A decade after apartheid, how are the white tribes of South Africa faring?
Cecil John Rhodes, the Cape-to-Cairo imperialist, glares down from his portrait in the room that bears his name at Johannesburg’s equivalent of the Melbourne Club. Amid Edwardian splendour, members of the Rand Club tuck into their boarding school food and wash it down with fine South African wines. Once they would all have been English-speaking white men. Now there are women along the tables, and in walks a tall black newspaper proprietor to take his seat. In the new South Africa, as it nears the 10th anniversary of its transition from apartheid, race is off the menu. Class is what counts now. As the elite talk and laugh among themselves in the Rhodes Room, a glance out the window reveals a ghostly contrast. In the centre of Africa’s richest city, the pavements are deserted, the lighting dimmed, the neighbouring buildings deserted or derelict. No one dares to hazard a nocturnal walk through a CBD that is lost to crime. All the hotels in the centre have closed and businesses that can af