Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

Native Life in South Africa   By: (1876-1932)

Book cover

First Page:

Native Life in South Africa, Before and Since the European War and the Boer Rebellion By Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje

[South African (ethnic Tswana) Editor, Author, Statesman. 1876? 1932.] First Secretary General of the South African Native National Congress (forerunner of the ANC), 1912 1917. Author of "Mhudi", generally considered the first novel written by a black South African.

[The two portraits are not available for this ASCII text. They are titled "The Author." and "Mrs. S. T. Plaatje. Without whose loyal co operation this book would never have been written."]

[Note on text: Italicized words or phrases are CAPITALIZED. Some obvious errors have been corrected (see Notes).]

Native Life in South Africa, Before and Since the European War and the Boer Rebellion

By Sol. T. Plaatje Editor of `Tsala ea Batho', Kimberley, S.A. Author of `Sechuana Proverbs and their European Equivalents'

Fourth Edition

Foreword (Native Life in South Africa electronic text):

Sol Plaatje began work on `Native Life in South Africa' in 1914, while on his way to Britain to plead with the Imperial Government against the Natives' Land Act of 1913, as part of a deputation of the South African Native National Congress. The book was intended as a means of reaching the British public with the deputation's message.

The method seemed sound enough it was quite similar in form to the successful deputation which had pleaded to keep Bechuanaland (modern Botswana) under direct Imperial control in 1895. But circumstances were different in 1914 South Africa had been granted self government, and the First World War began shortly after the deputation's arrival in England and distracted all parties. This latter event also influenced the final form of the book, as Plaatje played to the patriotic sentiment so strong in Britain at the time. For all his appeals, Plaatje did not succeed: the Act went on to become one of the first steps toward the system of Apartheid. For all that, there is sometimes in defeat the seeds of victory these troubles united black South Africans like nothing before, and Plaatje's successors, in the form of the ANC, finally succeeded in the early 1990's.

The Natives' Land Act of 1913, which forbade natives to buy or rent land, except in a few small reserves consisting largely of wasteland, was finally overturned in 1991.

Thanks should be given to Neil Parsons, for his advice on this subject, and for being so kind as to research and write the introduction that follows.

Alan R. Light July, 1998. Monroe, North Carolina (USA).

Introduction, by Neil Parsons

"Native Life in South Africa" is one of the most remarkable books on Africa, by one of the continent's most remarkable writers. It was written as a work of impassioned political propaganda, exposing the plight of black South Africans under the whites only government of newly unified South Africa. It focuses on the effects of the 1913 Natives' Land Act which introduced a uniform system of land segregation between the races. It resulted, as Plaatje shows, in the immediate expulsion of blacks, as "squatters", from their ancestral lands in the Orange Free State now declared "white". But Native Life succeeds in being much more than a work of propaganda. It is a vital social document which captures the spirit of an age and shows the effects of rural segregation on the everyday life of people.

Solomon Tshekeisho Plaatje was born in 1878 in the lands of the Tswana speaking people, south of Mafeking. His origins were ordinary enough. What was remarkable was the aptitude he showed for education and learning after a few years schooling under the tuition of a remarkable liberal German Lutheran missionary, the Rev. Ludorf. At the age of sixteen Plaatje (using the Dutch nickname of his grandfather as a surname) joined the Post Office as a mail carrier in Kimberley, the diamond city in the north of Cape Colony. He subsequently passed the highest clerical examination in the colony, beating every white candidate in both Dutch and typing... Continue reading book >>

eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book

Popular Genres
More Genres
Paid Books