This biography of Thomas Pringle (1789-1834), poet, fighter for human rights in the Cape Colony, and abolitonist, reveals for the first time the role this key Enlightenment figure played in Africa and Britain. Honoured in South Africa as 'the father of South African English poetry', for his part in achieving a free press, for his fight for the settlers' rights in the colony, in Scotland as the founding editor of 'Blackwood's Magazine', and in England as instrumental in bringing in abolition, Thomas Pringle has not yet had the attention he deserves. Born on the Scottish Borders, Pringle entered literary life in late Englightenment Edinburgh, but in 1820 led a party of settlers to the Cape Colony. After running a school, launching a literary journal and co-editing the Cape's first independent newspaper, he formed a group to fight for democratic rights for both the settlers and the dispossessed indigenous people. His biography reveals the important part he played in the literary and political world across two continents, and in championing the Khoisan and the increasingly dispossessed Nguni people. On returning to England he became Secretary of the Anti-Slavery Society, and on 15 June 1834 announced the implementation of abolition. After actively opposing the apartheid government in South Africa Randolph Vigne worked in exile as a London publisher and latterly, in Britain and South Africa, as author and editor of European and African historical studies.
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