Oral history interview with Francis Wilson, 1999


Wilson, Francis, 1939- (Interviewee)
Clark, Mary Marshall (Interviewer)
Oral history interview with Francis Wilson, 1999
Background: born 1939 Livingstone, Zambia; childhood Eastern Cape, South Africa, speaking Xhosa, anthropologist parents, progressive attitudes at home; University of Cape Town [UCT]: math and physics, political involvement, student organizations; University of Cambridge: economics and race relations, Student Christian Movement, integrating faith and politics, social segregation; coming to terms with father's death in 1961; University of Virginia one-year scholarship; South African resistance movements in 1960s: military opposition, significant black opposition jailed, dead or in exile; career: return to South Africa, teaching and research job at UCT's School of Economics (1967- ); personal political development: anti-apartheid struggle within South Africa, influence of theological training, implementing creative strategies; research and publishing: oscillating migratory labor system, mines, pass laws, analyzing South African economy beyond national boundaries; establishing the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit [SALDRU]; interaction with Carnegie Corporation of New York [Carnegie]: discussions with Alan Pifer and David Hood, realizing the Second Inquiry on Poverty and Development in Southern Africa [Second Inquiry] (1982-1984), the First Inquiry on Poverty in South Africa, creative interaction and trusting relationship with Carnegie; approach and preparations for Second Inquiry: organization and structure, bibliography, building racially diverse team of researchers, people together, discussions with Mamphela A. Ramphele and Fikile Bam, communicating project and gaining support from the African National Congress [ANC], support from the Ford Foundation for interns and returning scholars at SALDRU, interaction with media, collecting personal stories, confronting reality with fieldwork; goals of study: gather information, raise general consciousness and develop ideas, short versus long-term goals of political liberation; Omar Badsha and photographic contributions to Second Inquiry; poverty in South Africa: water distribution, rural versus urban, different geographical and social realities, unemployment, urbanization, industrialization and generation of poverty in rural areas; Black Consciousness Movement: Stephen Biko, Ramphele; violence and turmoil in 1980s; 1984 conference on Second Inquiry and post-conference publications: Education, from Poverty to Liberty : Report for the Second Carnegie Inquiry into Poverty and Development in Southern Africa, Uprooting Poverty: The South African Challenge; role of organizations for political change; SALDRU and the Project for Statistics and Living Standards in Development: chairman, support from the World Bank and the ANC; challenges facing the post-apartheid government; continued role of philanthropy in South Africa
Collection Name
Carnegie Corporation project. Part 2
Economists--South Africa; Government, Resistance to--History--20th century.--South Africa; Anti-apartheid movements--South Africa; Poverty--South Africa; Wilson, Francis, 1939-; University of Cape Town Faculty; University of Cape Town. Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit; Black Consciousness Movement of South Africa; Carnegie Corporation of New York; Carnegie Inquiry into Poverty and Development in Southern Africa; Carnegie Inquiry into Poverty and Development in Southern Africa Cape Town, South Africa). 1984 : (2nd; Post conference series
oral histories
Origin Information
Physical Description
294 pages
Note (Biographical)
Labor economist; professor; activist
Note (Funding)
Digital reproduction funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Carnegie Corporation of New York
Digitized by Safe Sound Archive, Philadelphia, 2010
Interviewed by: Mary Marshall Clark, Aug. 1, 3-4, 6, 1999
Sound quality is poor in places
Service copy (44 kHz, 16 bit) and rendered version (96 kHz, 24 bit) of sound file derived from a digital preservation master digitized at 96 kHz, 24 bit
Note (Provenance)
Gift of Francis Wilson
Library Location
Oral History Archives at Columbia, Columbia University
Persistent URL