Citation
Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje

Material Information

Title:
Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje
Series Title:
Papers of Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje
Alternate Title:
Typescript account of Plaatje's life by his brother-in-law Isaiah Bud-M'belle
Creator:
Bud-M'belle, Isaiah, 1870-1947 ( Author, Primary )
Place of Publication:
[S.l.]
Publisher:
[manuscript]
Publication Date:
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Plaatje, Sol. T. (Solomon Tshekisho), 1876-1932 ( LCNAF )
Spatial Coverage:
Africa -- South Africa -- Northern Cape -- Frances Baard District -- Kimberley
Coordinates:
-28.742 x 24.772

Notes

General Note:
Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje was born on 9 October 1876, in the district of Boshof, Orange Free State, South Africa. His parents were Barolongs, coming originally from Thaba Ncho, and trekking eventually to Mafeking. He was educated at Pneil Mission Station (Berlin Missionary Society), near Barkly West, until he passed the fourth standard. He then worked as a student teacher, continuing his study through private lessons from the Rev. G.E. Westphal. In March 1894 he joined the Cape Government Service as a letter- carrier in the Kimberley Post Office. In his own time he studied languages and passed the Cape Civil Service examination in typewriting, Dutch and native languages. In 1898 he was transferred to Mafeking as interpreter, and during the Siege of Mafeking at the outbreak of the Boer War in 1899, he was appointed Dutch interpreter to the Court of Summary Jurisdiction. Plaatje decided to become a journalist in order to give a voice to the Bantu people. He edited a number of Bantu language newspapers including Koranta ea Becoana ( The Bechuana Gazette ) 1902- 1905, a weekly paper in English and Sechuana, which was financed by Chief Silas Molema. He then became Editor of Tsala ea Batho ( The People's Friend ) 1910-c1912. He was elected First Secretary-General of the South African Native National Congress (forerunner of the African National Congress), 1912-1917. In 1914 and 1919 he was a member of the Congress delegation to London against the Natives' Land Act of 1913. As a result of financial difficulties he became stranded in London for some time, but used this time to address meetings and to write Sechuana Proverbs. He returned to South Africa in 1917. Plaatje was also a delegate to the first Government Conference held under the Native Affairs Act. He travelled throughout Europe, Canada and the United States to draw attention to the plight of black South Africans. He was the author of numerous books including Native Life in South Africa (1915), Sechuana Proverbs and their European Equivalents (1916), and A Sechuana Reader. In 1919 he wrote Mhudi (published in 1930), which was the first published novel written in English by a Black South African. He died on 19 June 1932. Further reading: Willan, B., Sol Plaatje: South African Nationalist 1876-1932 , (Heineman, 1984)
General Note:
Typescript manuscript
General Note:
Includes short eulogies by various people. Written shortly after Plaatje's death.
General Note:
Page 18 missing.
General Note:
VIAF (name authority) : Plaatje, Sol. T. (Solomon Tshekisho), 1876-1932 : URI http://viaf.org/viaf/68937922

Record Information

Source Institution:
SOAS University of London
Holding Location:
Special Collections
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
MS 375495, Plaatje, Box 1 ( SOAS Order with reference )
MS 375495/01/01 ( CALM reference number )

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Full Text
MS 375495/1
SOLOMON TSHEKISHO PLAATJE
(By I. BUD-M'BELLE)
I have, in response to the request of several people reluctantly undertaken to write a short aooount of the life of the late Solomon plaatje, Reluctantly, because of my inability to do full justice to such an important work owing, firstly, to my ett state of mental distress oaused by his death, secondly, to the short available time within whioh to oolleot whatever useful material his many and distantly soattared friends may have in their possession, I wish also to say that Mrs, Plaatje and 1 are exceedingly grateful to Umteteli for having kindly consented to give publicity to the aooount in its columns,
Sunday, the 19th June, 1932, saw the sad end from double pneumonia, at Lanoefield, Johannesburg, of the event-
..reecurceful *lifa. one Solomon Tshekieho Plaatje, a great and outatan®r.g African leader, The deceased, who was popularly called "Sol, plaatje** by bothe Europeans and natives, was a Morolong of the mabina-Koto clan of the 2a-rolong tribe, born 57 years ago near Boshof in the Orange free State, His parents, who had previously lived in the Moroka Ward, Thaba Lohu, later removed to Mafeking. The plaatje family belonged to the Lutheran Church whose loyal adherents they still are to this day. It was this denominational Influence which took him to the Pniel Mission Station, near Barkly West, where he reoeived his early education under the late Q, B, Westphal. After going through his fourth standard - the highest education that mission school oould give him - he joined the Cape Civil Servioe as a postman at Kimberley whilst still in his teens. He took private studies and soon passed the Cape Civil Servioe examination in typewriting, Dutch, and Seohuana, heading the list of successful candidates in each subjeot, He was later transferred to Mafeking as Court Interpreter and Clerk in the Abgistrate's






