South Africa's Frist Lady of Letters...Nadine Gordimer

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Nadine Gordimer was born on November 1923, near Springs, South Africa. Early in her life, she wanted to be a dancer, but her mother stopped her because Nadine had a heart condition. Later, she was pulled out of school for this minor condition, and Nadine began to read and write. She wrote about the things she was exposed to in her society, and that included Apartheid.

Nadine and her husband Reinhold.

Personal Life

  • Nadine Gordimer was born on November 20, 1923. She is currently 88 years old.
  • Nadine's parents were both Jewish immigrants; Her father from Latvia, and her mother from England.
  • Gordimer married Dr. Gerald Gavron in 1949. Gordimer and Gavron divorced three years later, after having a daughter named Oriane.
  • She married Reinhold Cassirer in 1954. Their marriage lasted until 2001, when Cassirer died of emphysema. They had a son named Hugo.


  • When Nadine was 11 years old, she was pulled out of school and dance because of a minor heart ailment.
  • Nadine's mother did not like seeing black people mistreated, and she did good works for them, “as a form of charity. ”
  • Apartheid was institutionalized the same year that Gordimer left college.


  • Apartheid (institutionalized in 1948) is a policy based on the separation of races.
  • Many people, including Gordimer, joined the African National Congress to fight against Apartheid, even though it was illegal.
  • Nadine Gordimer is famous for her novels discussing apartheid. She has been called South Africa's “First Lady of Letters” (that's where the site title comes from).
  • Four of Gordimer's novels have been banned for going against Apartheid, including The Late Bourgeois World and A World of Strangers, for ten and twelve years, respectively.
  • Apartheid was abolished in 1994 when Nelson Mandela was elected president of South Africa.
Nelson Mandela, former South African president.

See Also