Newspapers - S.T. Plaatje

Material Information

Newspapers - S.T. Plaatje
Series Title:
Papers of Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje
Alternate Title:
Ts. draft (with ms. annotations) of an introduction to Sechuana Proverbs
Place of Publication:


Subjects / Keywords:
Proverbs, Tswana ( LCSH )
Mahoko a Bechwana
Bechuana News
Tswana newspapers ( LCSH )
Spatial Coverage:
Africa -- Botswana
-24.658056 x 25.912222


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 with holographic corrections
General Note:
Includes discussion of Mahoko a Bechwana, ('The Bechuana News', established by the London Missionary Society), and other Sechuana newspapers

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 375495/02/03 ( calm reference number )


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Full Text
"Si. yfc '’s
'One of the author’s most valued x*v_ i, a filo of the MolekusL ua Bebhuana (The Bechuana Visitor), the
first newspaper published in the Sechuana langi^
1856 ***?. 185?. It was a partly religepucj poetical and ^social monthly issued hy the Rev Mr Ludorf of the Wesleyan Mission, from
the Mission Press at Thaba Nchu, To compare it with the native
weeklies of today is like comp^riBng the dimun^ltive little
Daily News (5jd) of'1848(a copy of which I saw at the Anglo-American Exposition) with the Id Daily News and header of today.
The next Seohuana paper was Mahoko a Beowana (the Bechuana hews) a monthly review of current news and religious comments.
It was issued by the Mission Press at the Kuruman Moffat institute and ran successfully for a number of years. Revs A. J. Gould, A. Price, John Brown an,, various otherAnents of the London Missionary Society each succeeded to the editorship the little sheet increased, in size and popularity until it became a fair sized period-ical with a very smart cover. During the first week of each month
the native peasants in Bechuanaland and elsewhere^used to look for-up-country
ward to its arrival as eagerly as the white farmers now await the arrival of the daily papers. How little did the writer dream, when frequently called upon as a boy to read the news to groups of men s*J fold that journalism would afterwards mean his bread and cheese.
The Lutherans subsequently started a monthly which ran under the editorship of Revs W. Behrens, L. Meyer and other Missionaries at Bethanie (Tranavaal) , Its title is Moshupa-tsela (The Guide; and I believe that the Rev R. To ,3irg a young missionary who grew pp among the Bechuana is the present editor* *—-
The first native-owne 1 paper was Koranta ea Beooana (the Bechuana Gazette) founded hy Chief Silas Molema in 1901. It appeared weekly, was printed partly in English ani ran for seven years at

_ \ i ~r
Chief Molena has the distinction of being the first Mochuana who started a day school in Be shun. 1 teaching Mtives to read English. He opened his sohhool and conducted it alone in the
on took it over ten years
antil the Wesleyan
later and installed him as principal,v&i<"'post he. held till there
were qualified native teachers, when he was succeeded in the ^rincipalship by the Rev M. J. Moshoela,
At present there are three Sechuana^or partly gechuana9 papers issued in South Africa viz^., the
'Tsaia, edited by tha Author, Molono, by Mr L.T. Mvabaza and Batho, by Mr D. Letanka