Native Life In South Africa, Before and Since the European War and The Boer Rebellion.

First edition of Sol Plaatje's Native Life In South Africa, Before and Since the European War and The Boer Rebellion; inscribed by him to his first biographer Modiri S. Molema

Native Life In South Africa, Before and Since the European War and The Boer Rebellion.

PLAATJE, Solomon Tshekisho [Sol].


Item Number: 118168

London: P. S. King & Son, Ltd, 1916.

First edition of “one of the most remarkable books on Africa by one of the continent’s most remarkable writers” (Neil Parsons). Octavo, original cloth, double frontispiece of the author and Mrs. S. T. Plaatje. Association copy, inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper in the year of publication, “Mr. Modiri S. Molema, With the author’s compliments & pleasant recollections of happy days in the Siege of Mafeking Easter 1916.” The recipient, Modiri S. Molema, was the son of Chief Silas Molema, a personal friend of Plaatje’s who financed The Bechuana Gazette which Plaatje edited between 1902 and 1905. Both Silas and Plaatje were on the side of the British during the Siege of Mafeking, where Plaatje acted as both court interpreter and clerk to the Mafeking administrator of Native affairs. The Molema Family played an important role in South African history. Molema Tawana (c. 1822 – January 1882) was the Barolong Chief and founded the town of Mafeking, which was originally called Molema’s Town. His heir and oldest son, Silas Thelesho Molema was the next chief of the Barolong and friend and benefactor of Sol. Plaatje. It was to Silas’s son, Seetsele Modiri Molema (1891 – 1965), also known as Silas Modiri Molema after his father, that Plaatje gave and inscribed this book, sharing as he says “happy days in the Siege of Mafeking”. Modiri would only have been a boy of about 8 at the time of the Siege, and later went on to study medicine and the University of Glasgow. Before returning to South Africa, Molema wrote an acclaimed history book entitled The Bantu, Past and Present; an Ethnographical & Historical Study of the Native Races of South Africa. Though the book was about Black South Africans in general, the primary focus was the history of the Batswana. On his return to South Africa, he commenced his practice in Mafikeng where he distinguished himself as a medical practitioner of exceptional ability with a large practice serving both White and Black South Africans at Mafikeng and distant towns like Johannesburg. He published several pamphlets and books including the first biography of Sol Plaatje: Lover of His People: Sol Plaatje, originally written in his mother-tongue, Setswana, and the only book-length biography written by someone who actually knew him. The manuscript had long been housed in the Wits Historical Papers and was accessible only to scholars. In the biography, Molema references the present volume and quotes the inscription within it. In the 1940s, Dr. Molema was involved in the African National Congress (ANC) and he became its National Secretary in December 1949. He also served on the African Advisory Council, Joint Advisory Council, and the Constitutional Committee that set the Bechuanaland Protectorate on its road to independence as a Republic of Botswana. In very good condition. The most significant association copy extant.

South African activist and politician Sol Plaatje spent much of his life in the struggle for the enfranchisement and liberation of African people. He was a founder member and first General Secretary of the South African Native National Congress (SANNC), which would become the African National Congress (ANC) ten years later. As a member of an SANNC deputation, he traveled to England to protest the Natives Land Act, 1913, and later to Canada and the United States where he met Marcus Garvey and W. E. B. Du Bois. Plaatje was the first black South African to write a novel in English – Mhudi. He wrote the novel in 1919, but it was only published in 1930. The Sol Plaatje Local Municipality, which includes the city of Kimberley, is named after him, as is the Sol Plaatje University in that city,

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