The People’s Paper


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by Grant Christison

This much-awaited volume uncovers the long-lost pages of the major African multilingual newspaper, Abantu-Batho.

Founded in 1912 by African National Congress (ANC) convenor Pixley Seme, with assistance from the Swazi Queen, it was published up until 1931, attracting the cream of African politicians, journalists and poets Mqhayi, Nontsisi Mgqweth, and Grendon. In its pages burning issues of the day were articulated alongside cultural by-ways. The People’s Paper – comprising both essays and an anthology – explores the complex movements and individuals that emerged in the almost twenty years of its publication. The essays contribute rich, new material to provide clearer insights into South African politics and intellectual life. The anthology unveils a judicious selection of never-before published columns from the paper spanning every year of its life and drawn from repositories on three continents. Abantu-Batho had a regional and international focus, and by examining all these dynamics across boundaries and disciplines, The People’s Paper transcends established historiographical frontiers to fill a lacuna that scholars have long lamented.