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historic
offioe, a post ho hold throughout the^siege of Wafeking during the Anglo* Boar WAr. Ho all along realised that the old order of things - the Bantu primitive life - was gradually
* giving way to European conditions. He closely studied the conditions under which his people lived, and the slow prooess of the new and changed conditions created by the impaot with European civilisation, and by the influence of European administration of native affairs. His one ambition was to acquire suoh knowledge as would enable him to serve and lead his > people in their transition stags, He believed that the best leadership for his people, in suoh circumstances, asu oould be by their own fellowmsn who, as members of the sans race, understood them better, had conmon aspirations, shared the same difficulties and handicaps and feelings, and worked for the same objects; and that the Europeans' share, as a superior and governing raoe, oould be contributed by way of help and encouragement which, he held, devolved on them as a moral obli gat ion and a responsibility they could not likely 8hiak,\. plaatje kept that ever before him as a principle to work for, and a polio y to follow.
Pilled with these ideas after the siege, he deoided to Public
leave the Public Service, The next point that oalled for his decision was, how beat to apply himself to the task he had set before him. This involved the consideration of oertain factors, namely, the Bantu raoe is conpoaed of a number of large tribal groups whose interests and stages of advancement, then fc&d as now, varied; the Churches engaged in Lative work in South Africa were of different rival denominations; the various states now forming the Union of South Africa had eaoh a polio y of native administration of its own, whilst, apart from provincial considerations, the two main sections of the European raoe had, also, eaoh its own way of handling the dative people, based on old established traditions. Sol. plaatje gave these iiqportant factors the serious study and consideration they x deserved. This formed the sound founds* tion on whioh stood his far*seeing and broadminded leadership,



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Ho decided on journalism, in which role he had the eno our?3 gems nt and valuable assistance of such an eadna eminent journalist as W, Vere Stent, who CA was Reuter*s war correspond dent during the siege of ifef eking, and who, for many ye a re was the Editor of the Pretoria News. During that siege PlaatJGi was appointed Dutch interpreter to the Court of Summary Jurisdiction presided over by lord Edward Ceoil, A year later,
after the Anglo-Boer Br» he interpreted for Sir Joseph Cham-Imperial
berlain, the the^Colonial Secretary, on his visit to SSafeking, He be o a ma the Editor of Koranta ea Beohuana, an English** Seohuana weekly financed by his friend Chi the late Chief Silas Molema, the father of Dr. Hole ma. The paper had a seven years* successful exist eno e. He later quitted ifcf eking and repaired to Kimberley where he became Editor of ea
Bat ho. also a weekly paper, owned by a Bantu syndicate with its headquarters at Thaba hohu. Just about that time he acted, during Hr. J. Tengo Jabavu*s absence in England, as Editor of the Imvo Zabantsundu. King William’s Town, the oldest African paper in South Africa.
In 1912, the Africa National Congress was formed, and he was eleoted its first General Corresponding Secretary, with the Rev, J. 1. Dube as its first President General, The Afrioan National Congress was then a strong body headed by a cluster of some of our best and most respeoted leaders. It commanded respect and wielded powerful influence. There was at this time a legislative measure before the country, known as the natives land Bill, Its drastio provisions restricting the acquisition of land by Natives, created a wide spread opposition on the part of the Natives, The Afrioan National Congress organised a string national agitation against it in which Sol Plaatje and Saul Means were the moving spirit. The Bill eventually beoame law. The Congress sent a deputation to England to protest against it. The deoeased was a prominent member of the deputation. The agitation was suspended at the outbreak of the Great War. Whilst in England, Plaafle published his first book "Native Life in South Africa", being


