Pearce, Reginald Frederick George

Reference code(s): GB 0102 MS 380397
Held at: School of Oriental and African Studies Library
Domain: archival
Title: Pearce, Reginald Frederick George
Date(s) of contents: Created 1959-1973
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent and medium: 1 box


Name of creator(s): Pearce | Reginald Frederick George | b 1915 | clergyman

Administrative/Biographical history: Reginald George Pearce was born in South Africa in 1915. He was educated in South Africa and Scotland. He became junior clerk in a motor firm, and then a bank clerk in Johannesburg, where he worked for seven years. He was ordained into the Anglican Church in 1940, serving first as a curate at the Church of St. Marks, Bury, Lancashire. He spent a year in Brazil from 1957-1958.

From 1958-1961 he served in the Parish of St. John Wynberg, Cape Province, South Africa, before taking up the post of Rector and Manager of Anglican Church Schools in Namaqualand. In September 1964, Pearce became Rector of St. Anne's Church, Maitland, Cape Town.

During his time in South Africa, Rev. Pearce was witness to the effects of the Race Re-classification Laws on members of his own congregation. In 1964 he became involved in the case of William Boikanyio, a 14 year-old student who was removed from the Steinkopf Coloured High School following a ruling by the Coloured Regional School Board, Springbok, that re-classified him as 'black' (Bantu). In January 1967 he resigned his living and used his passport to sponsor the passage of the Fabing family to England, when certain members of the family were re-classified from 'white' to 'coloured'. The wide publicity surrounding the case and the difficulty in obtaining a suitable post in England led to a deterioration in Pearce's health, and he was hospitalised from May - June 1967.

In July 1967, he returned to South Africa to take up a post as hospital chaplain and assistant priest at St. Mary's Collegiate Church, Port Elizabeth. However, his continued stand against apartheid led to his resignation in August 1968. He returned to England, where he became Vicar of St. Clether Church, Laneast, Cornwall. He continued to support the Fabings and it was while seeking sponsorship for Aubrey Fabing's education in 1969 that he came into contact with the Anti-Apartheid Movement, which he later joined. Although Pearce's main concern was with the apartheid system in South Africa, he was also involved in other aspects of church work, for example combating alcoholism and developing the role of the church in industry.

Custodial history:

Immediate source of acquisition: Transferred from the Africa Department, SOAS Library, in 1983.


Scope and content/abstract: Correspondence, newsletters, press cuttings and notes, 1959-1973, of Reginald Frederick George Pearce, relating mainly to civil rights issues in South Africa.

System of arrangement: The material has been arranged in two categories, correspondence and printed material, and then in chronological order.


Language: English

Conditions governing access: Unrestricted.

Conditions governing reproduction: No publication without written permission. Apply to archivist in the first instance.

Finding aids: Unpublished handlist.



Date(s) of descriptions: 15 May 2000

Anglican clergy
Civil and political rights
Human rights
Interethnic relations
Newspaper press
Political movements
Press cuttings
Racial discrimination
Racial segregation
Religious groups
Resistance to oppression

Personal names
Boikanyio | William | fl 1964 | South African student
Fabing | family | of South Africa and England
Pearce | Reginald Frederick George | b 1915 | clergyman

Corporate names

South Africa
Southern Africa