Plaatje was originally a journalist in south Africa before writing this books. As a journalist her used the written word to fight the injustice he saw in his society, fulfilling the idea of the African author in service to his community. This idealism is very much alive in his book Mhudi as the main character, Mhudi, exemplifies a strong African female. As in many parts of the world, women are by no means treated as equal citizens in several regions of Africa. To have the main character of one of the most influential and unique books in the history of African literature be a strong and intelligent female is a major step in social reform. However, this is not to say that Plaatje is unrealistic with his portrayal of Mhudi, she was no goddess in the book and she had to look towards the male lead of the book at times like when she was in flight from a lion. Instead she is strong willed rather than strong in physique and she is very intuitive. One of the best examples of this is when in their flight their eventually end up staying in proximity to a white family who has bought land in the area. Whereas the male lead attempts to garner favor, Mhudi quickly sees them for what they are and when she get proof of their heartlessness, the male lead still fails to see.
Thursday, February 4, 2016
Whereas I see Achebe as a source of compromise into bringing African literature into the forefront of criticism by using the international, not necessarily western, form of the novel, though he adjusts it to a more African sensibility; Plaatje writes Mhudi in such a way that it completely emulates the African oral tradition. The way it is written is completely unique to anything else i have read throughout the world. Beyond being wholly African in terms of style, though so well written as to reach a Western audience expertly, it is also wholly African in terms of its purpose.