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Originally published in 1930, Mhudi: An Epic of South African Native Life of a Hundred Years Ago is a historical romance of epic scale that tells the story of a courageous and beautiful Barolong woman who risks her life to save her husband. The story is set in the 1830s, during the time of Matabele Chief, Mzilikazi’s attempt at exterminating the Barolong people. Considered to be a very important contribution to early South African literature, Mhudi is believed to be the first English novel written by a black South African. Sol T Plaatje was born near Boshoff in 1876 and was educated at Pniel. He was one of the foremost black leaders of his generation in South Africa. He was a prominent spokesperson interacting regularly with government officials in both South Africa and in Britain. He was a court interpreter in Mafeking (now Mafekeng) and became the editor of two newspapers published in both English and Setswana. His pioneering journalism brought him to the attention of his peers and he became the first general secretary of the African National Congress, founded in 1912. He was a significant writer and in later life he translated several of Shakespeare’s classic works into Tswana. He died in 1932 in Kimberley.
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