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a statement of the natives* case against the Natives land Act. At the cessation of the hostilities the Congress sent another deputation to England, of which Plaatje was again a member. Hie association with this deputation ended. however**, unhappily. The African National Congress, whose prestige and influence were gradually waning, strangely and unaoceun-tably failed to give lira. Plaatje the support they had solemnly undertaken to provide. Worse still, the Cengre&t. provided funds for the return passage of the other members of the delegation excepting plaatje who. it must be stated, had sacrificed all?including his business - the publication of his paper Teala ea Bathe, for the sake of his people. He was left helplessly stranded overseas, and his wife and family were also left in dire circumstances of extreme destitution.
Lives of great men all remind us
We oan make our lives sublime.
And. departing, leave behind us
Foot prints on the sands of time.
But evil is wrought by want of thought As well as want of heart.
Serious, however, as was his plight. Sol. Plaatje faosd
the embarrassing situation with perfect equanimity, and with
that Christian oourage and optimism which marked his life. It never
mover diverted his mind from the oause he had made up his mind to work for. His wife, whom he has acknowledged to havo always given him the loys.1 co-operation, assistance and encouragement in all his undertakings, accepted the position with the same ohristlan resignation and self-possession as did her husband, Mr. Selope-Thema. in his discourse "The Programme of a Despised Raoe" delivered to the Transvaal Native Teachers Conference in December. 1917. said of her: "As a proof the part which our young women are already playing in our national agf affairs. 1 beg to remind you of a lady who. while her husband, one of the greatest sons of our raoe. was in Great Britain fighting for our liberty and freedom, proved herself an untriring supporter of her husband and in this way contributed largely to the success of Mr, Plaatje’s book ’Dative Life in South Africa’, which I reoommend every teacher to



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read, I, of course, refer to Mrs, Sol, T. Plaatje. This woman, in spite of the difficulties and troubles which she encountered, managed to keep the home fires burning, until the return of Mr, Plaatje, and I am sure 0 we need many more women of Mrs, plaatje»s courage, faith and perserveranoe*,
Plaatje thereafter went to Canada and the United States
of Amerioa. It was during his sojourn there that he learned
of the melanoholy news of the- death of his beloved daughter
Olive, who died at Bloemfontein on her way home from the
Indaleni Training Institution where she was a student. This,
naturally, added more and greater misery and lasting mental
pain to Plaatje, A more miserable situation can hardly be
conoeivsd. He would have personall y attended to the illness
of his daughter, and buried her himself, had not the African
national Congress turned unfaithful to him and meted to him
the gross unkindness of leaving him to his fate overseas after
they had separated him from his family. And, with the kindly
help of his staunoh and life long group of friends at Thaba
Kchu, he mangod to tide over his pecuniary difficulties whioh
had chained him. That at onoe gave him a ray of hope for his
return homeward. In England, he approaohed the Union Castle
iail Steamship Company, placed hie oiroumstanoes before them,
and the Company very graciously agreed to land him at Cape
Town on his undertaking to pay his passage fare within a
certain fixed period from the date of arrival at Cape Town,
where he landed about nine years ago. On the day of his
arrival in Cape Town plaatje went to the General Post Office
opposite whioh stands the building of the offioes of the
Union Castle Mail Steamship Company, The sight of these of«
fioes made him s|b bitterly at the reoollsotlon that it was
wholly through the graoiouaneas of that Company that he found
himself back again in his homeland. Truly, "no man is public
great a favouraite with the pnbli as he who is at onoe an object of admin admiration, of respeot, and of pity"; and
such were the feelings which Solomon plaatje inspired.



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All these trying times and adverse ciroumstanoes to which both he and his family were subjected did not disturb the serene cheerfulness of a mind conscious of innocenoe, and rich in its own wealth. He was hard pressed by pecuniary difficulties. He had se sacrificed and lost all his previous sources of income and livelihood. But Sol. Plaatje renmined strictly faithful to his early opinions, his good principles, and his friends. His integrity remained unstained. His whole deportment indicated, as ever, a fine sense of becoming. Nothing had proved sufficiently powerful to provoke him to retaliation unworthy of a Christian, He remained a gentleman of wit and virtue. The first publio funot ion he performed shortly after his return from England where he had also a&* dressed the World's Brotherhood Conference in London, was the establishment of The Diamond yields Hen's Own Brotherhood and Women's Own Sisterhood which the De Beers Company, in its usual generous attitude towards the general welfare of the Bantu people, gave a spaoious Hall whioh was opened by Lord Buxton, the the Governor-General of the Union. The Brother-
hoot still exists and is doing well.
1
The first Government Native Conference under the Native Affairs Aot he attended as a delegatewas the one whioh considered the Native Administration Aot. His views on this law are worth recording as this Aot seems destined to play a great part in the future history of the Bantu people. He strongly opposed it on the grounds that, the policy of Native administration of l^atal and the Transvaal the Bill sought to extend to the Cape Province, had not benefitted the Natives of those Provinces to any appreciable extent, and oould not be held up as a better policy than the long established system of Native administration of the old Cape Colony, which, he emphasised, had stood the test of time, had given general contentment to Natives, and had produced remarkable progress without disturbing or unsettling the true •’tribal* and sooial life of the people, He held that tribalism suoh as that


