We mourn the loss of Professor Eddie Webster

29 March 1942 - 5 March 2024

It is with great sadness that we learnt of the passing of Professor Edward Webster (82), who passed away on Tuesday, 5 March after a short illness.

“Edward Webster was born on 29 March 1942 and educated at Selborne College. He obtained a BA Honours degree and University Education Diploma from Rhodes University, an MA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University, and a Bachelor of Philosophy from York University. He obtained his PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand.

Professor Webster established the Society, Work and Development Institute at Wits. He was recognised locally and internationally for his significant contribution to scholarship, especially in the field of Industrial Sociology. His book Cast in a Racial Mould (1985), showing how the labour movement in South Africa was shaped by changes in the labour process, remains a classic.

He pioneered the academic study of the sociology of work and labour in South Africa. As Head of the Department of Sociology at Wits University for ten years (1988 – 1995; 2000 -2002) he focused on the transformation of the curriculum and staff development (particularly of young, African scholars). Webster transformed it into the leading department of sociology in Africa. He introduced a Masters by coursework, and an Honours programme in Industrial Sociology which has produced many of the key industrial relations scholars and actors in South Africa.”

Eddie Webster

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