The South African author and political activist Nadine Gordimer was extremely troubled by the racial inequality and concerns that pervaded South African society, and this inspired her to produce a body of work that addressed these problems. She was raised by white parents in a small mining town not far from Johannesburg, where she saw firsthand the racial injustice and horrors committed to the black community by the whites. Although she never had a natural interest in politics, South Africa made her curious about the topic because it affected every South African in their everyday lives. Gordimer has always loved to write, and at the age of just 15, she released her first novel. Prior to switching to writing novels, she started out by focusing on short stories. Nadine inherited her mother’s compassion for the black people who were forced to endure unimaginable crimes. Her conscience was profoundly stirred by the Sharpeville Massacre, and she became a social activist fighting against apartheid and advocating for black rights. She was awarded the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature for her writing efforts on racism.
Early Childhood & Life
Isidore Gordimer and Hannah Myers welcomed her into the world in a mining community close to Johannesburg. Her mother was a Londoner, while her father was a Jewish immigrant. She was brought up in a religious setting.
When she was a little child, she lived in an area where racism was pervasive. She also witnessed individuals speaking out against prejudice and for the fundamental rights of all people, regardless of race.
She was enrolled in a Catholic convent school, but she rarely went to class because her mother worried about her health and kept her at home the majority of the time. She was bored at this point, so she started writing.
In 1937, she published her first piece of fiction, titled “The Quest for Seen Gold,” in the “Children’s Sunday Express.” When she was sixteen, her first work of adult fiction was out.
She spent a year studying at the University of the Witwatersrand. In 1948, she stopped studying and moved to Johannesburg.
Nadine Gordimer’s Career
She kept writing when she was in Johannesburg, and her pieces were published in regional South African journals. In 1949, she compiled a number of her articles and published them as “Face to Face.”
In 1951, the “New Yorker” approved her story, “A Watcher of the Dead,” for publication. She primarily produced short tales in her early career and published her debut novel, “The Lying Days,” in 1953.
She initially had no interest in politics, but events like the Sharpeville massacre and her friend Bettie du Toit’s incarceration compelled her to join the anti-apartheid campaign.
She got involved in politics in South Africa during the 1960s and made friends with Nelson Mandela’s defenders. She also assisted Mandela with the editing of his “I Am Prepared to Die” speech.
She wrote “The Conservationist,” a story about a wealthy white man who is unhappy with his existence, in 1974. When he saw the burial of an unidentified black body, he realized how alone he was and began to picture his own death.
Despite the African National Congress (ANC) being a group that the South African government considered to be unlawful, Gordimer actively participated in it. Additionally, she participated in anti-apartheid campaigns and traveled the globe to raise awareness of the issues facing South Africa.
In 1979, she published the historical and political book “Burger’s Daughter,” which is about a group of white South African Communist Party members who are anti-apartheid campaigners (SACP).
She published the book “A Sport of Nature” in 1987, in which an adventurous girl marries a politician who goes on to become South Africa’s first president. Gordimer acknowledged that this project was dangerous.
She participated actively in the HIV/AIDS movement in South Africa during the 1990s and 2000s when it was a serious public health issue. To raise money for the Treatment Action Campaign, she put together the book “Telling Tales,” which contained short stories by well-known authors.
In her 2005 book, “Get a Life,” environmental activist Paul receives a thyroid cancer diagnosis and is instructed to spend some time in quarantine after his treatment. The focus of the narrative is how this transformation impacts him and his family.
Nadine’s Bigger Works
One of her best-known works is the political novel “Burger’s Daughter,” which chronicled the efforts of white anti-apartheid militants to overthrow the South African government.
In ‘July’s People,’ another of her best-known pieces, she makes prophecies about the demise of apartheid. The story takes place during a fictitious civil war in which black South Africans overthrow the apartheid system.
Recognition & Achievements
In 1974, she was awarded the coveted Booker Prize for her book, “The Conservationist.”
As a writer who “had, in the words of Alfred Nobel, been of very enormous use to humanity via her beautiful epic writing,” she was given the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991.
Personal Legacy & Life
In 1949, she tied the knot with dentist Gerald Gavron. Even though it was brief, this marriage gave birth to a girl.
In 1954, she wed the art dealer Reinhold Cassirer, with whom she had a son. The couple’s marriage turned out to be joyful, and they remained together until her husband’s passing in 2001. At the age of 90, she passed away on July 13, 2014.
Estimated Net Worth
Nadine Gordimer’s estimated net worth is $5 million and her primary sources of income are as a dramatist, novelist, short story writer, poet, and scientific editor. There aren’t enough facts available on Nadine Gordimer’s lifestyle or cars.