By Alec Hogg
Yesterday’s piece about the bullying at Bryanston High of future billionaire Elon Musk had a personal aspect. My late son Travis, similar to the schoolboy Elon Musk in many ways, was also bullied mercilessly at school. Too smart for his own wellbeing, he often suffered the consequences of a quick mouth and late developing body. His mother was so incensed she gave one of the bullies a clout. But even that didn’t help.
But as tough a time as Travis had of it, Elon Musk’s Bryanston bullies set new levels of schoolyard brutality. Elon’s father, Errol Graham Musk, dropped me a note after reading yesterday’s newsletter. He pointed out that after the incident described in the Ashlee Vance biography, his now famous son “was so injured I never recognised him at Sandton Clinic. He was in hospital for two weeks.”
Worse, nobody seemed to care. Says Errol Musk: “I laid a charge of assault but the Randburg police declined to prosecute saying it was just “skoolseuns wat rondspeel” (schoolboy high jinks). The school itself was non-commital. Elon was 12. I removed him immediately, driving at first daily to Pretoria Boys High.”
We are all products of our upbringing. Hopefully that kind of culture has been eradicated in the New South Africa. The nation cannot afford to lose its next Elon Musk to the after-effects of schoolboy bullies.