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laid down under the She pet one Native polio y? and embodied in that measure, was responsible for the extreme backwardness of the Natives of Zululand/^atal, and also for the endless tribal troubles in the Transvaal, and seriously $ retarded Bantu progress in those Provinces, He urged that the Bill should not be made applicable to the Cape whose Natives have, as the direct result of the Cape Native policy, lived for many many years under conditions far advanoed than those obtaining in the Transvaal and Natal, The main principles of the Bill, he contended, were definitely against the advancement of the Bantu people. He depreoated the encourage* me nt of polygamy under the Bill, and lowering of the standard of Christian marriage as against the "customary” unions?after a century’s missionary work amongst the Natives, during which period about two*thirds of the Native population had been led to regard the ohristian marriage as of truly a Christian oha* raster as to be of a greater binding force and value than the "customary” marriage^. He ohract characterised as immoral and unohristian the provisions of that Bill whioh make it
of
illegal for natives to dispose^Zor distribute their property by will, and compelling them to leave their estates to devolve on male heirs only, under the Native law and oustom, thus disinheriting female heirs. This legislative arrang**»e«t, he stated, meant that where a Native dies without a male issue his daughters would not be entitled to anything in his estate, the whole estate would go to his brothers or uncles who are under no legal obligation to give any share of the benefits of the estate to the daughters of the daosssaswd.
Plaatje never favoured governing the Natives by proclamation. He held it to be an extremely dangerous polioy to entrust the legislation for the millions of ths oitissns of the Union, not to the Supreme legislature of the country, but to the State "Departmental clerks". When told that there oan be no possibility of the praotioe being abused, as there


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(a)
was the safe-guard of the draft proclamations first being
submitted to the Native Affairs Commission before being pro-
mil gated as law, he replied, he could never trust a “lily.
white” Commission which had supported a rigorous pass system
under the natives (Urban) Areas Aot, and that the success of
”government by proclamation" in the Transksian Territories
could not be accepted as a strong argument for its adoption Territories,
outside the larw-Xl^' as in the Transkei, they had the General Council to consider, sorutinise and suggest amendments to, the proclamations before they had the force of law, and even after; while whilst for the rest of the Union no suoh provision exists, and the natives never eb even see the Government Gazette which publishes the proclamation^, Some of the pro — clamations and Government Kotioea occasionally appear in Native papers subsidised by the Government, Plaatje further held that even if the natives saw these draft proclamations,
that was not sufficient, as the mere formal publication of draft
the/proolamations did not admit of the searching debates,
the collective weighing of the views and points for or against
them as is dome done in the oase of all legislative measures, a mere formality.
The publication of draft proclamations is merely formal and the people affected cr for whom those proclamations laws are made, are afforded no opportunity to air their views on them, jaoreover, Plaatje stressed, the hative Affairs Commission,in all the history of its existence, has never availed itself of the powers granted to it of plaoing before Parliament matters or oases in which the Governor-General or the Mnister has not accepted the recommendation of the Commission, or took a contrary action thereto,
Plaatje*s
At the Native Conference, the {remarkss in reepeot of the pass system under the Natives (urban) Areas Aot were met by a rebutting statement from Ur, Roberta, member of the native Affairs Conmission, who is well known to have never favoured or supported any form of pass system for Natives, Ur, Roberts sxpalinedj "The Urban Areas Aot as it emerged from Parliament


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(»)
was a very different measure to the Urban Areas Bill which the Lattve Affairs Commission recommended to the Government,
The provisions which Xr, plaatje referred to were incorporated in the Act by Parliament itself and in parliament he (Dr, Heberts) had spoken against them,"
plaatje’s remarks were not without foundation. He had
in his mind the evidence given by the members of the Native
Affairs Comnission before a parliamentary Seleot Committee
on the Natives (Urban) Areas Bill, Contentious portions of
the Registration Bill « the Pass Bill » had been incorporated
in the Urban Areas Bill without having first been submitted
to a native conference in terms of the x^ative Affairs Act of
1920, This evidently created sharp differences of opinion
between Dr, Roberts and his colleagues, Dr, Roberts was oblige^/
to add the following statement to hie evidence:
"I would like before leaving to express my own very strong feelings in regard to Clause Kins of the Regie-tration and Proteotion Bill finding plaoe in the Natives (Urban) Areas Bill, 1 feel strongly upon the matter, and have fought with tenacity to keep it out, beo&uee I hold that the Urban Areas Bill is not the plaoe for it.
I want the Natives to be thoroughly consulted with regard to this important matter, but whether agreeing or disagreeing myself with them my main contention wee that the Registration Bill was the plaoe for these clauses and not the Urban Areas $'Bill, That is my individual opinion",
It is thus clear that the Native Affairs Commission, as a body, either advocated or supported the incorporation in the Urban Areas Act of certain clauses of the Pass Bill, and Mr, plaatje was therefore justified in blaming the Commission for the pass system in the datives (Urban) Areas Act,
plaatje denounced as a complete subversion ef British ideas of liberty the extraordinarily wide powers given to the "Supreme Chief" in the Bill, under which "the Governor-General may order the removal of any tribe or portion thereof or any Native from any plaoe to any other plaoe within the Union upon suoh conditions as he may determine". Strange as it may seam, plaatje’s views on the .Native Administration Bill were, at the conference, supported only by the Rev, J. L. Hi be Mr. Se lope-The ma, and Dr, Molema. Some of the Cape re pre sen-



