Mhudi, the first full-length novel in English by a black South African, was written in the late 1910s. A romantic epic set in the first half of the nineteenth century, the main action is unleashed by King Mzilikazi’s extermination campaign against the Barolong in 1832 at Kunana (nowadays Setlagole), and covers the resultant alliance of defeated peoples with Boer frontiersmen in a resistance movement leading to Battlehill (Vegkop, 1836) and the showdown at the Battle of Mosega (17 January 1839). Plaatje’s eponymous heroine is an enduring symbol of the belief in a new day.
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