Nadine Gordimer at her 80th birthday celebration. File pic: Thobeka Zazi Ndabula

Johannesburg - Nobel laureate and writer Nadine Gordimer was a brave and principled woman, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies said on Monday.

In paying tribute to Gordimer, who died on Sunday, chairwoman Mary Kluk said Gordimer exposed injustices that the oppressed were subjected to.

“In doing so, she gave voice to the pain and plight of millions of those whom the apartheid system had silenced, and that voice came to be heard with ever greater resonance throughout the world,” Kluk said in a statement.

“The daughter of Jewish immigrants, Gordimer became aware at an early age of the iniquitous nature of the society into which she was born, and never wavered in her commitment to opposing it.”

Kluk said Gordimer, in a series of “powerful” novels, laid bare the evils of racism and racial discrimination.

Gordimer showed with unmatched sensitivity and insight not only the harm it inflicted on the oppressed, but also how it brutalised and thus demeaned the oppressors.

“Nadine Gordimer became an iconic figure in the struggle for democracy in South Africa,” Kluk said.

“She was an inspiring figure for her own generation, and will undoubtedly continue to be a source of inspiration for the generations to come.”

Earlier on Monday, law firm Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs said in a statement on behalf of the Gordimer family: “Her son Hugo and daughter Oriane and her caring helpers were with her... A private memorial service will be announced at a later date.”

It said she died “peacefully in her sleep at home in Johannesburg on Sunday”.