Nelson Mandela Long Walk to Freedom
I place Nelson Mandela at the top of this list because as the iconic liberating leader he freed so many diverse voices in this nation. An Xhosa, Mandela was born into the Thembu royal family in 1918. He served 27 years in prison, which must make one more reflective than those who have not had this kind of restrictive experience. Mandela’s autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, was published in 1994 and based on a manuscript written earlier in prison. This book won the Alan Paton Award and was a global success. I was personally inspired by the Mandela story and I am sure millions of people were similarly affected.
Powerful & Influential Writers Out of South Africa
JM Coetzee was awarded the 2003 Nobel Prize in literature and this South African born writer is a truly great novelist. His titles have twice won the Booker Prize and the Central News Agency Literary Award three times. Coetzee was born in Cape Town in 1940 and descends from Dutch immigrants to South Africa. His novels: Life & Times of Michael K and Disgrace, were powerful and influential books. Coetzee migrated to Adelaide, Australia and is a Professor of Literature at the University of Adelaide.
Nadine Gordimer (1923-2014) was a recipient of the Nobel Prize for literature in 1991. Her writing has been described as “epic” and “of very great benefit to humanity”. A South African woman, writer and political activist, whose books dealt with moral and racial issues.
Lewis Nkoski debuted in 1986 with his novel Mating Birds. Part of the Johannesburg set, Nkosi was known for his allegorical and analytical style.
Zakes Mda is an acclaimed South African writer and his work explores postcolonial notions of fractured identities within South Africa.
Breyten Breytenbach a white South African who was gaoled for high treason in his fight against apartheid. His novel The True Confessions of an Albino Terrorist employs an autobiographical approach to the material at hand.
As part of this 10 great South African writers article I would also recommend: Damon Galgut; Andre Brink and Ndebele.