We sit down with SALDRU’s founding director, Emeritus Professor Francis Wilson, who talks about SALDRU’s genesis in the 1970’s. In this interview, which specifically covers SALDRU’s early years and the challenges of working on the question of inequality at the height of the apartheid era, Wilson explains how his PhD, a seminal work on wage inequality in the mining sector, inspired SALDRU’s launch and further research into hitherto unexamined aspects of poverty and inequality in South Africa.
Apartheid continues to cast a long shadow on contemporary South Africa, making Wilson’s reflections on the enormous wage gap between black and white South Africans extremely interesting. By 1971 the wage gap between white and black people working in the mining industry was 20:1.
Watch the video to learn more about the history of wage inequality in South Africa and SALDRU’s important work on the second Carnegie Conference, which took place in trying times during the 1980’s. The conference built a firm foundation that supports our work in poverty and inequality even today.