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South Africa/Zimbabwe: Mandela, Rhodes--what do they have in common? The seventh Will of Cecil John Rhodes, the British arch colonialist (left), created an educational grant known as the 'Rhodes Scholarship' in 1902. But in recent weeks, hairs have been torn over the addition of the Mandela name to the Rhodes Foundation.

Every year adverts are placed in newspapers inviting Africans to apply for the Rhodes Scholarships. In Zimbabwe, they are awarded through a local and secretive Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee whose membership contains a proportion of those who have themselves been Rhodes Scholars.

The first class of Rhodes Scholars was in 1903 and the chosen few enter Britain's Oxford University to study for at least two-and-a-half years.

Applicants are chosen on the basis of the criteria set down in the Will of Cecil Rhodes (1853-1902) who created the scholarships to bind together the elite of the former British colonies by bringing promising young men and women to Oxford University to "imbibe the English imperial ethos".

The United States and Germany were also included in the scholarships because the Kaiser had made studying English compulsory in German schools and also because of the German origins of the British monarchy.

Rhodes also said that his scholars should possess the following traits: "smugness, brutality, unctuous rectitude, and tact".

Scholastic achievement, character, leadership qualities, and physical vigour, usually exemplified by accomplishment in sports, are the winning attributes most often cited of the recipients. Approximately 92 scholars are selected worldwide each year.

The Rhodes Trust pays all college and university fees, provides a personal allowance (which currently stands at 9,582 [pounds sterling]) to cover necessary living expenses while in residence in Oxford as well as during vacations, and transportation to and from England.

In the middle of the 1890s, Rhodes had a personal income of at least a million pounds a year which he spent on his goal in life (and after death) of establishing a "secret organisation for the extension of British rule throughout the world and the ultimate recovery of the United States of America as an integral part of the British Empire for making the Anglo-Saxon race one Empire", as quoted directly from his will.

In his book, John Cecil Rhodes: The Anatomy of an Empire, Christopher Marlowe, confirms that Rhodes' life ambition was "the furtherance of the British Empire, the bringing of the whole uncivilised world under its rule, the recovery of the United States of America, and the making of the Anglo-Saxon race into one Empire".

A look at the official documents of the Rhodes Scholarship Trust will not reveal all these issues although the Trust, which administers the scholarships, struggles to stay faithful to Rhodes's Will in choosing scholars. An African who is awarded the scholarship will then be told that Rhodes was such a caring philanthropist. But was he really?

Cecil John Rhodes was a student and a devoted fan of John Ruskin (1819-1900). Ruskin was a professor of art and philosophy at Oxford University in the 1870s. He often spoke to undergraduates at Christ Church College at Oxford as members of the privileged ruling class and that they were possessors of what they called a magnificent tradition of education, beauty; rule of law, freedom, decency, and self-discipline.

Rhodes began developing his imperialist philosophy after hearing a speech by John Ruskin which espoused an opinion, which by extension, furthered the teaching found in Plato's Republic.

Plato called for "a ruling class with a powerful army to keep it in power and a society completely subordinate to the monolithic authority of the rulers."

Rhodes was also greatly influenced by Windom Reade's book, The Martyrdom of Man, published in 1872, which advocated Darwinism and the tremendous suffering that man must undergo, which was epitomised in the phrase "the survival of the fittest".

Rhodes himself said in 1877: "It is our duty to seize every opportunity of acquiring more territory ... more territory simply means more of the Anglo-Saxon race, more of the best, the most human, most honourable race the world possesses ... the absorption of the greater portion of the world under our rule simply means the end of all wars."

It was this mentality that fuelled his desire to unite the world under one form of government. Rhodes incorporated this rationalisation into his thinking. He talked about starting an organisation to preserve and extend the British Empire. This gave birth to the Round Table Group (RTG)in 1891. It was formed using the Jesuits and the Masons as organisational models.

In 1919, the RTG finally emerged out from under a cloak of secrecy and officially became the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in the USA and the Royal Institute for International Affairs (RIIA) or Chatham House in Britain. Branches in other nations are usually called (Australian, Canadian, Indian, Netherlands, New Zealand and South African) Institutes of International Affairs, or (Chinese, Japanese and Russian) Institutes of Pacific Relations.

They all operate under the Chatham House Rule, which states that: "When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed".

Together with the annual beneficiaries of the Rhodes scholarships, these organisations are not only the heartbeat of Western politics but also the vortex of all Western power and influence.

Cecil Rhodes was a lifelong bachelor. It was not unusual for him to be surrounded, as in his younger Oxford days, by a crowd of young admiring bachelors. The imperialism of the time of Rhodes generated US$40 billion in gold, diamonds and colonial subjects. Rhodes left 3.3m [pounds sterling] to endow Oxford for the scholarships.

Every year, 16 Africans become Rhodes scholars or nurtured to become Rhodies.

As the Rhodes Trust celebrated its centenary this year, Nelson Mandela (a revered hero in the fight against colonialism, apartheid and imperialism) joined hands with Rhodes money (some call it "blood money") to create the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, launched in February 2002 in Cape Town, South Africa. Was it a case of historical amnesia on the part of Mandela?

Rhodes' wealth was built on the master-and-slave economic forerunner of apartheid. By contrast, Mandela, who was imprisoned for 27 years by the apartheid government, spent his life fighting that system of white supremacy. The combination of the two names in a single breath is an indication of a serious African "weakness" to forget so easily in the name of racial reconciliation. Interestingly, 115 former Rhodes scholars recently signed a petition kicking against a grant of 10m [pounds sterling] (1m [pounds sterling] a year for 10 years) given to the Mandela Rhodes Foundation by the Rhodes Trust to improve education in South Africa. They accused the Trust of neglecting its traditional obligations in the interests of political correctness.
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Title Annotation:Around Africa
Author:Ndoro, Shingai Rukwata
Publication:New African
Geographic Code:60AFR
Date:Aug 1, 2003
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