Mimeographed sheet of references by Joseph Chamberlain (Secretary of State for the Colonies), the Duke of Connaught and others, on the work of Plaatje as an interpreter

Material Information

Mimeographed sheet of references by Joseph Chamberlain (Secretary of State for the Colonies), the Duke of Connaught and others, on the work of Plaatje as an interpreter
Series Title:
Papers of Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje
Chamberlain, Joseph, 1836-1914 ( Author, Primary )
Arthur, Prince, Duke of Connaught, 1850-1942 ( contributor )
Oppenheimer, Ernest, Sir, 1880-1957 ( contributor )
Rosenberg, W. A. ( contributor )
Algie, J. R. ( contributor )
Pickering, William ( contributor )
Place of Publication:
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Plaatje, Sol. T. (Solomon Tshekisho), 1876-1932 ( LCNAF )
Spatial Coverage:
Africa -- South Africa -- Western Cape -- City of Cape Town -- Cape Town
-33.925278 x 18.423889


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:
Mimeographed typescript manuscript
General Note:
VIAF (name authority) : Plaatje, Sol. T. (Solomon Tshekisho), 1876-1932 : URI
General Note:
VIAF (name authority) : Chamberlain, Joseph, 1836-1914 : URI
General Note:
VIAF (name authority) : Arthur, Prince, Duke of Connaught, 1850-1942 : URI
General Note:
VIAF (name authority) : Oppenheimer, Ernest, Sir, 1880-1957 : URI

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 375495/01/03 ( CALM reference number )


This item has the following downloads:

Full Text
Secretary of State for the Colonies.
On Jan.28. hr.Plaatje acted as interpreter when I visited the
Barolong location at Mat eking, and performed his duty in a very
satisfactory manner*
Bloemfontein. Fe b. 9. 1903 •
The Duke of Connaught)
Central South African Railways,
High Commissioner’s Train.
On February 1st 1906 Mr.Sol. Plaatje acted as interpreter when
I visited the Barolong native stadt at Mafeking and performed his
duty to my entire satisfaction.
(Signed) Arthur.
Feb. 1st 1906.
Mayor’s Parlour,
25th April 1914.
In compliance with the application of the bearer, Sol.T.
Plaatje, on the occasion of his visiting England, I am pleased to
testify that he is Editor of the local newspaper, ’Tsala Ea Batho1
and a much respected and influential member of the native community:
and I take this opportunity of wishing him a very pleasant tour and
aaxe return to South Africa.
Mayor of Kimberley.

To whop it may concern:
Town Hall, Mafeking, May 2nd ’14.
Mr.Solomon T. Plaatje resided in Mafeking for 12 years 1897
to 1910. During the first five years he was engaged as Native
Interpreter at the local Magistrate’s Court, and acted in this
capacity during.the Siege, and during the last seven years he was
the Editor of the "Koranta la Becoana". Both as a printer and a
journalist he was a hard worker from a Native point of view.
(Signed) W. A.ROSENBERG,
Town Clerk.
Mr.Sol. Plaatje, Kimberley.
De Beers Consolidated Mines Ltd.
12th May 1914.
Dear Sir
In response to your request, I have pleasure in stating
that ^bu have been known to me for some time as Editor of the
Native paper "Tsala ea Batho , and as a staunch and able supporter
of your countrymens’ grievances. 1 can also testify to your
excellence as a citizen of Kimberley and to the respect in which you
are held by all those who have the pleasure of your acquaintance.
I trust you may have a pleasant journey to England, ana that the
purport* of your visit there may result in gratification to your
I am, dear Sir,
Yours faithfully,
(Signed). W. PICKERING. Secretary.