Sol Plaatje rises up from history

WRITER OF
RESISTANCE:
President Jacob
Zuma, right, at
the official unveiling of Sol Plaatje's statue,
part of the ANC's 98th
anniversary
celebrations that took place in Kimberley at
the weekend. Pic:
VATHISWA RUSELO. 10/01/2010. © Sowetan.
WRITER OF RESISTANCE: President Jacob Zuma, right, at the official unveiling of Sol Plaatje's statue, part of the ANC's 98th anniversary celebrations that took place in Kimberley at the weekend. Pic: VATHISWA RUSELO. 10/01/2010. © Sowetan.

ONE of two controversial statues of author and political leader Sol Plaatje - commissioned by the Northern Cape government and the Sol Plaatje municipality - has finally been unveiled.

ONE of two controversial statues of author and political leader Sol Plaatje - commissioned by the Northern Cape government and the Sol Plaatje municipality - has finally been unveiled.

President Jacob Zuma unveiled the statue in the Kimberley central business district at the weekend, following years of bickering between his family and the municipality.

Commissioned in 1998, the statue was stored in a municipal storeroom, gathering dust for more than 10 years. It cost the municipality R100000 to commission.

Last year another statue, costing R600000, was commissioned by the provincial government. It was supposed to be put up on Heritage Day on September 24 last year.

But the plan was dropped at the 11th hour when Plaatje's family objected. His family was unhappy about the proposed location of the statue and with the sculpture itself. They said it misrepresented what he had stood for.

The unveiling of the statue marked part of the ANC's 98th birthday celebrations at the weekend. Sol Plaatje was the first general secretary of the African Native Congress, forerunner to the ANC.

"The municipality wanted to erect the statue in the township, far away from where Plaatje worked while he was a court interpreter," Daniel Plaatje, Plaatje's great- grandson, told Sowetan yesterday. "These issues have been resolved and we gave the authorities our blessings."

The other statue is still in storage.

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