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Nadine Gordimer: Wise Words About Bettering A Troubled World

Nadine Gordimer visited Alexandra, the black township near Johannesburg, in 1986 to pay homage to victims of political unrest.
Reuters /Landov
Nadine Gordimer visited Alexandra, the black township near Johannesburg, in 1986 to pay homage to victims of political unrest.

The great novelist Nadine Gordimer, whose stories told of the immorality of apartheid in her beloved South Africa, has died at age 90.

Gordimer was not only a writer. She was an activist in the fight to end apartheid. In her writings and speeches, the Nobel Prize winner offered words of enlightenment for anyone sharing her commitment to bring a better life to those suffering from prejudice, poor health, poverty, and other ills.

Here is a sampling of her inspirational, unsentimental advice:

"People give one another things that can't be gift wrapped."

"A child understands fear, and the hurt and hate it brings."

"Perhaps the best definition of progress would be the continuing efforts of men and women to narrow the gap between the convenience of the powers that be and the unwritten charter."

"The country of the tourist pamphlet always is another country, an embarrassing abstraction of the desirable that, thank God, does not exist on this planet, where there are always ants and bad smells and empty Coca-Cola bottles to keep the grubby finger-print of reality upon the beautiful."

"There is no moral authority like that of sacrifice."

"Truth isn't always beauty, but the hunger for it is."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Marc Silver
Marc Silver, who edits NPR's global health blog, has been a reporter and editor for the Baltimore Jewish Times, U.S. News & World Report and National Geographic. He is the author of Breast Cancer Husband: How to Help Your Wife (and Yourself) During Diagnosis, Treatment and Beyond and co-author, with his daughter, Maya Silver, of My Parent Has Cancer and It Really Sucks: Real-Life Advice From Real-Life Teens. The NPR story he co-wrote with Rebecca Davis and Viola Kosome -- 'No Sex For Fish' — won a Sigma Delta Chi award for online reporting from the Society of Professional Journalists.