Lover of His People

A biography of Sol Plaatje
Contributor(s): ,
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Dimensions and Pages: 200 x 130 mm, 160 pp
  • EAN: 978 1 86814 601 7
  • Rights: World
  • Recommended Price (ZAR): 260.00
  • Recommended Price (USD): 34.95

Seetsele Modiri Molema’s Sol T Plaatje: Morata Wabo is the first biography of Solomon Plaatje 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. D. S. Matjila and Karen Haire have mined the archive to produce the first English translation of Molema’s biography, Lover of His People: Sol Plaatje.

In this account, Molema balances Plaatje’s public and political persona – as a pioneer black politician and man of letters – with an intimate account of Plaatje, the human being: his physical features, habits, temperament, talents, personality, character, fears, struggles, dreams and aspirations. In short, Molema illuminates the spirit of Plaatje painting a personal portrait of this leading South African figure and his impact not only on South Africa’s political and cultural landscape but on the young Molema as well.

In shaping this manuscript into a book the editors and translators have included a preface which elaborates on the uniqueness of Molema’s biography, and on the relationship between these two prominent Africans and the value of this text within the broader ambit of revisioning South African historiography. Recognising that Molema was an extraordinary scholar, intellectual and politician in his own right, the book includes an essay on the life and legacy of Seetsele Modiri Molema and his contribution to South Africa’s black intellectual heritage.

This biography will be of interest to scholars and general readers alike.


Seetsele Modiri Molema (1891-1965) was a doctor and surgeon by profession. After completing his medical degree at the University of Glasgow, Scotland in 1919, he lived in Dublin, Ireland where he wrote and published the landmark history, Bantu Past and Present: An Ethnographic and History Study of the Native Races of South Africa (Edinburgh: Green, 1920). He later returned to Mafikeng where he spent most of his life treating black and white patients alike.

D. S. Matjila is Associate Professor in the Department of African Languages at UNISA.

Karen Haire is Senior lecturer at the University of Johannesburg where she teaches academic writing

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2 Responses to “Lover of His People”

  1. […] the African languages.  So we were happy to have Setswana represented this year in the fiction of DS Matjila as translated by Karen Haire.  We evenn got a small taste of native spokne Setswana from a YouTube […]

  2. […] manuscript biography of Plaatje written by Seetsele Modiri Molema, Sol Plaatje: Morata Wabo, is held at the Historical […]