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Inventory for A2550 
Collection Index:PLAATJE, Solomon Tshekisho, Diary, 1899-1900
Collection Name:Solomon Tshekisho PLAATJE Diary, 1899-1900
A2550 Solomon Tshekisho PLAATJE Diary, 1899-1900   
 PLAATJE, Solomon Tshekisho, Diary, 1899-1900   
 Copyright 2010 Historical Papers, The Library, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa   
 Copyright 2009, Historical Papers, The Library, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa   
 July 2010 -Digital copy of the diary published on the Historical Papers website   
 Deborah Wilson (Digital Archivist, July 2010)   
 Handwritten diary of Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje (1876-1932), interpreter, journalist, author and politician. The diary was written during the Siege of Mafeking, which took place during the South AfricanWar of 1899-1902. It contains the only knownsurviving written accountof the Siege by an African. The first entryis datedSunday, 29 October 1899, and the last entry Friday, 30March 1900. 180 pages.   
 The diary was donated tothe University of the Witwatersrandby John Comaroff in August 1996. The diary, contained in a leather scrap book, was given to himby Sol Plaatje's grandson Barolong Molema, the child of his daughter Violet,whilst doing doctoral research in 1969 in the district of Mafikeng.John Comarofflater published the text of the diary in hisbook "The Boer War Diary of Sol T. Plaatje" in 1973. Therefore thediarydoes not form part of thepapers of Silas T. Molema and Solomon Tshekisho Plaatje, which were discovered in Mafeking, South Africa, by researchers Tim Couzens and Brian Willan in January 1977, andwhich wheresubsequently purchased by the University of the Witwatersrand in early 1977. See collection A979.   
 The diarymakes referenceto entries in the Mafeking Mail, a newspaper which waspublished as aSpecial Siege Slip during the Siege of Mafekingfrom 1 November 1899 - 31 May 1900. See collection A2706.   
 Furtherreference needs to be made to theCentenary Edition of"The Mafeking Diary of Sol T. Plaatje", edited by John Comaroff and Brian Willan with Solomon Molema and Andrew Reed, published in 1999:   
 The Centenary edition has been greatly improved from its first edition, providingthe historical context around the diary, Sol Plaatje's life and the Siege of Mafeking during the Anglo-Boer war.At the same time it has included parts which the diary omits, and it explains circumstances and historical events around the diary:   
 1)A letter to which Sol Plaatje refers as "public property" in his entry of the 8 December 1899 in the text of his diary, and which he meant to reproduce,but which he omits thereafter. The letter was written by Colonel Baden-Powell to General Snyman, dated 8 December 1899, and it was reproduced in the Mafeking Mail on the 11 December 1899.   
 2) Adocument by Colonel Baden-Powell dealing with the writer's threat to penalize 'grumblers' when their compensation claims were considered after the siege, published in the Mafeking Mail, 29 March. Theeditors of the book chose to reproducethe document infull, following Plaatje's entry of Friday 30 March 1900, where he made reference to the document.   
 3) The entry for Friday 30 March 1900 is the last of Plaatje's diary. The editors of the book mention some further 20 sheets of blank paper remaining in the notebook in which the diary was written, which are no longer present.   
 4) The Introduction and Endnotes in the book mentions earlier notes, written on loose paper. One of these notes which has survived exists in the collection A979 of Silas Molema and Solomon Plaatje, in Aa3, General correspondence, 1916-1920. It is part of a page which contains a correspondence presumably written to Silas Molema, dated 28 November 1919, written in ink. The part related to Plaatje's notebook is written in pencil, and it has the page number 7 written above the text, which reads as follows: "...applied these remarks in order to pull them together a bit. 'It will take them 12 months, shelling every day to completely destroy a town like [Mafeking]. They will only knock a house or two down. I saw some good rocks down at your place and if you remained behind them you are perfectly safe.' We spent some of the 48 hours in sleep, when it was night, and the balance in preparing shelters."   
 5) The last entry of 30 March 1900 is followed by a letter, which the editors of the book explain to be the copy of a letter from Plaatje to Isaiah Bud-M'belle, Plaatje's brother-in-law. Although undated it is said to have been written at the end of February 1900.   
 There area further 3 pages which cannot be related to the diary but seem to originate from the same notebook.   
 Plaatje'sdiary consists of two differenttypes of notebooks. The diary was restored in 2010 and re-bound,with the two notebooksas well asthe 3 pages of loose notes bound separately from each other.   
 The diary has been scanned and isaccessible in digital format CD no.48, and colour copies are available for handling by researchers as the original of the diary is in a fragile condition.   
 Gabriele Mohale (Archivist, May 2010)   
Sol Plaatje Diary (original, handwritten) S.T. Plaatje 1899-1900