JOHANNESBURG - Nadine Gordimer became the first South African to win a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991.
She died at the age of 90 on Sunday at her home in Johannesburg -- having won acclaim for both her literary brilliance and her stance on human rights.
Gordimer, an outspoken critic against apartheid, counted former president Nelson Mandela among her fans and friends. In her last published article Gordimer paid tribute to Madiba.
Below are some memorable quotes from Gordimer collected from various interviews.
"I didn't know I was a colonial, but then I had to realise that I was. Even though my mother was only six when she came to South Africa from England, she still would talk about people 'going home'. But after my first trip out, I realised that 'home' was certainly and exclusively -- Africa. It could never be anywhere else."
"We were naive because we focused on removing the apartheid government and never thought deeply enough about what would follow."
"You accept or reject the influences around you, 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."
"I have failed at many things, but I have never been afraid."
"The process of writing fiction is totally unconscious. It comes from what you are learning, as you live, from within. For me, all writing is a process of discovery. We are looking for the meaning of life. No matter where you are, there are conflicts and dramas everywhere. It is the process of what it means to be a human being; how you react and are reacted upon, these inward and outer pressures. If you are writing with a direct cause in mind, you are writing propaganda. It's fatal for a fiction writer."
"We are still in the morning after. I cannot emphasis strongly enough, we have had 16 years [since democratic elections]. That's all. Sixteen years. It's not even a generation. And here you, in Britain and America, have had hundreds of years of working towards democracy, and it's still not perfect; you've still got poor people, you've still got xenophobia. But we're expected to have done it in 16 years."
"Mandela was with us when he was in prison. And, in a strange way, Mandela will be with us when he's dead and gone. I don't know how long that will last. But he will become more of an icon, just as Mahatma Gandhi did."
"Well, first of all, you think it's never going to happen. And I happen to have been married to someone who was 16 years older than I was, so the process of ageing – my sorrow in that is attached to him. And my own? You are born, you grow and then there's a stage in your life when you begin to die."
"That through the way you lived your life as a human being, rather than what you did as a writer, you could earn your way to being an African. I am an African. I am white. I in my humble way, and others in their much more brave way, have earned that right. Nothing else."
SOURCES: PARIS REVIEW, TELEGRAPH, GUARDIAN