Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer, writer who fought apartheid, dies aged 90

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 July, 2014, 1:45am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 July, 2014, 1:45am

South African Nobel Prize-winning author Nadine Gordimer, an uncompromising moralist who became one of the most powerful voices against apartheid, has died aged 90.

Gordimer, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1991, died at her Johannesburg home on Sunday in the presence of her children.

A statement from the family said: "She cared most deeply about South Africa, its culture, its people and its on-going struggle to realise its new democracy."

Regarded by many as South Africa's leading writer, Gordimer was renowned as a rigid moralist whose novels and short stories reflected the drama of human life and emotion in a society warped by decades of white-minority rule. Many of her stories dealt with the themes of love, hate and friendship under the pressures of the racially segregated system that ended in 1994, when Nelson Mandela became South Africa's first black president.

A member of Mandela's African National Congress (ANC), Gordimer used her pen to battle against the inequality of white rule. Some of her novels, such as A World of Strangers and a Burger's Daughter, were banned by the apartheid authorities.

But Gordimer did not restrict her writing to a damning indictment of apartheid, as she tried to cut through the web of human hypocrisy and deceit wherever she found it.

"I cannot simply damn apartheid when there is human injustice to be found everywhere else," she said shortly before winning her Nobel Prize.

Nor did she shy away from criticising the ANC under President Jacob Zuma, expressing her opposition to a proposed law which limits the publication of information deemed sensitive by the government.

"The reintroduction of censorship is unthinkable when you think how people suffered to get rid of censorship in all its forms," she said last month.