their mother tongue to be Afrikaans. Three decades later the figure had dropped to little more than 40%. What had happened, essentially, is that a generation of people had chosen to become English-speaking; they were acquiring both the linguistic skill and the cultural cache to operate across the developed world. Perhaps more than anything else, though, whites have hedged against the future by acquiring in spades the fine education generations of minority rule made available to them. This has lent them mobility, witnessed in the hundreds of thousands of South Afr...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, Morningstar financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.