South Africa's Literary Conscience
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Heraclitus said that character is destiny, but in the case of the writer Nadine Gordimer, who died July 13 at the age of 90, her destiny was written in geography. “I am not a political person by nature,” she once said. “I don’t suppose, if I had lived elsewhere, my writing would have reflected politics much, if at all.” But Gordimer was born in a South African mining town that was divided by apartheid, and the racial and political agonies of that country became her great subject. It was one she found inexhaustible: she wrote 15 novels in all, several of which were banned in her native country, as well as volumes of essays and short stories.