Readers in the United States of America and United Kingdom will now have access to the South African book Mhudi: Criticism, History and Celebration. This after a UK specialised academic publisher, published the book in London recently.
The book is a commemorative collection of Sol Plaatje’s history and his literature work by a number of South African academics, poets and authors.
It was launched in 2020 in commemoration of 100 years of Plaatje’s novel Mhudi.
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It is edited by two Sol Plaatje University’s academics, Sabata Mokae and Professor Brian Willan.
Sol Plaatje is a known political activist and an author. His novel Mhudi was written in 1920 and published a decade later.
There is a compilation of extracts about Plaatje’s work by renowned South African academics, poets and authors.
Mokae says the international publishing of the book means a lot to them and Sol Plaatje’s history and legacy.
“We believe that Sol Plaatje deserves to be read and to be known all over the world. He was a world traveller; he lived in South Africa but he spent years in England and time in Canada, Scotland in the USA, he went to the Congo and so on; so he is international. But also Mhudi, the novel he wrote in 1920, continues to be taught at the Universities from Connelly in the US, to Wits in South Africa to Nigeria and so on.”
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Easy access to the book
Mokae says the publishing of the book in USA and UK will help international scholars interested in Sol Plaatje’s work to access the book easily.
“We are happy that a specialised academic publisher in the UK looked at the book and thought that their audience, who are largely people of African origin or people who are studying about Africa, are interested in Sol Plaatje. We are happy that it is going to reach those audiences.”
Mokae has been a scholar who’s been doing Sol Plaatje’s work for 15 years and has in recent years collaborated with Professor Brian Willan, who’s been studying Sol Plaatje’s work for over four decades. Both academics are based at Sol Plaatje University, a pleasant co-incidence according to Mokae.
“When we met, we never thought there will ever be a university named after him, and now it’s there and now for us to be able to produce this kind of high-quality peer-reviewed work of Sol Plaatje, while we are based at Sol Plaatje University. We feel that Sol Plaatje University is the right place to have academics who are producing work on Sol Plaatje; it is the best way to pay tribute to him.”
Mokae says the response from the readers has been positive both domestically and internationally.
The book has also been added to the 2021 Human Sciences Awards, a gesture the two editors have acknowledged.