Sol Plaatje celebrated through memorial and book festival

Statue of Sol Plaatje being displayed at the ANC Elective Conference in Mangaung at the University of the Free State in 2012. File photo: Moeketsi Mogotsi

The Department of Culture, Arts and Traditional Affairs will host two events celebrating the life of the famous writer, publisher and politician – Sol Plaatje at the Mahikeng Hotel School today.

The first event is a book festival which will showcase women writers and their new books. The second event is a memorial lecture, to be delivered by Wits University academic Professor Hlonipha Mokoena.

The lecture starts at 17:00 while the literary festival runs from 10:00 – 17:00.

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The department is running the Sol Plaatje event in association with the North West University (NWU), University of South Africa (Unisa), Sol Plaatje University (Kimberley), the Sol Plaatje Educational Trust, the North West Provincial Language Committee and the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) North West Office.

The annual memorial lecture has in the past been addressed by former South African Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe, former Botswana President, Sir Ketumile Masire, prominent academics Professor Sipho Seepe and  Professor Njabulo Ndebele, as well as the late writer Alan Paton.

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The department said this year’s lecture is of particular significance as the Professor is the first woman to deliver the lecture, in a year when the country marks the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Women’s March to the Union Buildings.

Plaatje was the first and only African journalist who, through his newspaper articles, exposed the horrendously deplorable conditions in which Charlotte Maxeke and other detained women activists were held at Kroonstad Prison. – Statement issued