Sol Plaatje’s Mhudi (1930) is the story of the love of a female refugee and her husband as they wander through the South African social and physical landscapes of the mid 1800s. It recounts the Matabele’s bellicose incursions into central southern Africa and the military alliance that the Tswana people formed with the Boer Voortrekkers to defeat them. Written between 1919 and 1920, Mhudi is the first novel written in English by a black African. It has become one of the cornerstones of South African literature.
Sol Plaatje: Mhudi
About Sol Plaatje
Sol Plaatje (1876-1932) was a South African politician, journalist and writer. He was one of the founders of the South African Native National Congress (what was renamed the African National Congress in 1923) and was its first General Secretary. Plaatje would write the famous political work, Native Life in South Africa (1916), which documented the injustice of the 1913 Natives Land Act. Plaatje, between his work as a journalist and politician, wrote extensively, writing two novels and translating five of Shakespeare’s plays into Setswana.
About this edition
Sol Plaatje’s Mhudi was originally published by the missionary press at Lovedale College in the Eastern Cape in 1930. In 1976, during the time of the Soweto Riots, an original typescript was uncovered with handwritten edits at Lovedale. A controversy arose as to just who had overseen these edits and whether the missionaries had had a hand in these changes. Heinemann Press then went on to publish the book ‘restoring’ it to its supposed original state. However, more research by Plaatje’s biographer Brian Willan has shown that the edits were in fact Plaatje’s own and that his intentions for the novel were far closer to the version published by Lovedale. This new edition acknowledges all changes and versions in both Heinemann, Lovedale and the now-famous typescript. Read more about our process in arriving at this edition here.
Strandwolf Editions is a new South African imprint which republishes African classics.
Extent: 242 pages
Size 198 x 129