Nadine Gordimer not one to mince words - Bizos

2017-05-18 22:45
Nadine Gordimer (File, Gallo Images)

Nadine Gordimer (File, Gallo Images)

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Johannesburg – World-renowned writer and activist, Nadine Gordimer’s identity and politics were challenged and shifted throughout her life, advocate George Bizos said on Thursday.

She was not one for mincing words, Bizos said while delivering the Nadine Gordimer lecture at the University of the Witwatersrand.

He said Gordimer hated censorship because her writing was her struggle against racism and injustice.

Bizos said even less than a year before her death in 2014, Gordimer railed against censorship.

“She wrote publically and critically about the Protection of State Information Bill.”

One of Gordimer’s most important commitments was to the creation of a community of writers. She befriended the best black writers of the 1950s, most of them based in Sophiatown, writing for periodicals such as Drum, he said.

He said Gordimer’s work as a writer had led to their paths crossing in “strange, unexpected ways”.

Her first piece of fiction was published when she was 13. She wrote 15 novels and a number of short stories and essay collections. Her work was translated into at least 20 languages, Bizos said.

She received the Booker Prize, the Commonwealth Writer’s prize for the Best Book in Africa and the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Gordimer was the only woman out of four Wits alumni to have received a Nobel Prize.

Although Gordimer was at Wits for only one year, she regularly attended protest meetings. She was at the university as an occasional student in English Literature and English Language in 1946.

The relationship between Gordimer’s writing and her social responsibility was one of the central questions of her life.

“Her involvement in the struggle against apartheid took a number of forms, some of which intertwine with my own story.”

She often attended political trials, including the Rivonia trial.

Bizos described Gordimer as a “remarkable, courageous role model”.

“I am honoured to have met, worked with, and befriended Nadine Gordimer.”

Read more on:    george bizos  |  nadine gordimer  |  johannesburg

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