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The Boer War Diary of Sol T. Plaatje

I found this thin, unassuming volume quite by accident on my parent’s shelves, and having heard Plaatje mentioned in other books I’ve read recently, I was intrigued to read a diary by this famous black intellectual. I have also covered a bit of Angol-Boer War literature lately, and am slowly gaining some kind of perspective on that period of history.

The diary tells of Plaatje’s experiences during the seige of Mafeking, from October 1899 to March 1900. While I have little interest in the seige itself, both the insight into the society of the day, as well as the views and expressions of the diarist are fascinating. It is also novel to read a war diary from this period written from a ‘native’ perspective, rather than that of the British or Boers.

Plaatje comes across as a very intelligent, decidedly optimistic and all-round pleasant person. While writing in English, he also frequently uses words and phrases from the various languages he spoke, most notably Tswana, Sotho, Zulu and Dutch.

The diary is well supported by excellent editing, that gives extensive notes explaining various topics of interest that a modern reader would be unaware of. This, together with Plaatje’s very enjoyable personality, make this a most worthwhile read.


One Comment

  1. Posted 2 Dec ’09 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    sjoe ek sal dit graag wil lees! kan ek dit dalk leen??

2 Trackbacks

  • [...] Thousand Words The Thousand Words that Speak a Picture « Book Review: The Boer War Diary of Sol T. Plaatje Boekresensie: Fees van die Ongenooides December 19, 2009 Ek het die afgelope week of twee [...]

  • By Mhudi « A Thousand Words on 2 Aug ’10 at 10:51 am

    [...] of the twentieth century. I was further interested in reading this novel as I have previously read The Boer War Diary of Sol T. Plaatje, which presented a fascinating look into Plaatje’s perception of the [...]

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