Nadine Gordimer: courage in one’s life and talent in one’s work

first_img“Writing is making sense of life. You work your whole life and perhaps you’ve made sense of one small area,” Nadine Gordimer (Image: Läranas Nyheter) • Nadine Gordimer, South Africa’s genius of literature, turns 90 • Homegrown artistic talent honoured • South African literature • Cape Town gets a literary nod • African writing on the rise Sulaiman Philip“Learning to write sent me falling, falling through the surface of the South African way of life,” Nadine Gordimer once said. For more than 60 years the daughter of Latvian immigrants wrote about the country she lived in and loved.Gordimer, who died at home surrounded by family on Sunday 13 July 2014, lived her life by a simple rule – “courage in one’s life and talent in one’s work”. Her elegant prose and crisp writing style earned her literary plaudits – including the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991 – and banning orders from the apartheid government.She was always, physically, small; seemingly frail and ethereal, but in her literature she stood tall, tackling the everyday slights that pushed people to make the choices they did. Her writing – fiction and nonfiction – explored what it meant to be South African. As she explained to Guardian journalist, Justin Cartwright, “You are formed by your social enclosure and you are always growing. To be a writer is to enter into public life. I look upon our process as writers as discovery of life.”A new world in booksGordimer grew up believing that a bad heart made it impossible to become the dancer she dreamed she would be. Instead she found a new world and a new dream in the pages of the books she took out of the Springs Public Library, in the small mining town in which she grew up. Reading, and later writing, gave her an escape from the town’s provincialism, she would tell students, but the greatest gift her parents gave her was that of solitude. “My parents gave me the best gift a young writer can get, they left me alone. Writing became the scene of my greatest activity and my only discipline.”Her clear, controlled and restrained writing has won her comparisons to authors as diverse as Alice Munro, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jane Austen. Unlike Austen though, she thrilled in writing about the world outside her comfort zone, even if she was accused of writing from the safety of a white middle class home. In her own way she took risks with the position she found herself in. “You somehow watch that edge, and I was lucky I didn’t fall over it. Perhaps I wasn’t brave enough. Perhaps I should have done more. But the risks I took I got away with.”No Time like the Present, Gordimer’s final work, was published in 2012, the last of 14 fiction titles produced over six decades. Her first novel, the semi-autobiographical The Lying Days, was published in 1953. Among the awards Gordimer amassed throughout her life was the 1974 Booker Prize for The Conservationist and honorary degrees from Cambridge, Yale, Harvard and Belgium’s University of Lueven. In 2007 the French honoured her with the French Legion of Honour.Throughout her writing career she was criticised, in South Africa, as being the voice of liberal guilt; a writer whose career should have ended with the release of Nelson Mandela. Instead the gutsy author with the razor-sharp wit continued to write, including critically of the fallings of the new government. She did so because she believed strongly that as an artist she had the responsibility to hold up a mirror to society.Nelson Mandela, a fan, once said that Gordimer’s writing taught him a great deal about the white liberal sensibility. More importantly, Mandela was a fan because Nadine Gordimer was one of South Africa’s greatest writers. She was, as he said in June 1996, a writer, “whose writing was enriched by the cultural kaleidoscope of our country”.last_img read more

South Africa is not corrupt, says Public Protector Thuli Madonsela

first_img15 October 2014South Africa is not a corrupt country, but like other nations, it is a country that is fighting the scourge of corruption and other crimes that are a threat to the rule of law, according to Public Protector Thuli Madonsela.Speaking at the 35th International Crime Stoppers Conference on Tuesday, 14 October, Madonsela said she is often asked whether South Africa is a corrupt country.“My response is always: No, we are certainly not a corrupt country. Like many other nations, we are a country that has a problem of corruption. I must add that we are a country that is built to fight and is resolutely fighting corruption and other crimes and threats to the rule of law,’ she said in her speech delivered to delegates attending the conference which runs from 12 to 15 October at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.South Africa ranks fourth after Mauritius, Cape Verde and Botswana in terms of the 2014 Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance which provides an annual assessment of the quality of governance in 52 African countries, according to Madonsela. “This is good and we should build on it, going forward,’ she said, adding that South Africa’s success in this area is a result of a multi-pronged approach to promoting good governance, including combatting corruption.“We have a sound constitutional and legal framework with a complimentary arsenal of anti-corruption safeguards that we have established since the dawn of our 20-year-old democracy.’South Africa’s Constitution lays the foundation for good governance, and lays out the dos and don’ts for those entrusted with public power, Madonsela said. “Constitutional imperatives include open democracy, public accountability, the supremacy of the Constitution and the rule of law.’Regarding legislation, Madonsela said South Africa has the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act, the Prevention of Organized Crime Act, the Financial Intelligence Centre Act and the Public Protector Act, all helping curtail transgressions in the country.Besides the Public Protector, there are other “watchdogs’ like the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation (also known as the Hawks), the Independent Police Investigation Directorate, the Asset Forfeiture Unit, the Special Investigating Unit, and the Anti-corruption Coordinating Committee under the Department of Public Service and Administration, among others.“We also have independent constitutional institutions with administrative oversight powers, which include the Public Protector, the Auditor-General and the Independent Electoral Commission and the Public Service Commission. Human Rights bodies such as the South African Human Rights Commission also play a role in fostering integrity by limiting discretion of decision-makers through enforcing human rights,’ said Madonsela.On the issue of corruption per se, Madonsela said this menace is a societal than rather than governmental problem. “I’m sure that it is our common belief that if there was no corrupt individual in society, there would be none in the public sector. There would also be no corruption in the private sector,’ she said.South Africa’s fourth position on the 2014 Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance is commendable, but the country can improve on this, according to Madonsela. She said South Africans needs take the following steps:Respect the Constitution and the rule of law, with the understanding that not a single one of us is above the law.Ensure that no one, especially those exercising public power and control over state resources, escapes scrutiny and accountability.Shun and deal with retail or small acts of corruption as it fosters a culture of acceptance of wrong. We need to shun corruption wherever it surfaces.Report corruption.Form a united front against corruptionProtect whistle blowers since they are a critical part of the solution.Madonsela said to succeed against crime all cracks must be closed and one of those cracks is impunity. “If criminals know they can play the system to evade accountability, more will do the same, and before we realize what’s happening the rule of law will be undermined,’ she said.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

