November 2, 2006

Burglarize a Nobel laureate

Filed under: bookish, literature — ted @ 10:57 am

And make of yourself an example for a larger point about the cultural and political situation in your country.

Last week, Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer was robbed in her house in Johannesburg. She was unharmed, although it seems she was roughed up a bit after refusing to give the robbers her wedding ring.

A week later, Gordimer was keen to view the incident from the other side. The robbers, she said, are products of a society grappling with the legacy of South Africa’s past. “I know that South Africa has a terrible problem with crime, with violent crime. But I don’t think the answer is more police. I think we must look at the reasons behind the crime. There are young people in poverty without opportunities. They need education, training and employment. That is the way to reduce crime,” she said.

A similar, though more violent, South African burglary is described in the novel Disgrace — written by countryman (and fellow Nobel Laureate and Booker Prize winner) J. M. Coetzee — which was just named the “best novel of the past 25 years” by the Guardian.


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