Clip: Nadine Gordimer on Politics and People

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South African writer Nadine Gordimer died on Sunday in Johannesburg at the age of 90. Born and raised in South Africa, she confronted the turbulent political reality of South Africa in her novels, short stories and essays. Her rich body of work won her a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1991.

Some of Gordimer’s best known novels are A Guest of Honour (1970), The Conservationist (1974), Burger’s Daughter (1979) and July’s People (1981). Her last novel, No Time Like the Present was published in 2013.

In this interview with Bill that aired on November 4, 1990, Gordimer explained how she, a white South African, got so deeply involved in black politics in the course of her writing career.

“I start with people. I’ve never been — I was very slow to develop any kind of political understanding, let alone a political philosophy. I’ve arrived at it all through human beings, through my contact with people. I’ve come to understand politics through what politics does to people, not through theory.”

A DVD including the full interview with Gordimer can be purchased from Acorn Media as part of the The World of Ideas series at

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