Sol Plaatje

Literary Birthday – 9 October – Sol Plaatje

Sol Plaatje was born 9 October 1876, and died 19 June 1932.


  1. Awaking on Friday morning, June 20, 1913, the South African Native found himself, not actually a slave, but a pariah in the land of his birth.
  2. So long as there are two men left on earth there will be war.
  3. Strange to relate, these simple folk were perfectly happy without money and without silver watches. Abject poverty was practically unknown; they had no orphanages because there were no nameless babies.
  4. The viewpoint of the ruler is not always the viewpoint of the ruled.
  5. A man was not made to live alone.
  6. For to crown all our calamities, South Africa has by law ceased to be the home of any of her native children whose skins are dyed with a hue that does not conform to the regulation hue.
  7. The gods are cruel, and one of their cruellest acts of omission was that of giving us no hint that in very much less than a quarter of a century all those hundreds of heads of cattle, and sheep and horses belonging to the family would vanish like a morning mist. They might have warned us that Englishmen would agree with Dutchmen to make it unlawful for black men to keep cows of their own. The gods could have prepared us gradually for shock.

Sol Plaatje was a South African intellectual, journalist, linguist, politician, translator and writer. He wrote Mhudi, the first full-length novel in English by a black South African. He was the first person to translate Shakespeare into an African language. The Sol Plaatje Local Municipality, which includes the city of Kimberley, is named after him, as is the Sol Plaatje University, due to open its doors in 2014.

Source for image

AnonymousUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

source 1 and source 2 for quotes

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 9th October 2013