Nadine Gordimer on South Africa

1785 Words8 Pages
In the twentieth century alone, the world has witnessed oppression in many places, like the South African apartheid, which literally means “apartness” (Omond 11). Nadine Gordimer, an esteemed author and South African native, has lived to see the injustice and conflict her country has experienced during apartheid rule, which lasted just under a half-century. Most of her literary work throughout the decades of apartheid oppression united under the banner of freedom for the victims of apartheid. Her books speaking on the dangers and horrors of apartheid, as well as a call for its dismantling earned her a Nobel Peace Prize for literature in 1991. One of her short stories, “Once upon a Time,” published in 1989, creatively depicted many issues…show more content…
The family is living in luxury, ignorant to the chaos erupting outside of their suburb. They continue to believe that all was well in the world, when the reality was just outside their trimmed hedges and green lawns. They believe they are safe with their local neighborhood watch plaque with the words “YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED” (Gordimer 190) on it, but when the wife exhibits fear of the colored people, the husband’s reply is equally as toxic: “there are police and soldiers and tear-gas and guns to keep them away” (Gordimer 190-191). A sentence later shows the true nature of the faulty comfort the husband gives, “buses were being burned, cars stoned, and schoolchildren shot by the police in those quarters out of sight and hearing of the suburb” (Gordimer 191). This only proves to be a foreshadowing of what is to come, and the actions of the family have direct consequences, in which their former “happily ever after” turns to chaos because of their submission to apartheid ignorance. The third irony is presented with the family’s hired hands: “they had a housemaid who was absolutely trustworthy and an itinerant gardener who was highly recommended by the neighbors” (Gordimer 190). During apartheid, white South Africans generally accepted some of the native African peoples as their “housemaids” and “gardeners,” only accepting them if they were responsible and submissive to
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