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(10)
Indifference
representatives shoved surprising ihdlffreneeto the Bill,
whilst others soernfully referred to plaatje*e views as
"Plaatje’s oration*,, Two years later the Bill cams Before
Parliament. The Cape members of the South African Party it
strongly opposed and expressed views more or less
similar to those held by plaatje. *As the debate progressed*
reported the Cape Times, *it beoams clear that those powers
are of extremely wide character; in fact they might almost
be said to be powers of life and death; and would enable the
Governor*General (whioh means# in effect# the Minister of
Native Affairs) to remove ; atives from one plaoe to another
at will# to remove tribes from plaoe to plaoe# to punish
Natives for offenoes without trial or right of appeal, and
to exeroise absolutely autooratio powers at will.* Mr. Dunoan
was still more engphatic, "In answer to those who urged that
the powers would never be abused# he put the question how
white men would like to find themselves subjected by law to
the arbitrary powere of the Governor*General or any other
person. We ought to reoognise# he said, the truth that there
is only one civilisation# and he rwsscdrt regarded the cal
olause as a most serious retrograde step in Native policy."
Mr. Alexander said# "This law of Natal was suited to a state a
of barbarism and not to Natives who were living in s atats of civilisation." He quoted a. memorable pa* passage from the judgment given by the late Lord Be Villiers in the celebrated. habeas corpus appeal of Sigoau# the Pondo Chief# who was plaoed under arrest by 3£r. Rhodes. "The Parliament of this Colony#* said Be Villiers# J,# "has never yet passed# and is not likely ever to pass# a Bill for the oondemation of any Individual without any form of trial." "Yet#" prooeeds the Cape Times# "as many speakers had shown# the clause would enable the power of punishing without trial to be exercised by the native Affairs Department". The above views# supporting as they do Mr. Plaatjes views on the native Administration Bill# are gi produced as proof of the painstaking and deep* think ing./leader Mr. Sol. Plaatje was.


(OX)
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(11)
The opinion plaatje held of the .ative Affairs Commission is lalso of great interest from the native point of view. It was that, from the spirit of the statute creating it the Commission was established for a definite purpose, namely, to aot as a ‘’friend** of the natives, to act as an intermediary between the natives on the one side, and Parliament, the Government and European public on the other; the Commission to stand for the natives towards the Government, more than it should stand for the Government towards the natives; and above all, to interpret or convey the feelings of the Natives
to the Government and Parliament, Taking all things into
these
consideration, he held that to give full effect to tnare
requirements, the Commission should at least hX have had three
Natives as its members, In many instances. Piastre said,
the Commission was out of touch and out of sympathy with the
Natives, It considered itself to exist more for the Govern*
msnt than for the interests of the datives. It considered
itself under duty bound to consider and study the interests of
the Europeans as those against those of the Natives who have
no Parliament, Provincial Councils, Divisional Counoils,
juunioipalities, and a Sabinet of no less than ten ministers
all of whom are the guardians of the Europeans* interests.
The Europeans brought by far the heaviest pressure to bear
upon the Commission, and, in the oireurnstanoes, fear was expressed
entertained that the Commission has drifted into the habit of accepting what the white people say as necessarily the right polioy or the proper thing for the well*being and development of the Bantu people. There is nothing no policy on record which the native Affairs Commiseion has of its own ever placed before the country, either As a case in point he instanced the question of the new Bantu orthographies proposed by the South African Central Orthography Committee, The Native Affairs Commission , a body which administers the Native Development Account from which it finances native education generally, took no heed of the protests and agitation against these orthographies on the part of the Natives, but


