Of "disinclined trains and clever actors to be admired and not followed": Sol Plaatje, William Shakespeare and the dilemma of the African intellectual 1894-1920's
PublisherUniversity of Botswana, Department of English, http://www.ub.bw
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This paper explores the dilemma of the emergent African intellectual, activist or modern leader by focusing on Sol Plaatje's experiences. It shows that by acquiring western education and values, the African intellectual occupied a position of in-between-ness, forcing him or her to promote and oppose both western and African values, and beliefs, resulting in a split identity. Consequently, his or her relationship with both the foreign culture and what he or believed to be his or her people, was bound to be problematic, leading to frustrations and disappointment. In dealing with such frustration Plaatje employed Shakespeare's text to lash out at his fellow Africans, and Tswana speakers in particular, for their reluctance in supporting his political and cultural projects. I conclude by showing that blaming his people for what he perceived to be their lackadaisical and cavalier attitude towards projects intended to uplift their status was somewhat misguided because it failed to recognize the dynamics of adopting and imbibing western values.