He received a mission-education at Pniel. When he outpaced fellow learners he was given additional private tuition by a missionary, Ernst Westphal, and his wife. In February , aged 15, he became a pupil-teacher, a post he held for two years. As an activist and politician he spent much of his life in the struggle for the enfranchisement and liberation of African people. Du Bois. While he grew up speaking the Tswana language, Plaatje would become a polyglot.

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The novel opens with the near complete destruction of the Barolong tribe by the Matabele under the rule of Mtzilikazi. Men, women and children were slaughtered indiscriminately.

Only Ra-Taga and Mhudi survive. The two meet after many days of wondering, trying to find some human contact, living in terror of stumbling upon further Matabele.

From here on, a love story evolves, staged on the background of what must have been a bloody war, as other tribes, joining forces with the Voortrekkers, take on the Matabele. The language in this novel was more clinical than figurative.

I have a feeling that it carries the tone of oral tradition, as one does not generally talk as poetically as they write. The vocabulary is fabulous I love learning new words , and the characters are definitely very real. Sympathy is even raised for Mzilikazi by the end. Considering the setting, the last thing I expected were strong female leads.

But these two women added a sense of inner strength to all the testosterone and bullets flying around. Both broke with tradition and stood by their husbands.

I enjoyed this. Not as much as I have other books; but I am very glad to have read this. My professor is a year-old feisty black woman who grew up in the rural Midwest and has traveled to Africa several times Senegal, South Africa, and Swaziland I believe.

Forgive me for my brief departure from the book review, but I just have to say that I love this professor. Most of the class is spent Mhudi was the first book assigned for my current English class, Multicultural Literary Studies. Most of the class is spent listening to her tell stories about her life, childhood, and travels as they relate to our texts. Unfortunately, she became ill at the beginning of the semester and was hospitalized with pneumonia.

After sitting through three weeks of writing chapter summaries for a substitute who had no clue what was going on, I breathed a sigh of relief when she was able to return last Tuesday.

She told us that when she got home from the hospital she was looking forward to going to the local bar and having a beer, a cigarette, and some fried chicken. Unfortunately, her friends had taken away her keys and left her with yogurt, vegetables, and Tofurky. The last of which she said was pretty good if you had it with some lettuce and tomato.

Mhudi is a notable book because it was the first full-length novel to be written in English by a black South African. Under the rule of King Mzilikazi, a tribe of fierce warriors known as the Matabele is quickly dominating a vast area of Barolong territory. When Mzilikazi sends two messengers to the capital city, Kunana, to collect a tribute, the chief of Kunana has them killed.

In retaliation, the Matabele raid the town. The massacre leaves the majority of the inhabitants dead including women and children. Ra-Thaga, a survivor of the attack, travels alone for several days before coming across Mhudi, a fellow survivor.

They fall in love and create a home for themselves in the forest. Because of their solitude and the unique circumstances of their meeting, their union is very different from traditional marriages. They are no longer bound by traditional rituals and roles pertaining to culture and gender.

Mhudi is daring and feisty, while Ra-Thaga is perhaps more tender-hearted than is typical. The novel follows the couple as they move to a village where other refugees from Kunana are living. At this point, many Dutch immigrants, voortrekkers, are traveling through the country searching for land to settle. They are prejudiced against the native population, but the two peoples are united in their dislike of Mzilikazi and the Matabele. The Boers and the Barolong eventually team up to defeat the Matabele and drive them back out of the Barolong territory.

Mhudi remains a pivotal character because she consistently defies the expectations of her as a wife and mother. She is so devoted to her husband that she travels to find him whenever she senses danger, which includes going to the battlefront something that both pleases and embarrasses Ra-Thaga. Overall I really enjoyed this novel. Looking forward to what the rest of this class will bring Signing Off,.


Sol T. Plaatjie, Mhudi – A Review

Last updated May 13, Dr. Solomon Plaatje was described as a great writer, a defender of his native language Setswana and a man whose work should be honoured by the presenter Dr Brian Willan. The South African icon and author of Mhudi was a journalist, activist, publisher, writer and a translator who he is best known for his boldness and contribution to literature and politics. Dr Willan took the audience through a sequential presentation on critics of Mhudi. Mhudi is a novel that unravels the battle between South African tribes. According to research, the female character Mhudi is a heroin in the story and offers a voice for women in general.


First by Ayanda Xaba , and most recently by Ndumiso Dladla , both authors. Mhudi, which was published in , is indeed an old book. Shiny new, red, with a Dumile Feni on the cover. I took it home with no idea of what I what to expect.

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