(Xi)
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(12)
rather aoquieeced in, or accepted the exotic ideas of Bantu
orthographies introduced by white experts, Plaatje fought teee orthographies
hard against tkcua, particularly that of desotho and bwetanama Seohuana, he was, of course, unsuccessful, The South African Central Orthography Committee, which Ignh is in no way oonneotec/ with native affairs or Native education, hat depended on/offi* cial support and on a strong section of the missionaries to force their new orthographies on the unwilling Natives, And they have succeeded. The Sesotho-Sechuana. orthography which the Natives in and outside the Union find wholly unacceptable haa been officially adopted by the various provincial Depart* ments of Education, Plaatje’s "a servioee and efforts in thio matter were greatly valued and appreciated by his people. The
whole question of those orthographies has only served to show that Plaatje was right in maintaining that, the stives in
men of
by^th
eir
matters affecting/aa a race, should be led
A
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is required, f
A
own race,
assistance
As a diligent champion of the Bantu cause, 4r» Plaatje kept a vigilant watch over the interests of the Bantu people. He interested himself in every matter which he considered endangered the Bantu interests and their rights «■ present or future. He figured prominently in the fight against General Hertzog’s Native Bills, He also fought against the unjust incidence of the Native taxation. He held that its incidence was unjust and fell heavily on the Natives, ae it took no cognisance of the man’s earning capacity. So long as the Native was a. •’nale" of the age of eighteen years and upwards, no matter how scant his earnings are, he is liable to pay a ysarly tax of .£1 towards the public revenue of the Union,
The Native pays both for the general administration of the country, and for his education under a special tax whioh yield over .2500,000 a year and kept solely for his education and other Native wcifaTS services considered to be for the welfare of the Natives, The coloured people and Indians (exoept a


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(13)
a few whose i no owes are over £300 a year) pay nothing toward*
into the Government ooffer^/?and nothing for the general
administration of the country; they have no speoial tax
imposed upon them for their education., Yet they have far
better equipped schools* far greater education facilities ilJheavily taxed./
than the^hatives; their education is finanoed entirely from the publio revenue towards which the Bwsk Bantu people pay a direot tax of over £900*000 yearly; their sohool teaohers are paid far higher salaries than those reoelved by the Afri* oan teaohers; and they enjoy greater righto and more privi-leges than the Bantu who are hemmed on all sides by numerous
legal disabilities* ihd degraded and humiliated by the ad* ministration of such pin* prick laws as the pass laws* andother race discriminating laws of the Union,
Sol. Plaatje was known to* and respeoted by all South Afrioan Bantu tribes. He had a host of personal friends amongst them* as well as among the Europeans* the ifelay* In* dian and coloured comaunit |iee in 3outh Africa* JSurope and America, He was a great supporter of church work, and was a looal preoher and social worker. In his travels u ax social worker he showed biosoope pictures to the inmates of Leper Asylums in Basutoland and Pretoria, He was the first or only Native known to entertain those poor unfortunate persons in that way. In May and June last year he attended the international Exhibition at Elisabethville* the oapital of Katanga* in the Belgian Congo, "It struck ms"* he wrote* that a visit up there and a study of race*relationship on the spot might yield information of some value. The General Manager of Railways obligingly concurred in the idea* and opened the way with a free press ticket to the Congo border," He was one of the leading officials of the cause of the True Templars* and was the Editor of its offioial organ "Our Heritage", Mr. J, W, Mxshet of Cape Town, is the Right Worthy Tenplar of the I, 0, T, T. another great friend the decs de-


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(14)
a foroeful and effective public speaker and writer# net only also
in his own language, but in both English and Afrikaans# He was sharp witted, quick of thought, a humourist. He had a way peculiarly his own, of approaching, interviewing, and placing his case before, oabinet ministers of all political shades, and other highly placed authorities of English or Butch extraction a rare and valuable quality not possessed by other Bantu leaders. He wrote extensively in the Bantu papers as well as in the leading European newspapers in South Afrioa and oversseas, He was the author os several books: Native Life in South Africa; The Mote and the Beam; Seohuana Proverbs, A Seohuana Reader; Mhudi (a novel); and the translation into Seohuana of Shakespare’s Comedy of Errors, He also translated
Julius Caesar; Much Ado About Nothing; and the Merohant of Venice; all of which X^ bave not been published yet, inolu* ding the Monkey Voodoo (a novel). He liked to write obituaries of notable Bantu people and of Europeans who had worked fast for the cause and welfare of Natives, The last obituaries he wrote were Mr, H. M. Taberer, Native labour Adviser to the Chamber of Mines, whose funeral he attended in Johannesburg# and of Miss Harrietta E, Colenso to who^he dedicated his book "Native Life in South Afrioa",
He married in 1S9Q, at Kimberley, a Pin go girl Elisabeth M' be lie, an 1-Bhelekasl lakwa Ntshangase, who survives him. There are four children of the marriage living, of whom the daughter Violet is a school mistress at Kimberley, and one of the sons is a Court Interpreter and Clerk in the Jfegistrate offioe# Kimsberley,
The Rev. Ray E, Phillips, his oo-sooial worker, very
kindly assisted in the removal of the body from Johannesburg Mr.
to Kimberley,^/Alfred Ntshoko (nephew); Mr. R, W. Msimang (son inlaw); Mr. Itebaso; Chief Sebupuoa Mole ma; Chief Zibi; and a number of friends were at the station when the body was removed to Kimberley,


