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Mandela “gave us courage”, says Nobel laureate Gordimer

Reacting to the death of anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela, the South African Nobel prize laureate and activist Nadine Gordimer told FRANCE 24 the late leader’s dream is yet to be fulfilled.


Nadine Gordimer, a past winner of the Nobel Prize in literature and a long-time South African political activist, said on Friday that the late leader’s dream of a new “South Africa” still needed to be fulfilled after his death.

“It will really be up to us to bring about truly the new South Africa, the new country, and a united people,” she told FRANCE 24 by telephone from Johannesburg. “We’ve gone some of the way, but we still have a long way to go.”

“It’s very distressing at present that there’s so much corruption in the country, so much greed, especially at the official level. But Mandela would say ‘we mustn’t give up, we mustn’t lose hope, throw up our hands.’ He never did, through all the time under apartheid. He never did under the 27 years within prison walls,” the famed author said.

Gordimer, who was a member of Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) when the organisation was banned in the 1960s, also recalled her time as a political activist fighting apartheid.

“Although [Mandela] was behind [prison] walls he would give us the tactics to act against oppression. Walls do not a prison make for a spirit like Mandela’s," Gordimer reflected. "We live today, even with him gone, with a sense, with a knowledge and a courage that he gave us.”

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