Archibald Campbell Jordan

Credentials: (1906-1968)

Archibald Campbell Mzoliza Jordan Xhosa writer and linguist died in Madison, Wisconsin. Jordan was born on October 30, 1906 at the Mbokothwana mission station in the Tsolo district of Pondoland in South Africa. He graduated from Mbokothwana mission before moving to St John’s College in Umtata to become a teacher. He began his teaching career at St. Cuthbert where taught for a year and also excelled as choirmaster. Jordan then moved to teach at Kroonstand High School where he taught for ten years and was elected president of the African Teachers’ Association.

Jordan went on to study at the University of Fort Hare where he obtained a BA degree in 1934. During his period at the University of Fort Hare he authored poetry that was published in Imvo Zabantsundu a newspaper that aired the views of black people. In 1942 Jordan received his MA Degree from the University of Cape Town.  In 1945 Jordan began teaching in the Department of African Languages at Fort Hare. After receiving his doctorate in 1957, he was appointed as a lecturer in African languages at the University of Cape Town.

Jordan became an outspoken critic of the apartheid government’s racial policies. As a consequence, the government refused to issue him with a passport when he was offered the Carnegie bursary to conduct research work in the U.S. He then left South Africa on an exit permit. He was made a professor in African Languages and Literature at the University of California’s Los Angeles campus. He then moved to the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and lived there until his death in 1968.

After his death, his novel Ingqumbo Yeminyana was published in English as The Wrath of the Ancestors in 1980, later translated into Afrikaans and Dutch. Jordan also authored a critical study of Xhosa literature which was published in 1972. The following year his collection of short stories Kwezo Mpindo zeTsitsa, in Xhosa was translated into English under the title Tales from Southern AfricaIn recognition to his literary contribution to South African literature, Jordan was posthumously awarded a doctorate in Literature by the University of Port Elizabeth in 2004. In 2005 the South African government also awarded him the Order of Ikhamanga in Gold for exceptional contributions in literature.

His full obituary can be found here.