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(15)
His funeral was attended toy over 1,000 Natives as well as many representatives of Ruropeqji, coloured and Indian communities of Kimberley, *Not onoe toe fore in history has the West Snd Cemetery worn such an Sthiopian aspect as it did on the occasion of the obsequies of the late Mr, Sol, T, Plaatje, From all points of the compass Natives converged on the little plot of ground in the Native portion of the cemetery to do honour and pay their last respeots to the stalwart leader of Native opinion, one who for years has been their advocate, defender, shield and friend, Suropeans were there in largga large numbers to do homage to one who was an avowed enemy of racialism, and eulogies over his grave oame from politicians, journalists, clergy, laity, white men, ooloureds and Natives,
all unanimous in mourning the passing of a groat patriot*.
An i aproes ive deosase d* s
The memorial sarvioe was hei d at the Lut ha ran Churchy J&GS&538BS29B
The Rev, G. Kuhn, assisted toy the Rev, Mr, Spingies and Rev. Mr, Swanepool, conducy conducted a very impressive memo-rial service at the deoeased'd Lutheran Church, No, 3 Location, during which the Rev, Z, R, Mahatoa.no, Methodist Minister
Kimberley, paid high tribute to the deceased. At the burial and was
service the Rev, G, Kuhn officiated assisted toy the same tow v two gentlemen ministers, after whioh the Rev. H, D, Hlatoa-ngane of Springs and chaplain of the Order, assisted toy Rev, Robert N, Maohatoa of Johannesburg, conducted the I.O.T.T. burial oervioe.
The ohief mourners were Mrs, Sol, T, Plaatje, Mr, R.S, plaatje (son), Miss, V, N, Plaatje (daughter), Mr, S, Plaatja (Pniel), Mr. P, Plaatje (brother, Bethania), Mr, J, Boom (oou-sin, Cape Town), Mrs, J. Ntingana (ei»ter-in«law), Mr, I, Bud M*belle (brother-in-law), Mrs, R, W, Meiaang (Johannesburg), Nurse Jane P«M*belle (Pretoria), Mrs, R, 6, M* belle (Naf eking) Mrs, Helen Smouse (sister-in-law) and MT, A, R, ifcehoko his oousin and most devoted friend to whom all the arrangements and the control of the thousands of people colleoted were successfully entrusted,


