Sol T. Plaatje

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.

Listed in: African Studies · African Literature · Military History · Biography · History · African History · Literary Studies




Sol Plaatje · Selected Writings
By Sol T. Plaatje · Edited by Brian Willan

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“In bringing together, and gently commenting upon, little known published and unpublished work by Sol Plaatje, Willan has produced something which both honours Plaatje's memory and provides readers and researchers with a material basis on which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




Native Life in South Africa · Before and Since the European War and the Boer Rebellion
By Sol T. Plaatje · Introduction by Brian Willan · Foreword by Bessie Head

First published in 1916 and one of South Africa's great political books, Native Life in South Africa was first and foremost a response to the Native's Land Act of 1913, and was written by one of the most gifted and influential writers and journalists of his generation. Sol T. Plaatje provides an account of the origins of this crucially important piece of legislation and a devastating description of its immediate effects.




Mafeking Diary · A Black Man's View of a White Man's War
By Sol T. Plaatje · Edited by John Comaroff

“Sol Plaatje's Mafeking Diary is a document of enduring importance and fascination. The product of a young black South African court interpreter, just turned 23 years old when he started writing, it opens an entirely new vista on the famous Siege of Mafeking.

“The diary provides an unusual prism through which to examine the famous two-hundred-day siege…Overall, the style comes across as refreshing, vibrant, and always deeply humane, reflecting an extraordinary talent…Comaroff's scholarship also shows him to be a capable historian, making the diary much more than a moving and at times graphic account of the terrors of the siege…This is a must for both Boer War aficionados and all those interested in South Africa.”

Patrick Furlong, The International Journal of African Historical Studies