Nelson Mandela Foundation

Prof. Njabulo Ndebele, Chairman of the Nelson Mandela Foundation, together with the Trustees and staff, are deeply saddened at the loss of Nadine Gordimer, South Africa’s grande dame of literature and friend of Nelson Mandela.

We would like to offer our condolences to her family, friends and comrades.

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

During the Rivonia Trial Ms Gordimer worked on biographical sketches of Mr 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, Mr 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.”

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.