Oral history interview with Francis Wilson, 1999


Wilson, Francis, 1939- (Interviewee)
Clark, Mary Marshall (Interviewer)
Oral history interview with Francis Wilson, 1999
Other Titles
Reminiscences of Francis Wilson : oral history, 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
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
Columbia Center for Oral History, Columbia University
Browse Location’s Digital Content
Catalog Record
Also In
Carnegie Corporation Oral History Project [Staging]
Oral History Archives at Columbia
Persistent URL
Related URLs
Available digital content for this interview.