The Spiritual Wellness of an Intellectual, Novelist, Journalist and Politician: The Meaningful Life of Sol Plaatje


  • Crystal Welman
  • Paul J. P. Fouché
  • Pravani Naidoo
  • Roelf van Niekerk


The study investigates Sol Plaatje’s (1876–1932) spiritual wellness across his lifespan. He was purposively sampled due to his impact upon South African society. As an intellectual, novelist, journalist, and politician, Plaatje was also a founder member of the South African Native National Congress, which later became the African National Congress. His life history reflected a significant degree of spiritual wellness, which was uncovered through the systematic analysis of publicly available life-history materials, including primary and secondary sources. The Wheel of Wellness (WoW) model by Sweeney and Witmer was applied to interpret the biographical evidence of spirituality and meaning in his life. Spirituality, as the central life task of the WoW, and regarded as the most influential domain of a healthy individual, incorporates religious beliefs and other individualised aspects of meaning-making. Findings indicate that spirituality characterised Plaatje’s childhood years and continued to play a role throughout his adult years. His sense of meaning and purpose was personified in the promotion and preservation of human rights and dignity, which embraced inter-racial respect, compassion, and service to others.