Nadine Gordimer

A prickly, astute writer, Nadine Gordimer condemned South African apartheid, saying it cauterized the human heart. (Associated Press / July 14, 2014)

Nadine Gordimer, the crusading Nobel literature laureate who won fame as the finest chronicler of apartheid in South Africa, has died, her family told Associated Press. She was 90.

A prickly, astute writer who called literature “an ax to break up the frozen seas within us,” Gordimer condemned the racist system that for decades was imposed by a white minority on a black majority, saying it cauterized the human heart.

She supported the African National Congress’ liberation struggle, and when Nelson Mandela was released from prison in 1990, Gordimer was among the first people he met. She later turned against the party, accusing it of corruption.