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Professor Sandra Burman

Nationality: South Africa

Year: 1989

Subject Area: Social Sciences

My academic research in the field of Socio-Legal Studies focused initially on the very impoverished communities living in shanty towns of the Cape Peninsula. I worked partly under the auspices of the Socio-Legal Unit at the University of Cape Town, and partly in Oxford at the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research on Women in Queen Elizabeth House.

Until the end of apartheid and my appointment as Professor of Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Cape Town in 1995, I financed my work entirely through grants, as it was essential to maintain independence from any South African government source. My Wingate Scholarship gave me the chance to pursue issues concerning illegitimacy and resulted in the publication of Questionable Issue: Illegitimacy in South Africa (edited with Eleanor Preston-Whyte) OUP, Cape Town, 1992.

After apartheid ended, a grant from the Wingate Foundation enabled the Centre for Socio-Legal Research (as the Unit had become) to run a series of training workshops for judicial officers and relevant professionals on adapting to the new ethos in South Africa in cases on children.