Johannesburg: S.i., 1973. "To me the writer's freedom is his right to maintain and publish to the world a deep, intense, private view of the situation in which he finds us. If he is to work as well as he can he must take, and be granted, freedom from the public conformity of political interpretation, morals and tastes. Living when we do, where we do, as we do, freedom comes to mind as a political word – and when people think of freedom for writers they see the mound of banned books our country, South Africa, has piled up under the 97 definitions of what is considered "undesirable" under the Censorship Act. The right to be left alone is not an academic issue to those of us who live and work in South Africa. The private view always has been a source of fear to proponents of a way of life, such as the white man's in our country, that does not bear looking at except in the light of special doctrine. All that the writer can do is to go on writing the truth as he sees it. As for the people of South Africa, we must realize that censorship is essential to the maintenance of apartheid. We cannot expect to free ourselves of censorship, to bring back life to our numbed human responses, while apartheid lasts. Nadine Gordimer."
Early manuscript draft of a major statement on censorship by the South African Nobel Laureate, donated in the Spring of 1973 for South African auction benefiting persons with epilepsy. An expanded version was delivered as a paper at the conference held by the South African Indian Teachers' Association in Durban (September, 1975), and printed that same month in the journal English in Africa (Vol.2, No.2). Her essay would be included in her 2010 collection Telling Times: Writing and Living, 1954-2008, where, decades later, she would revisit the subject in another essay titled "The Status of the Writer in the World Today." In the decades between writing the two essays, three of her own books were banned by South Africa's apartheid government. Item #4896
Original holograph manuscript composed in black pen on white bond (measuring 8.25" x 11.75"); 28 lines (227 words), signed by Gordimer at lower margin. Mild wear and handling, paperclip impression at lower left corner; Near Fine. Accompanied by a brief letter from Gordimer to Sam Brewer, dated 2 April, 1973. Original typed letter on white bond (measuring 8.25" x 11.75"); 14 lines (34 words), signed "Yours sincerely, Nadine Gordimer." Mild handling, two paperclip impressions at margins, with a small tear to lower right edge.