Sol T. Plaatje Criticism - Essay

Sol T. Plaatje (essay date 1930)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A preface to Mhudi: An Epic of South African Native Life a Hundred Years Ago, Negro Universities Press, 1970, n.p.

[In the following preface to Mhudi, Plaatje explains his reasons for writing the novel.]

South African literature has hitherto been almost exclusively European, so that a foreword seems necessary to give reasons for a Native venture.

In all the tales of battle I have ever read, or heard of, the cause of the war is invariably ascribed to the other side.

Similarly, we have been taught almost from childhood, to fear the Matebele—a fierce nation—so unreasoning in its ferocity that it will attack any...

(The entire section is 475 words.)

Tim Couzens (essay date 1973)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Sol Plaatje's 'Mhudi'," in The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Vol. VIII, No. 1, June, 1973, pp. 1-19.

[In the following essay, Couzens contends that most early reviews of Mhudi failed to consider the socio-cultural background of the work.]

One of the first novels written in English by an African, Mhudi, which was published in 1930 but probably largely written about 1917 or 1918, has not been considered worthy of major critical attention. In 1952, J. Snyman could dismiss the book fairly quickly and attack Plaatje for a lack of imagination:

In Mhudi (1930), Plaatje deals with the times...

(The entire section is 8083 words.)

Brian Willan (essay date 1984)

(Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "'Mhudi'," in Sol Plaatje: South African Nationalist, 1876-1932, Heinemann, 1984, pp. 349-71.

[In the following essay, Willan offers an analysis of Mhudi.]

'After ten years of disappointment,' Plaatje informed his old friend, Georgiana Solomon, in May 1930, 'I have at length succeeded in printing my book. Lovedale is publishing it. I am expecting the proofs any day this week.' The book to which Plaatje referred was Mhudi, the title of the manuscript he had completed in London in 1920, and somewhat modestly described at the time as 'a love story after the manner of romances … but based on historical facts'.

The Lovedale Press...

(The entire section is 12361 words.)