Monica Wilson

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Monica Wilson
Born (1908-01-03)3 January 1908
Lovedale, Eastern Cape
Died 28 September 1982(1982-09-28) (aged 74)
Hogsback, Eastern Cape.[1]
Fields Social Anthropology
Institutions University of Cape Town
Alma mater Girton College, Cambridge
Thesis 'Reaction to Conquest'
Partner Godfrey Wilson
Children Francis Wilson[2]

Monica Wilson, née Hunter (3 January 1908 – 26 October 1982) was a South African anthropologist, who was professor of social anthropology at the University of Cape Town.[3][4]


Monica Hunter was born to missionary parents in Lovedale in the Eastern Cape, speaking Xhosa from childhood. She studied history at Girton College, Cambridge before gaining a Cambridge doctorate in anthropology in 1934. Her thesis, the fieldwork for which was undertaken with the Pondo in the Eastern Cape between 1931 and 1933, was presented in the monograph Reaction to Conquest.[5]

Marrying Godfrey Wilson in 1935, the pair undertook fieldwork with the Nyakyusa in Tanzania between 1935 and 1938. Their fieldwork was sponsored by the International African Institute,[3] Godfrey Wilson died in 1944. Monica taught at the University College of Fort Hare from 1944 to 1946 and at Rhodes University from 1947 to 1951. She was Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Cape Town from 1952 until retirement in 1973.[3]

She died in Hogsback, Eastern Cape at her home, which is now a research centre for the University of Fort Hare.[1]



  1. ^ a b 'Obituary: Professor of anthropology', The Guardian, 27 October 1982
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c Brokensha, David (2011). "Monica Wilson 1908–82". Africa. 53 (03): 83–87. ISSN 0001-9720. doi:10.1017/S0001972000027595. 
  4. ^ "Monica Hunter Wilson". South African History Online. Retrieved 2014-08-30. 
  5. ^ 'Professor Monica Wilson', The Times, 1 November 1982.

Further reading[edit]

  • Morrow, Sean (2016). The Fires Beneath: The Life of Monica Wilson, South African Anthropologist. Penguin. ISBN 9781776090396. 

External links[edit]