INSPIRED: Former Botswana president Ketumile Masire.
Former renowned journalist, politician, interpreter, author and messenger Sol Plaatje might be dead but his great influence in the world was brought to life during a commemorative lecture by former Botswana president, Sir Ketumile Masire, in Mahikeng.
Masire, who succeeded the late Sir Seretse Khama as the second president of Botswana on July 18, 1980, hailed Plaatje to be among African writers who responded to the call in an attempt to save the African continent from the “evil jaws” of racial discrimination.
In the early days of pre-independent Botswana, Masire was editor of the Therisanyo newsletter which sought to position the newly-established Botswana Democratic Party as the political home of choice.
“I must admit that Plaatje has subconsciously had slight influence on my political life which started almost 30 years after he departed for his heavenly abode. Either way, there is a possibility that I might be a Plaatje-ist.
“In essence, the man’s interests, achievements and great respect he had for the soul of Setswana and Batswana are unparalleled,” said Masire.
He said he heard of Sol Plaatje through three sources including the masterpiece “Dintshontsho tsaga Juliase Kesara”, the Tswana version of William Shakespeare play Julius Caesar, translated by Plaatje.
“The other source to me was snippets from stories told by Prof ZK Matthews and the other were cuttings of the works of Sol Plaatje from Prof Matthews’ wife.
“From all the three, I became Sol T Plaatje infected.”