On July 13, 2014, Nadine Gordimer passed away at the age of ninety years old. First and foremost a writer of fiction, Gordimer’s work encompassed and affected much more than the world of letters. The winner of the 1991 Nobel Prize in literature, Gordimer was known for her role as an activist in apartheid-era South Africa and her resulting influence on Nelson Mandela and her country. Gordimer’s novels and stories recorded the lives of individuals, the complexity of human relationships, and the tolls exacted by racial conflict. As an author, Gordimer sought to illuminate the mysteries and complexities of life. Her own life and fiction presented us with stories which helped us approach a new understanding of what humanity could mean, even when we were faced with the reflection of our less-than-perfect selves. Though she is gone, it is through what she accomplished in life that we, and future generations, are able to push further along that same path. It is both her words and actions which remind us that it is a combination of both which allows us to strive further than before, fighting when necessary, for the humanity we all deserve.
As we remember Nadine Gordimer, we also remember the stories that inspired us. Burger’s Daughter, July’s People, and No Time Like The Present are gifts that we can revisit again and again. All we can give in return is our thanks, and our efforts to live in a way that reflects the world as it should be, rather than how it is. Thank you Nadine Gordimer, and rest in peace.