In and around your city

first_imgA checklist on where to eat and what to shop for. Restaurant Subs and SandwichesBuilding a taste for the American subs and sandwiches, food connoisseurs in this city are making way for a refreshing alteration of subs offered at Quiznos. They go a step further with rich, lip-smacking meats, sauces,A checklist on where to eat and what to shop for.RestaurantSubs and SandwichesBuilding a taste for the American subs and sandwiches, food connoisseurs in this city are making way for a refreshing alteration of subs offered at Quiznos. They go a step further with rich, lip-smacking meats, sauces and a variety of cheese on their menu. Warm and toasted subs are their USP. They claim that each variety of bread is baked every three hours. One can choose from international favourites like tuna melt, Italian veggie and chipotle chicken. For a desi tweak, you can choose from veggie soya chipotle or lamb shikampuri (mutton kebabs, cheese lettuce, onions, tomatoes, mushrooms and mint sauce).Meal for two: Rs 500.At: 123/124, Ground Floor, Ispahani Centre, Nungambakkam.Tel: 30180007.EventsFaces of expressionThe Vinnyasa Premier art gallery plays host to a variety of artists this month. On display are paintings by M. Suriyamoorthy and a range of striking sculptures. Suriyamoorthy’s paintings are a vivacious portrayal of the traditional south Indian culture. Adding to them is a range of sculptures that depict the diversity in art and expression.From: October 13-20.At: 21/11, CIT Colony, 1st Main Road, Mylapore.Tel: 24982515.Musical momentsCatch the famous Carnatic vocalist, Gayathri Girish, performing her enchanting numbers at the Krishna Gana Sabha. The concert is happening as part of the Gokulashtaami series and includes a number of kritis on the goddess Shakti as it coincides with Navarathri.From: October 16.At: Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, 20, Maharajapuram Santha -na Salai, T Nagar.Tel: 28140806.Gastronomic affairEnjoy an exotic spread of cuisines at Azulia, the Mediterranean restaurant in Hotel GRT Grand. With a unique weekend lunch menu, the restaurant takes the food connoisseur on a gastronomic tour of world cuisines. You can either choose from the set menu or customise it to your taste.Cost: Rs 1,400 (adults); Rs 1,000 (children) plus taxes.At: 120, GRT Grand, Sri Thyagaraya Road, T Nagar.Tel: 28150500.GadgetsadvertisementASUS S & F SeriesThe new Asus S Series Ultrabooks, S56CA-XX030R and S56CA-XX056R, are aimed at the budget-conscious buyer. With options of Intel 2nd and 3rd generation iCore processors, the S series Ultrabooks will have a 15.6-inch HD LED Backlight Glare display and a hybrid SSH+HDD storage to ensure instant resume. They also sport a brushed aluminum hairline texture and have a 2.4 kg body weight.Price: Rs 35,999 onwards.Portonics 3D Digital PedometerFor heath-conscious users, Portronics has come up with a digital pedometer that will keep track of your daily step count. Touted as being highly accurate, the device allows users to key in details such as weight and stride distance. The pedometer can count upto 1 million steps with a seven-day memory and includes a built-in clock, calendar and sports timer.Price: Rs 999.Gogear Soundot MP3 PlayerRefreshing its portable music player lineup, Philips has introduced a good looking MP3-player called SoundDot. The music player has an inbuilt clip for convenient and hands free use. It also has a Fastcharge feature where a quick sixminute charge powers up the music player to last for 60 minutes.Price: Rs 1,599.Sony DSC-RX 100Using the imaging features of Sony’s Alpha range of A-mount and E-mount camera families, the DSC-RX100 promises impressive picture quality and comfortable control options in a pocket-sized camera. It is also the world’s first 1.0-type Exmor CMOS sensor with a resolution of 20.2 effective megapixels. The sensor area is around four times larger than the 1/2.3-type imager in regular point-and-shoot cameras and hence captures more light for vivid and detailed images.Price: Rs 34,990.Available at Croma store, AA-5, Khanna Building, 2nd Avenue, AA Block, Anna Nagar, Chennai; Reliance Digital, 34, W Block, 3rd Avenue, Opp. Kandaswamy Naidu College, Anna Nagar East, Chennai; Sony Center, Gemini Flyover, Gopalapuram, Chennai.Gadget reviews by India Today G&G www.gadgetsngizmos.inlast_img read more