Her childhood certainly influenced South African author Nadine Gordimer's anti-apartheid sentiment. She was born in Springs in 1923 to a Lithuanian watchmaker father and English mother, both Jewish immigrants. Her father suffered anti-Semitic sentiments in the Russian East and her mother was outraged at the poor living conditions black South Africans had to suffer. So she started a crèche for black children. Gordimer became involved in the Sophiatown renaissance when she studied at Wits. This combined with the arrest of her best friend and the Sharpeville massacre marked her decisive entry into the political arena. The Nobel prize winner Nadine Gordimer befriended Bram Fischer and George Bizos, Mandela's defense attorneys during his trial in 1962. She kept writing, using her novels and short stories as weapons against the political regime. During this time, many of her books were banned in South Africa.
Her stories often deal with the complexities - moral and psychological - of living in a country rife with racism. Her main characters are often oppressed because of their race.
Nadine Gordimer started writing at the age of 9. She was kept at home by her mother who believed she had a heart condition. The isolation lead her to taking up the pen and she published her first children's story at 15 and her first adult fiction at the age of 16. In 1951 the New Yorker accepted one of her short stories launching her international career and making her work accessible to a wide audience. Since, she's published 13 novels and 10 short story collections in 40 languages.
Now, post-apartheid, Gordimer is active in the fight against HIV/AIDS. In 2004 she mobilized 20 great writers to contribute stories in a book called Telling Tales, published and sold to raise funds for the Treatment Action Campaign, South Africa's campaign for better access to antiretrovirals.