Xarra Books (Pty) Ltd
Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje – Morata Baabo Biography
Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje – Morata Baabo e e kwadilweng ke Seetsele Modiri Molema, ke bayokerafi ya ntlha ya ga Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje, e bile e kwadilwe ka Setswana, puo e e antsweng letseleng ke Molema le ene Plaatje ka sebele.
Mokwadi o neetse baphasalatsi lokwalo lo pele a ikela badimong ka 1965, mme ka 2022 ke la ntlha lo phasaladiwa ka Setswana jaaka lo kwadilwe kwa tshimologong.
Bayokerafi eno, ke yone fela e le nosi e e kwadilweng ke motho yo o tshedileng le Plaatje e bile a mo itse sentle. Ka jalo, Molema o na le tsela e e farologaneng ya go anela ka Plaatje; o nnile paki ya botshelo jwa ga Plaatje go tloga fa a kopana le ene kwa Mahikeng ka 1898 go fitlha fa setopo sa ga Plaatje se fitlhwa kwa Teemaneng ka 1932. Fa bontsi jwa dikwalo ka ga Plaatje di bua ka mmegadikgang, mokwadi, mofetoledi wa dikwalo, mofetoledi wa kwa kgotlatshekelo, sebueledi sa merafe le setšhaba, rradipolotiki, molwelalefatshe le moemakgatlhanong wa tiriso ya nnotagi, Molema o neela babuisi Plaatje yo o tlhogo e bonolo, yo o ratang go tlhaba dinaane, yo o ratang go buisa mme a kgaoganye kitso le ba bangwe. Mo Sol Plaatje: Morata Baabo, mokwadi o senolela babuisi Plaatje yo o nnileng le dikgwetlho tse dintsi mo botshelong mme tsa se mo tsikinye mo tumelong le mo maitlhomong a gagwe a go lwela kgololesego ya bagaabo, lefatshe la bone le puo ya bone. Mo bayokerafing eno re kopana le Plaatje yo ineetseng mo tirong ya gagwe go fitlhela a bolawa ke bolwetse jwa go ruruga mafatlha, tiro e ntsintsi le matshwenyego a dikoloto le a tiro ya gagwe e e neng e tshwanetse go phasaladiwa. Ka go kwala bayokerafi eno ka Setswana, Molema o supile gore dipuo tsa Aforika di na le tlotlofoko e e lekaneng go tlhalosa sengwe le sengwe se MaAforika a ratang go se tlhalosa. O supile gore dipuo tsa Aforika di na le bokamoso.
Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje – Morata Baabo (loosely translated: Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje – A Lover of His People) is the only biography of Sol Plaatje written in his mother tongue (Setswana) and by a person who knew him personally and lived with him. Modiri Molema, the son of Silas Molema (the founder of Mahikeng), first met Sol Plaatje when he was seven years old in 1898. At the time Plaatje was 22 years old and had just arrived in Mahikeng from Kimberley to work as a court interpreter and typist at the magistrates court.
Shortly after Plaatje’s arrival in Mahikeng, the Anglo-Boer War broke out and Mahikeng was besieged. During the infamous Siege of Mahikeng, Plaatje met several international war correspondents, made friends with them, translated for them with them and developed interest in journalism. At the court he was also typing the resident magistrate’s war diary. It was during this time that Plaatje wrote his first book, a war diary titled The Mafeking Diary of Sol T. Plaatje – A Black Man’s View of a White Man’s War, which was only published 41 years after his death, in 1973. It was also during this time that Plaatje resigned from the magistrate’s court and became the founding editor of a bilingual (English/Setswana) newspaper called Koranta ea Becoana (Batswana’s Gazette) at the age of 23.
In this book, the author tells the story of Sol Plaatje’s growth from an unknown but brilliant court interpreter with a gift of languages to a pioneering journalist, a linguist, a giant of South African literature and politics. Molema also tells about the Sol Plaatje the reader has never met before – Plaatje the avid reader, the village storyteller, the lover of performing arts, the one who liked sharing jokes, who congratulated school children who did well at school, who was respected by old and young members of the community, the one who could get angry and laugh heartily in a short space of time. Molema also tells of Plaatje who worked so hard for the South Africans, in literature, African languages and politics, that his family only spent time with him at home when he was unwell and was confined to bed. The author tells the story of Plaatje who so commited to his work that he even died working.
Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje – Morata Baabo is the most intimately told story of the internationally revered Sol Plaatje, the one after whom a municipality, a university, four schools, a media institute, writing prizes and streets are named after. The book borders on being a biography and memoir because the author talks of the Sol Plaatje he knew and observed for forty years. He taps into his memory about a man he publicly adored. To Modiri Molema, Sol Plaatje was a mentor and an elder brother. They spent time together in Mahikeng, Kimberley and in Europe. Plaatje held Molema by the hand and guided him through life; from when Molema wrote his first book The Bantu Past and Present – an Ethnographical and Historical Study if the Native Races of South Africa in Scotland in 1921 to getting him to join ANC politics and eventually occupying the positions of treasurer and secretary from the late 1940s to the early 1950s.
Beautifully written with attention to details, Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje – Morata Baabo provides some fascinating insights into Sol Plaatje’s life. It tells us about his family and background and the origins of Plaatje’s love of Setswana, about Plaatje’s personal qualities and characteristics and his family life; about his achievements as a writer and political leader, and the impact he made upon the lives of those around him.
Fortunately, before the author died in August 1965 he had completed this accessible biography of Sol Plaatje, a man with whom he shared not only a language but many clan traditions and memories. He wrote this book in Setswana and it is now published in the language in which it was originally written, for the first time after 52 years. This biography is also published in the year and month when we are marking the 90th anniversary of Sol Plaatje’s death (he died on June 19, 1932).
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