n South African Medical Journal - The vexed question of race-based admission to medical school

Volume 102, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Sixty-two years after the much reviled and now repealed Population Registration Act of 1950 was enacted, and 18 years into our new non-racial democracy, it continues to haunt South African public life. The Act classified South Africans into 'race' categories, thus creating the framework for the differentiated allocation of opportunity and privilege, and resulted in severe inequalities between the white elite and the black underclass. The historical inequalities continue to manifest themselves in all aspects of daily living such as housing, health, wealth, employment, skills, assets, education and more. Democratic South Africa has chosen to redress these inequalities through 'affirmative action', a concept that is perhaps best expressed in the Afrikaans equivalent of . It was US President John F Kennedy who coined the phrase 'affirmative action' back in 1961. But it fell to his successor, Lyndon B Johnson, to implement the concept, declaring that 'We seek ... not just equality as a right and a theory, but equality as a fact and as a result.' Since that time five decades ago, affirmative action has found wide application in all spheres of life in the USA, including preferential admission to university of African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error