Alec Hogg of Moneyweb speaking about Davos
Alec Hogg of Moneyweb speaking about Davos

Alec Hogg of Moneyweb speaking at the Al Maktoum School of Management Excellence

(Photo : Summerhill Stud)



Alec Hogg of Moneyweb’s reflections on his attendance at last week’s G20 summit in Davos, reminded us of the dire need for education in South Africa, and the well of untapped natural talent we have on our doorstep.

A British Olympic rider staying recently at Hartford House, witnessed a passing string of racehorses on the Imperial Despatch track; he was at once mesmerised. Here was the equine equivalent of a gallery of the old masters, as glorious a gathering of the good Lord’s finest creatures as he’d witnessed. It was their Zulu riders though, that really beguiled him, as much as one with the horses as he’d known.

When he enquired of the lead rider where he’d learned his trade, the response was quick “I was born to ride horses, sir”. He might have been talking for his fifteen colleagues as well. You never want to underestimate the Zulus. Our British forebears made that mistake at the Battle Of Isandlwana in 1879, and it’s never been forgotten. There is only one nation on earth, whose name is known to every airline pilot on the planet: “Z” for Zulu.

It’s a little known fact that the Hong Kong jockeys’ title, the most sought after in the world, has been in South African hands for 18 of the past 19 years. Yes sir, we were born to ride horses. It’s also a little known fact that no country of South Africa’s size, has produced so many world class businesses. By a country mile. There’s something extraordinary about the history of this paradoxical land of creativity, conflict and enterprise, that lifts us as a nation. That, as much as anything else, prompted Summerhill Stud, the nation’s leading racehorse breeders for the past six consecutive years, to embark on a programme some fifteen years ago, of sending its young Zulu horsemen abroad on scholarships to the United States, England and Ireland, where they’ve always returned as the top students of their year.

There are already three learning institutions at Summerhill. A crèche, a preparatory school, and a life skills mentoring class. The “prep”, with just 65 pupils, has fashioned a mayor and two junior international athletes in recent times. The mentoring class has seen the award of 40 overseas scholarships to people who had never ventured too far from the boundaries of Mooi River in their lives.

Summerhill’s most recent project, the only one of its kind in the southern hemisphere, the Al Maktoum School Of Management Excellence, fills a void in the needs of an industry involving billions of dollars in investment, but remarkably short on the educational opportunities this facility will deliver. The racehorse industry, which a recent survey found to be the most labour intensive in the country, has no formal educational institution dedicated to the production of management graduates, neither here in South Africa or anywhere else in the lower half of the globe. The School Of Excellence has solicited the support of several professors in the equine sciences, veterinarians, accomplished horseman and some of the outstanding personalities of the trade, to assist with the mentoring and tutoring of candidates. Already, there have been applicants for this course from several parts of the world, and while preference will initially be given to local nationals, and in particular those from the disadvantaged community, it is intended that, from 2012 onwards, there will be an international element among the students.

Any facility of this magnificence, requires a visit, but the upkeep demands its use for purposes outside of its learners. This week witnessed an exceptional lecture to a packed audience on his observations of the G20 Summit in Davos, Switzerland, by Moneyweb’s celebrated founder and financial journalist, Alec Hogg, now a neighbour of the Midlands nursery. For those who are curious to know the inside story of Davos, Alec embarks next week on a lecture tour of the country for his sponsors, Discovery, where he will be delivering addresses at the following places.

Cape Town

The One and Only on Tuesday 1st March @09h00


Oyster Box on Tuesday 1st March @ 17h00

Port Elizabeth

Kelway on Wednesday 2nd March @ 12h30


Protea Hotel Waterfront on Thursday 3rd March


JSE on Friday 4th March @08h30

Anyone wishing to be considered for candidature to the School (which opens its doors as an institution on the 1st May), should contact Heather Morkel at +27 (0) 33 263 1081 or click the Al Maktoum School link at the top of this page for details of the curriculum. Likewise, those interested in using the facility as a conference, wedding or function venue should visit (

summerhill stud, south africa
summerhill stud, south africa

For more information, please visit