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Edited by Brian Willan and Sabata-mpho Mokae

Published by HiPSA (Historical Publications Southern Africa)


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Sol T. Plaatje is one of South Africa’s best known writers and political leaders, famous as a founder and first secretary of the African National Congress and as author of Native Life in South Africa and his novel, Mhudi. In this new book, editors Brian Willan and Sabata-mpho Mokae bring together a fascinating collection of Plaatje’s letters, most of them published here for the first time. They include letters he wrote in both English and Setswana (reproduced with English translations), and they shed new light on his many struggles, for example in keeping his newspapers going, and on his relationships with a variety of his contemporaries – the Molema family in Mahikeng, with politicians and administrators, white liberal sympathizers, African American leaders he met on his trip to the US. Taken together the letters provide an invaluable insight into the private and public lives of one of South Africa’s most iconic figures, illuminating at the same time many key episodes of South Africa’s early twentieth century history.

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