Sol Plaatje: South Africa’s Forgotten Shakespearian Hero

Part of  World's Elsewhere: Journeys Around Shakespeare's Globe

The final informal lecture in a series from Guardian journalist Andrew Dickson, given as a visiting fellow for the 'Shakespeare on the Road' project (SBT/University of Warwick).

25 February 2014

  • Literary Event

Despite the intriguing tale that Hamlet and Richard II were performed on board an East India company ship anchored off Sierra Leone in 1607, the story of Shakespeare in southern Africa is tied inextricably to one extraordinary man; Solomon T Plaatje (1876–1932).

Sol Plaatje was the earliest black South African to write a novel in English, the founder of what became the ANC, and the first to translate Shakespeare into a sub-Saharan African language.

This lecture focuses on Plaatje’s life and work, particularly on how he deployed Shakespeare in the fight against apartheid, and examines the competing claims over his legacy. It also addresses the controversial question of the so-called “Robben Island Bible”, the copy of the Complete Works kept on the island and signed by Nelson Mandela, and suggests there is more to that story than meets the eye.

6.00 - 7.30pm, The Shakespeare Centre, Henley Street, Stratford-upon-Avon.
Tickets: £3 (available on the door) or free to students on production of a valid NUS card.


Part of the 'Worlds Elsewhere: Journeys Around Shakespeare's Globe' lecture series.

Find out more about the other lectures in this series: