CECIL RHODES, South African politician, founder of Rhodesia born (d. 1902); Like Carnegie, Nobel and many other multi-millionaires who made their fortunes through the blood of others and are remembered today for the good that has lived on after them in bequests and charities and edifices that their money endowed, Cecil Rhodes is remembered for the scholarships to Oxford that bear his name.
Although most people think that Carnegie is a hall and Nobel is a prize, it is less difficult to forget Rhodes’s South African background, not if one has read a newspaper at any time during the past fifty years.
Rhodes was the owner of the Kimberley diamond mines, which he had expanded by expropriating the land of the Matabeles by trickery, and was an active force in South African politics, where, to the chagrin of his native England, he was favorably disposed to the Boers.
Many of today’s problems in South Africa had their foundations laid during the time that Rhodes was the virtual dictator. One of the grounds for selection as a Rhodes Scholar that has almost made it impossible for most “grinds” to apply is Rhodes insistence that a candidate have a “fondness for and success in manly outdoor sports, such as football and cricket.” One wonders whether Rhodes homosexuality had anything to do with this requirement, or whether such athletic prowess was simply another demonstration of the benevolent superiority of the Anglo-Saxon race.