Nadine Gordimer, a South African writer, political activist and Nobel laureate known for writing about the apartheid, died in Johannesburg on Sunday. She was 90.
Her family released a statement to the media saying Gordimer died peacefully in her home in the presence of her children, Hugo and Oriane.
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“She cared most deeply about South Africa, its culture, its people and its on-going struggle to realize its new democracy,” the family statement said.
Gordimer, who was born in Gauteng in 1923, won the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature for her novels and short stories exploring the drama of racial segregation and white-minority rule in South Africa before anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela took office in 1994.
Gordimer, a member of the African National Congress at a time when it was illegal, was one of the first people Mandela asked to see when he was released from prison in 1990.
Three of her novels were banned by the oppressive regime she spoke out against so openly. “A World of Strangers” was banned for 12 years, while “The Late Bourgeois World” waited 10 years to reach readers in South Africa. “Burger’s Daughter,” one of Gordimer’s most popular novels, was banned for six months before the Publications Committee’s Appeal Board reversed the censorship.
Censorship was one of Gordimer’s chief concerns, no matter what party was in control of her country. In an interview last month, she criticized current South African president Jacob Zuma for a proposed law that 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,” Gordimer said.