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Nadine Gordimer lauds university for transformation
2012-11-09

Nadine Gordimer
Photo: Sonia Small
09 November 2012

Lecture (Pdf format)

Renowned writer and Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer has lauded the university for its efforts at reconciliation, highlighting several initiatives the university has put in place over the last few years.

She delivered the inaugural Reconciliation Lecture on the Bloemfontein Campus, and was introduced as a “champion of human oneness” by Prof. Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Senior Research Professor on Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation, who also referred to Gordimer as “the living expression of the power of critical consciousness”.

Gordimer praised the university by saying it was doing things in South Africa differently from what had been done during the country’s shameful past. In a message addressed at students, her lecture touched on topics of race, reconciliation, freedom of expression, education, inequality and poverty.

“Black and white – we have been conditioned; no, brain-washed, by legal and cultural and even religious, demeaning distinctions between race and colour. This university has discarded; is tackling these: an image breaking of false consciousness. We await your generation’s entry to public life, when you come out of the University of the Free State equipped to bring to us, along with your professional degrees, the way to function in a population as the human beings you have learnt to be at this university.”

The Nobel laureate also warned students of threats facing South Africa’s future.

“What is your reaction, then, to the Protection of State Information Act, the Secrecy Act that has been drop on our heads? The Secrecy Act means that we the people are not allowed to know the facts about our own country. Know how our society, our population is manoeuvred by those entrusted and empowered by our votes.”

The inaugural lecture was hosted by the Vice-Chancellor and Rector, prof. Jonathan Jansen, and the Rectorate, with the support of the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice and Prof. Gobodo-Madikizela.

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