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Title: The role of Solomon T. Plaatje (1876-1932) in South African society
Author: Willan, Brian Peel
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1979
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Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje was born to Tswana, Christian, parents in 1876, and grew up on a mission station near Kimberley, After first working as a post office messenger, in 1898 he moved to Mafeking to become a court interpreter, and served in this capacity during the famous siege. In 1902 he became editor of an English/Tswana newspaper, Koranta ea Becoana, and established his reputation as a journalist and spokesman for his people. Shortly after Union in 1910 he moved to Kimberley and became editor of another newspaper, Tsala ea Becoana, and was then prominently involved in the founding of the South African Native National Congress, becoming its first Secretary. He took a leading role in the campaign against the Natives' Land Act of 1913, and in 1914 travelled to England as a member of a Congress deputation to the imperial government. Here, he wrote and published Native Life in South Africa, together with two books in Tswana, Returning to South Africa in 1917 he resumed his political role, and sought to establish an organisation known as the Brotherhood Movement which he had encountered in England. In 1919 he returned to England with a second deputation, and subsequently carried his campaign to North America, seeking to publicise the grievances of his people and to raise funds for his Brotherhood work. Writing extensively in both black and white newspapers in South Africa in the 1920s, Plaatje came to devote more of his time and energy to literary activities of various kinds; his novel, Mhudi, was published in 1930. Involved in his later years in a temperance organisation, whose journal he edited in 1931, Plaatje died in Johannesburg in 1932 after a lifetime of ceaseless activity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral