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'Native of nowhere' returns home to SA

Plans are underway to repatriate the remains of acclaimed South African journalist, Nat Nakasa.

The government says New York officials have already granted permission to exhume the body of acclaimed writer and storyteller Nat Nakasa for reburial in South Africa. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Plans are being made to repatriate the remains of the man who called himself the "native of nowhere" back to his home of KwaZulu-Natal after almost 50 years.

Government says plans are at an advanced stage to have the remains of Nat Nakasa that are buried at a New York cemetery returned to South Africa for reburial.

Nakasa was born in KwaZulu-Natal but moved to Johannesburg to work as a journalist for _ Drum Magazine_. He also worked for the Golden City Post and was the first black journalist to work at the Rand Daily Mail (now Mail & Guardian) where he provided a black perspective for the newspaper's predominantly white readership.

Honoured annually at the Nat Nakasa Awards for Courageous Journalism, the prominent writer left the country on an exit permit to take up the Niemen Fellowship at Harvard University in 1964 but was not allowed to return by the apartheid government.

He was allegedly suffering from depression and isolation at the time of his death.

Nakasa has been described by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as more than a story teller, but an activist, intellectual and opinion maker.

Ramaphosa says the repatriation of his remains is a victory over those who denied him the right to return to the land of his birth.

Nakasa's suicide has been described by many as an example of the destructive effects of the apartheid government on black intellectuals.

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