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(16)
The pall-bearers were Messrs, J. Ngoeaula, J,w. lavita, < Michael van Rsenen, J, Mol oho, S, Mzondeki, and K, Johannes,
Among those who assembled at the Church or at the graveside were; Mr, W. B. Humphreys, M»P»; the Mayor (Councillor B. Cohen); Councillors T, Sriosen, M.P,C,; J.C.Varrie; H, Solomon; M,B.Deherty; H.A,Farrell; Rev, W. Peeoed; Rev. W.
H» Clulow; Rev, Father Stompf, O.M.I.; the Yen. Arohdeaoon J.
W, Mbgg; Mr. Attorney L.F, Lezard; Messrs. A, Pett; A. J, Beet, Town Clerk; R, L. Meadows; A,A.Davies; A, 7. Hooper; S„C0Hawthorne; G. A 0 Simpson, Bditor, D, 7. Advertiser; J, Swan; McDonald, Supdt, of Looations; S.O’Brien; W.J, McKenzie; J.T.Vigne W,B,Arnold; R.T.Aferk; I.P,Joshua; K.S.Gevindasamy; Rev, O.B. Liphuko; Rev, J. L. Sept ember; Messrs, Mbtlapele; p.M, Dawson; K.K.Pillay; Ramasaay; T.V.Rajagopak Pillay; M. Ramailane (Past Grand True Templar, from Johannesburg); Hr.D.J,Mkomo(Johannesburg) ; Chief Z,W, Ten yang (Thaba Kohu); Dr. James Moroka (Theba Kohu); Messrs. B. Moyanaga (Thaba Kohu); I, M. Goronyane (Thaba Sehu); Mrs, T.M, Msplkala; Mrs, K,S.Motshumi; mots, Luoy Twayi; isuroe Grace Mbongwe; Messrs, Kehemiah Molisapoli; J, Ipindwa; Ktlatseng (all of Bloemfontein); D, X Ramoshoana (Hopetown); and Miss, B. T, Kosani(Beaufort West); in addition to Kative representatives from Bloemfontein, Mefeking and the surrounding districts,
Numerous messages of oondolenoe were received from all parts of the Union from all sections of the oomnunity.
Wreaths were sent by; The Diamond Field Advertiser Editor ial and Comeroial Staffs; Mr, and Mrs, Louie 7. Lezard;
Mr, and Mrs. Mobara; Dr, and Mrs, Moroka; Mr. and Mrs, P. Augustine; Indian Welfare Association (looal); Indian Political Association; Council lor and Mrs. Gas a on; Mr, and Mrs, van Keenan; Postmaster; Kimberley; Mr. and Mrs. Gass on and Miss Botha; Mrs. K. Steyn, Junior; and Rene; Lyndhurst Road School Staff; Light and Freedom Temple (looal); Mr. and Mrs. Bttoha and family.


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TRIBUTE S .
MR, W, Bt HUMPHREYS, M.P.;
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The A&gel of Death had ooms among them and had dealt a blow, not only to the European and non-European people of Kimberley, but to the entire non*£uropean population of South Afrioa, Hie loss left a gap singularly diffioult to fill, for he was a man of the highest motives and one who had the welfare of his people thoroughly at heart, In his efforts to promote the welfare of his people he often went too far and neglected his own welfare. He was most respected and moat respectful, in fact, he sometimes allowed his respectfulness to go too far and become humiliation. He was looked up to in all quarters in regard to his wide knowledge of Native affairs.
The memory of Mr, Plaatje would lib® live and would prove an inspiration worthy of being emulated,
MR, G, A, SIMP3QI* (Bdltor, D, P, Adviser);
Said he spoke on behalf of the Journalists of South Afrioa, by whom Mr, Plaatje was known as the accredited representative of native opinion and as the mouthpiece of the £ and spiritual welfare. He was a man of culture and high edu-
wielded
national attainments, well versed in literary pursuits, weildsd a faoile pen and was ever ready to take up the cudgels on behalf of his nationals.
He stood for high principles, possessed a keen discern* me nt, had that rare faculty for presenting his case lucidly and impartially, with a sympathetic consideration for the other nan’s point of view, and at no time and on no oooaeion did he ever desoend to personalities.
What was said of another distinguished Native Journalist (the late Mr, J, Tengo Jabavu) could also be said with truth of Mr, Plaatje - he Ml "was supremely equipped with sagacity founded upon his splendid oharaoter as a Christian and a p


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.Q.B0RQJ3 BARRBLL, M,P,C., ydayor of Ba.rkly West):
W, Plaatje ’sta to me a very great friend* a man of
high honour and principle* of a singularly noble and elevated such
Chflj fater each as is rarely met with* and his lose will he felt throughout the length and breadth of South Africa where his attainments and oharaoter were widely known and universally respected*
Indeed there is no personwho oan take his place today* for there is no one who had or has suoh a combination of talents oombined with such rare spirit.
RSV, A, PESOOP, Kimberley;
Air. Plaatje has left a good name. He lived and worked for the betterment of his people* and his work and good life will bear fruit in the days that are to come.
4R, I, P, JOSHUA* Kimberley;
Sol, Plaatje was a man of the finest calibre* and his life was a shining example to them for his noble character* his hard work and for the respeot and esteem which he had earned. As a writer and orator he was pre-eminent* and hie wide experience and sound judgment had gained him wide recognition,
W, ARCHBSAOQN J, W, SQQG: W6e
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Sir, Sol, Plaatje’s name will/live as one who did his best for his countrymen without being an extremist. One ala also admired the way he rose in life in spite of so many difficulties. He was a polished orator.
His decease is thus s serious loss* not only to the Bantu peoples* but to the Union as well* for many of ue Europeans admired him,
TriQS. NQAHDSLA, Tarkastadt
This is an irreparable loss to the whole of the P
---’ W have lost in him an energetio figv


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