Nobel laureate Nadine Gordimer: ‘I have failed at many things, but I have never been afraid’

From The Telegraph:

Gordimerweb_2177083bShe is very small and at 88, still very beautiful but she appears alarmingly insubstantial, almost weightless. Absurdly, I feel protective of Nadine Gordimer. When I was growing up in Johannesburg, she lived just two streets away; the penumbra of her fame fell on our small house, lower down the hill. And when I started to write, I found it hard to shake the lyrical style she then employed.

Now, decades later, I wonder if she believes a life of engagement dangerous opposition has been worth it. The question arises because, 18 years after the first free elections, Gordimer has the regime of Jacob Zuma in her sights. She wants it understood that South Africa has a wonderful constitution and a world-class Bill of Rights. All that is required is that these should be honoured; they are South Africa’s secular religion, but the government with its Protection of State Information Bill – aka The Secrecy Bill – is intent on subverting them. The bill is a sham designed to hide widespread corruption, by giving any organ of the state the ability to decide what constitutes the protection of state information; ministers will be able to prosecute and jail offenders. Raymond Louw, distinguished former editor of the Rand Daily Mail, has described it as “worse than anything under apartheid. The powers the government is taking to curb the press are far wider now and the powers given to the minister of state security are greater”. And this is what Nadine Gordimer wants to speak about, rather than her new novel, No Time Like the Present.

More here.