An introduction to the lives and works of five exceptional African intellectuals based in the former Cape Colony in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this unique work aims to recount and preserve a part of African intellectual heritage which is not widely known. Ntsikana, Tiyo Soga, John Tengo Jabavu, Mpilo Walter Benson Rubusana and Samuel Edward Krune Mqhayi were pioneers within the African community, contributing their thoughts and intellect to various fields, including literature and poetry, politics, religion and journalism. Accounts of Cape frontier history tends to be exclusively about wars, and present the modernisation of South African society, with Africans as subjects of the process, and the settlers as the main agents of change. This modest intervention, intended to close this gap, focuses on the pioneering role played by the early African thinkers as co-architects of South African modernity. The authors, specialists in heritage, history and literature, hope that readers will find inspiration to continue in the tradition of intellectual activity that has always been the hallmark of African communities.
Mcebisi Ndletyana is a senior research specialist in the democracy and governance research program at the Human Sciences Research Council and a researcher for both the Johannesburg-based Centre for Policy Studies and the Steve Biko Foundation.
Ntsikana; Tiyo Soga; John Tengo Jabavu; Mpilo Walter Benson Rubusana; Samuel Edward Krune Mqhayi