July 15, 2010 / 8:00 PM / 9 years ago

Nobel laureate Gordimer immortalized in gold

Nobel Prize for literature laureate Nadine Gordimer attends a memorial for Nelson Mandela's biographer and former Drum editor late Anthony Sampson in Johannesburg February 8, 2005. REUTERS/Radu Sigheti

PRETORIA (Reuters Life!) - Nobel literature laureate and anti-apartheid activist Nadine Gordimer has had her face immortalized in gold, an honor previously bestowed on outstanding statesmen like Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi.

The 87-year-old author has documented South African society since she was nine and on Thursday had her face minted into special gold collector coins.

“I am overwhelmed (by) the honor, it has to do with my work, the center of my life and the center of my life in South Africa,” the diminutive Gordimer said.

Gordimer, one of the most outspoken opponents of the apartheid system which discriminated against non-whites, was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1991, when the Nobel committee said her “magnificent epic writing has ... been of very great benefit to humanity.”

Many of her books were banned in South Africa during the apartheid era but were widely read around the world, serving as testimony to the injustices of the system.

“Nothing is as true as my fiction,” Gordimer once said of her novels.

Gordimer has written about 13 novels translated into 40 languages, more than 200 short stories and several volumes of essays over the past half-century.

Reporting by Xola Potelwa; editing by Tim Pearce

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