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New Oxford Rhodes scholar: I don’t support Rhodes (or need the scholarship)

Steerpike readers will be familiar with the antics of Ntokozo Qwabe — the Rhodes scholar, who boasted about making a waitress shed ‘white tears’ after he asked her to ‘return the land’. While the Oxford’s Rhodes Must Fall co-founder has since completed his law studies in Britain and returned to South Africa — where he has been interrupting lectures with a large stick — a new Rhodes scholar is on the way.

Like Qwabe, Joshua Nott has decided to accept a £40,000 scholarship from the Rhodes Trust despite being actively involved in the Rhodes Must Fall movement, which campaigned to have a statue of Cecil Rhodes — the British mining magnate — removed from Cape Town University on the grounds that it symbolised racism and colonialism.

Defending his decision to accept the scholarship, Nott — who compared the statue to ‘a swastika in Jerusalem’ — said he was no a hypocrite as he would use the ‘Rhodes scholarship to defeat the very ideals of what it originally stood for’. However, the thing that has caught Mr S’s attention is the privately-educated student’s reason for accepting the money — instead of it going to someone more in need:

‘If an underprivileged person could effect as much change,… I would easily renounce it but I firmly believe in myself as someone who can effect immense macro change.’

Good to see Nott cracking down on elitism in all forms…

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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