Reader’s letter: Too white to become a doctor


A distraught, sad and disappointed mother writes:

I am writing this letter with a sad and deeply disappointed heart. I am a white mother of a white daughter who is too white to study medicine in her native country. I know a lot has been written on this topic and still falls on deaf ears, but I have to get it from my heart and say my say.

My daughter was in matric last year in a top academic school in Pretoria, where she was also a main leader. She received five distinctions with an average of 83%. Of course far too few to study medicine in South Africa, just because she is white.

Then we made peace with the quota system at all the universities and she studied BSc Biological Sciences with the hope of being selected again after six months. Needless to say that an 80% average for the first six months of BSc is also not good enough to become a doctor in South Africa, just because she will be a white doctor.

Who cares if you are sick and a doctor has to see what race the doctor is? You just want to get medicine and feel better. Why I just want to know and understand, should they link race to a student whose heart’s desire is to become a doctor?

Why is there not the quota system in BCom or engineering or any other degrees? Why are students admitted there based on their grades and not race? And then the health department sends students to Cuba to qualify as doctors there and not even in your own country? Is it not for the benefit of all people to train good doctors?

Wouldn’t you rather go to a doctor who was allowed to study medicine based on his merits and grades, than to a doctor who only studied medicine because of his race?

So what does this mean for my daughter who passes her BSc with honors for these first six months and who has been rejected again to study medicine? She has to try again to get in in January, and what are the chances because the quota system is still going to be there. Should she change direction completely and become an accountant or should she just try to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor and making people healthy in another country?

What is a white girl with a heart’s desire to become a doctor to do?

She is a South African to the core and really does not want to take the road to another country, but that is probably her only option.