THE Nobel literature laureate Nadine Gordimer has been attacked and locked in a storeroom by thieves who took cash and jewellery from the 82-year-old novelist at her Johannesburg home. Gordimer was assaulted when she refused to hand over her wedding ring but did not sustain serious injuries, a police spokesman said. “The suspects then locked both Gordimer and her domestic worker in a storeroom and fled,” he said.
There have been frequent cases where thieves have tortured or killed their victims with hot clothes irons, knives and boiling water in order to get what they wanted — even when their victims have not provoked them by refusing them anything.
There is a grim irony to the attack, for Gordimer’s novels are all focused on the inhumanities of apartheid — with blacks always the victims, not, as in this case, the perpetrators.
Gordimer is a national icon, a friend of Nelson Mandela and, unlike JM Coetzee, the country’s other Nobel literature laureate, who has emigrated to Australia, she has refused to leave. Gordimer, who won the Booker Prize in 1974 for her novel The Conservationist, was always a likely target. Thieves frequently target older people and she is known to be well off — she was left large sums by her family and by her husband, the art dealer Reinhold Cassirer, who died five years ago, in addition to her 1991 Nobel prize and large earnings from royalties.
An she's also Jewish.
Yes, the irony of it all.