“In bringing together, and gently commenting upon, little known published and unpublished work by Sol Plaatje, Willan has produced something which both honours Plaatje's memory and provides readers and researchers with a material basis on which independent judgments can be made about Plaatje both as a politician and a writer. For this he deserves our thanks.”
Willie Henderson, African Affairs
“The…book succeeds admirably in achieving Willan’s primary aim: to make possible a better understanding and appreciation of Plaatje’s work, and of the political, social and personal contexts in which it was carried out. Willan’s own commentary adds greatly to the understanding and appreciation that he is anxious to advance. The book provides wonderful insights into Plaatje’s personality and his thinking, and illustrates the range of his literary style.”
Peter Randall, The Johannesburg Financial Mail
Sol Plaatje is one of South Africa’s most important political and literary figures. A pioneer in the history of the black press, he was one of the founders of the African National Congress, a leading spokesman for black opinion throughout his life, and the author of three well-known books: Mafeking Diary, Native Life in South Africa, and his historical novel, Mhudi.
These books are not Plaatje’s only claim to fame. In the course of a prolific career he wrote letters to the press, newspaper articles and editorials, pamphlets, political speeches, evidence to government commissions of enquiry, unpublished autobiographical writings, and many personal letters. Together they provide both an engaging personal record and a very readable – and revealing – commentary on South African social and political affairs during the era of segregation, from 1899 through to Plaatje’s tragically early death in 1932.
What he wrote has a unique historical importance, all the more meaningful from the perspective of the 1990s.
Sol Plaatje is one of South Africa’s most important political and literary figures. A pioneer in the history of the black press, he was one of the founders of the African National Congress, a leading spokesman for black opinion throughout his life, and the author of three well-known books: Mafeking Diary, Native Life in South Africa, and his historical novel, Mhudi. More info →
Brian Willan has assembled and edited this fascinating collection from a variety of disparate and often obscure sources, making a comprehensive selection of Plaatje’s writings available to a wider audience for the first time. More info →
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“South Africa has jailed so many gifted men and women that there already exists a sizeable body of prison writing…The essays by Govan Mbeki which comprise this book add to this distinguished list. Yet they differ in important respects from all others: they were written, circulated and preserved in prison. They were never intended for publication but to be read by other prisoners; their aim is not to share an experience but to educate politically. They are remarkable documents.
Ralph Bunche, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950, traveled to South Africa for three months in 1937. His notes, which have been skillfully compiled and annotated by historian Robert R. Edgar, provide unique insights on a segregated society.
African Studies · Southern Africa · Africa · 20th century · African American Studies · Diaries and Journals · History · African History · Sociology · Biography · Literary Studies · American History · South Africa
Rewriting Modernity: Studies in Black South African Literary History connects the black literary archive in South Africa to international postcolonial studies via the theory of transculturation, a position adapted from the Cuban anthropologist Fernando Ortiz.