Interview with Joel Samoff

by Joel Samoff (interviewee), David Wiley (interviewer)
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
November 22, 2009
Duration: 67:50
Type: Interview
Coverage in Africa: South Africa
Coverage outside Africa: United States
Language: English
Joel Samoff discusses solidarity work on South Africa on three campuses, where he participated as a graduate student and later a faculty member. He was a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin beginning in the late 1960s, where there were vibrant political discussions and speakers about South Africa, with a strong presence of both the African National Congress (ANC) and the Unity Movement. Samoff recounts activities during the early years of the divestment movement, when students regularly spoke about South Africa at the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents meetings. He provides information about the South African government's activities against the anti-apartheid movement on campus and in local communities across the country. He also discusses anti-apartheid work at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he was on the faculty from 1970 to 1980. Samoff's work on South Africa continued when he went to Stanford University in 1980, where undergraduate students were a strong force in South African organizing, particularly the Students of Color coalition. Samoff comments on the impact of corporations in the debate about South African divestment at both Stanford and the University of Michigan. Samoff later worked with the African National Congress and National Education Coordinating Committee to develop education policy for the post-apartheid era.

Used by permission of Joel Samoff and David Wiley.