Who gets in and why? Race, class and aspiration in South Africa’s elite schools


Jonathan Jansen
University of Stellenbosch
Samantha Kriger
Cape Peninsula University of Technology


A main road snakes from the City Bowl in the north to Fish Hoek in the south, along which corridor sit some of the most prestigious academic schools on the continent, in sight of Africa’s leading tertiary institution, the University of Cape Town. This is a study of patterns of racial segregation in the elite primary schools of one of the ‘whitest’ and wealthiest areas of South Africa, the southern suburbs of Cape Town. What keeps these elite schools ‘white dominant’ in a province and country that is overwhelmingly black? How do schools administer their admissions policies such that the outcome is white-majority enrolments? Why does a post-apartheid government allow ‘white dominant’ schools to exist? This is the first available study on the micro-politics of primary school admissions that addresses the question ‘Who gets in, and why?’ against the backdrop of South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy. For this reason, among others, the book holds significance for international scholarship on education policy and politics while at the same time offering practical value for South African parents who struggle to get their children admitted to these elite schools.


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4 August 2022


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