Nadine Gordimer dies at 90

The South African writer, activist and Nobel prize laureate has passed away.

Renowned South African novelist Nadine Gordimer poses during the fifth edition of the Rome literature festival, 29 May 2006. Gordimer passed away aged 90 in Johannesburg on 13 July 2014. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - South African writer, activist and Nobel Prize laureate Nadine Gordimer has died at the age of 90, law firm Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs confirmed on Monday.

The firm released a statement from Gordimer's family who said she died peacefully in her sleep at her home in Johannesburg on Sunday.

"She…will be lovingly remembered by her family, friends and literary colleagues," it read.

Speaking to Talk Radio 702's Xolani Gwala on Monday afternoon, singer-songwriter Vusi Mahlasela said he has known "Mama Nadine" for around 25 years.

He notes her inspiring influence on his life and his "great shock" at the news of her loss.

Struggle stalwart George Bizos says her death is great loss.

"She was very active in support of writers and the media. She was strongly against censorship."

In the late 1980s, Gordimer argued in mitigation of sentence for a group of United Democratic Front members who were accused of treason in the Delmas trial.

Popo Molefe, one of the accused in that trial, says Gordimer had a special effect on those around her.

"Those of us who knew her know that she has touched our lives in remarkable and amazing ways. I'm sure we all shall miss her sorely and we wish that her soul will rest in peace."

Wits University Department of English Head Michael Titlestad says he will remember Gordimer for her generosity and her contribution to South African literature.

"A couple of weeks ago, I gathered that she was very unwell," he said. "But it's very sad. I remember her at a personal level as incredibly forthright and clear about what she expected of the public in terms of how it should treat and respect its writers."

Another giant South African passes. Nadine Gordimer showed courage in the past and present in speaking truth to power.Hamba Kahle comrade.

RIP Nadine Gordimer, writer. Fierce of mind & sharp of pen, she hungered to make sense of life in South Africa.

"You can't change a regime on the basis of compassion. There's got to be something harder" We will miss you, Nadine Gordimer

The author wrote 15 novels as well as several volumes of short stories, non-fiction and other works.

Gordimer was published in 40 languages around the world and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature back in 1991.

Born near Springs on Gauteng's East Rand on 20 November 1923, Gordimer was the daughter of Jewish immigrants from Europe.

She grew up in a secular household and became interested in racial and economic equality at an early age, with her parents playing a significant role in this development.

Gordimer's first work, The Quest for Seen Gold, was published when she was just 15-years-old in the Children's Sunday Express.

In more recent times, she was active in HIV/Aids causes.

She was also an outspoken critic of the so-called secrecy bill.

She leaves behind two children.