Nelson Mandela Foundation saddened by passing of Gordimer

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pretoria – Professor Njabulo Ndebele, Chairman of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, says he is deeply saddened at the loss of Nadine Gordimer, calling her South Africa’s grande dame of literature and friend of Nelson Mandela.

Writer, political activist and Nobel prize winner, Gordimer, passed away at the age of 90.

“We would like to offer our condolences to her family, friends and comrades … We have lost a great writer, a patriot and strong voice for equality and democracy in the world. Hamba kahle Nadine. May you rest in peace,” said Ndebele in a statement.

Former President Nelson Mandela had a long friendship with Gordimer, beginning in his years as a young activist and continuing after his release from prison in 1990.

During the Rivonia Trial, Gordimer worked on biographical sketches of Mandela and his co-accused to send overseas in order to publicise the trial.

In his autobiography, he wrote of his time in prison: “I tried to read books about South Africa or by South African writers. I read all the unbanned novels of Nadine Gordimer and learned a great deal about the white liberal sensibility.”

Speaking in the President’s Budget Debate in South Africa’s Senate on 18 June 1996 on the role culture plays in nation building, Mandela said: “We think of Nadine Gordimer, who won international acclaim as our first winner of the Nobel Prize for literature, and whose writing was enriched by the cultural kaleidoscope of our country.”

South Africans will mark Mandela Day on 18 July. President Jacob Zuma has urged South Africans to take part in the "Operation Clean Up for Madiba" campaign to commemorate the day.–

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