Dr Brian Willan, Senior Research Associate, Rhodes University Institute for the Study of English in Africa

This course will introduce the life and work of Sol T. Plaatje (1876–1932), one of South Africa’s most celebrated political and literary figures. Plaatje is best known as a pioneering journalist, for his role in the early years of the South African Native National Congress (forerunner of today’s ANC), his campaign against the Natives Land Act of 1913, his Mafikeng siege diary and his books: Native Life in South Africa and the historical novel Mhudi.



1. Sol Plaatje: a biographical introduction

2. Leader of his people: Plaatje as political spokesman

3. ‘A pioneer in literature’? Plaatje’s writings in English and Setswana


Recommended reading

Comaroff, J., Willan, B., Molema, S., & Reed, A. 1999 and 2017.  The Mafeking Diary of Sol T. Plaatje. Cape Town: David Phillip.

Molema, S.M. 2012. Lover of his People: A Biography of Sol Plaatje. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.

Plaatje, S.T. 2007 [1916]. Native Life in South Africa. Johannesburg: Picador Africa.

Plaatje, S.T. 2005 [1930]. Mhudi. Johannesburg: Penguin South Africa (various other editions available).

Willan, B. (ed.). 1996 and 2016. Sol Plaatje: selected writings. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.

Willan, B. 2018. Sol Plaatje: A Life of Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje 1876–1932. Johannesburg: Jacana



Date: Tuesday 8 –Thursday 10 January 
Time: 6.45 pm
COURSE FEES Full: R330,00  Staff and Students R165,00
Venue: LT2 Kramer Law Building UCT