Mhudi, by Sol Plaatje: Centenary Edition celebrates the life, the pioneering work and unparalleled life of Sol Plaatje. Mhudi a remains one of the most important pieces of literature in the continent. Finished in 1920, by Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje, Mhudi remains an important pillar of African literature. In 2018, Sol Plaatje University and Department of Sports, Arts, Recreation and Culture in Northern Cape, agreed on Repatriation of Letters project.
Our edition is inspired by the Repatriation project. This ambitious project aims to “transcreate” English works of literature into Setswana. The innovation of Repatriation (or return) is in its choice of the works to be “transcreated”. The importance of this process of going from English back to original languages is an pivotal one and it allows the continent to reclaim narratives that belong to it. Because it is also a conversation between generations, it harks back at our imagined identity of the past and the harsh realities of today.
Mhudi is 100-years in 2020. Our edition pays homage to this evergreen classic by one of Africa’s renaissance men, Sol Plaatje. Transcreation is the mainstay of Plaatje – even though the difference is that he brought work from English into Setswana. Priscilla Jordan, the wife of another rennaissance man, AC Jordan “transcreated” Inqumbo Yeminyanya to Wrath of the Ancestors in the 1940s.
Mhudi is an essential conversation between modernisation and tradition, a dance between colonial influence and African tradition. At its heart, it is also a love story – not only between two people – but between nations and divides of religion, modernity and other forms of dynamism. Mhudi, by Sol Plaatje: Centenary Edition is opened by the remarks of Plaatje scholar, Sabata-mpho Mokae in order to remind us of the cultural and political importance of Sol Plaatje and his work.
The novel is a political historical novel which explores the political ramification and developments of the Traansval kingdom, led by Matabeleland. The novel was originally finished in 1920, but Plaatje was unable to get the novel published.The novel re-imagines the standard Eurocentric narrative of history which supported Apartheid and its racist infrastructure.