Pioneers

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Legacy noun leg·a·cy \ˈle-gə-sē\ – something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past Word Origin: from Medieval Latin lēgātia commission
 Oxford Dictionary

Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”

The Pioneers, has been running since 2014 with the principle aim of unearthing the history buried away by the erstwhile apartheid, in a bid to obliterate the legacy built by Africans, particularly in the literary world. Since its launch the Pioneers section has recorded and brought to light the Black Press players of the 1800s. Influenced by the missionary colonial education, the era produced giants such as Tiyo Soga, the first black literary figure, co-translator of the Bible and Pilgrim’s Progress into Xhosa.

Demonstrated impact made by Independent Black Newspaper proprietors 1884-1932, was recorded through John Tengo Jabavu’s Imvo Zabantsundu , Allan Kirkland Soga and Walter Rubusana’s Izwi Labantu. While there were many Tswana publications prior to Solomon T Plaatje and Silas Molema’s it was the duo’s purchase of Koranta ea Becoana, a Tswana/English newspaper from George Nathaniel Henry Whale in 1901, that would be the first ‘native owned ’ Tswana paper.

Basotho, produced a treasure in H S Tlale who played a major role in founding the first Sotho newspaper Mochochono (The Comet) in Basutoland, now known as Lesotho, in 1911. When the Columbia and Oxford Universities educated Pixley Ka Izaka Seme and three other lawyers – Alfred Mandena, R.W. Msimang and G.D Montsioa – founded the African National Congress (ANC), he conceived the idea of establishing a newspaper that could be used as a mouthpiece of the organisation. Abantu-Batho was launched in 1913, a merger between Molomo Oa Batho and Morumia, with C Kunene as English and Zulu editor and D S Lentaka as Sotho editor.

These are but a few pioneers of the 62 we have covered to date who form the wealth of the legacy built by these incredible individuals who have bequeathed worthy history to etch in the hearts and minds of generations to come. As we continue the journey through different eras, we endeavor to keep a promise and a commitment to publish quality stories about men and women who have contributed to the development of our society, as a way to preserving their legacy and recording the history that would have otherwise died along with their spirits.

This section will continue to search for these pioneers and bring them to the fore. Bantu Press Pty Ltd era that sought to commercialise black media consumption, introducing the Bantu World will also be looked into. While we have covered some of the Pioneers referred to, be assured that we will examine the commercialisation era, the Drum era and women Pioneers. This journey is nowhere near over.

The Radical journalist and historian who charted the death throes of colonialism in Africa

The Radical journalist and historian who charted the death throes of colonialism in Africa

Basil Davidson, who died aged 95 in 2010, was a radical journalist in the great anti-imperial tradition, and became a distinguished historian of pre-colonial Africa. An energetic and charismatic figure, he joined that legendary band of British soldiers who fought with the partisans in Yugoslavia and in Italy. Years later, he was the first reporter to travel with the guerrillas fighting the Portuguese in Angola and Guinea-Bissau, and brought their struggle to the world’s attention.

Lumumba’s remains to return home

Lumumba’s remains to return home

The Congo’s first Prime Minister after independence, Patrice Lumumba, was removed in a coup masterminded by the West. In his place, Mobutu Sese Seko) was installed, inaugurating a brutal and kleptocratic reign, which lasted until 1997. Patrice Lumumba, was murdered, cut up and dissolved in acid. His teeth, kept as a trophy in Belgium, will be returned to Africa.

Preserving Lovedale Press, a historical compass

Preserving Lovedale Press, a historical compass

The almost 200-year-old Eastern Cape publisher is facing closure, but a fundraising initiative that highlights its literary archive and importance as a cultural institution could save the press. This story was first published by New Frame. The legendary poet BW Vilakazi had the future in mind when he wrote: “To all the generations coming after/ Now gaze upon the valleys here at Lovedale.”

Nnamdi Azikiwe: African Philosopher; scholar and eminent journalist

Nnamdi Azikiwe: African Philosopher; scholar and eminent journalist

Phindi Xaba [intro]Apart from having become the first Nigerian president, Nnamdi Azikiwe was a Pan Africanist who revolutionised the West African newspaper industry.[/intro] Like most African journalists who were propelled into the media space by fighting for liberation of the continent from colonisers, Dr Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe, also known as “Zik” was no exception. Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, were all activists before they became...

A tribute to Harry Mashabela

A tribute to Harry Mashabela

Suzette Nxumalo Mafuna [intro]Harry Mashabela, veteran journalist and writer passed away in August. His novels depict aspects of life in Soweto and black people's endless struggles against an obstinate and racist South African dictatorship. He hoped that exposing police brutality would help garner support for the black struggle.[/intro] Veteran journalist and writer, Harry Mashabela, passed away on 23 August 2019 after a long battle with cancer. He was 89 years old. Mashabela was a journalist,...

The 1970s: A decade of saying enough was enough

The 1970s: A decade of saying enough was enough

Jarome Klaaste [intro]Journalist Aggrey Klaaste was imprisoned 42 years ago during a police crackdown on anti-apartheid activists. His son reflects on those heady 1970s days and the state of South Africa today.[/intro] All of this week, my mind kept racing back to a momentous event that took place on 19 October 1977. On that day, in one fell swoop, the apartheid government arrested a number of black political leaders and banned a host of community organisations aligned to the black...

Juby Mayet: (1937 – 2019)

Juby Mayet: (1937 – 2019)

Madala Thepa [intro]Death recently snatched Veteran journalist and writer Zubeida “Juby” Mayet, a woman who had first-hand experience with the erstwhile apartheid system while practising journalism. She was an octagenarian whose full story had yet to be told in the memoirs she was working towards before her passing. The writer -  Madala Thepa -  is one of the fortunate few who managed to have a conversation with her almost three years ago and now shares fond memories of his experience in her...

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