Nobel Laureate and writer Nadine Gordimer was fearless in her stand for justice, equality and freedom, the SA National Editors Forum said.

Johannesburg - South Africans mourned on Monday the death of Nobel laureate and writer Nadine Gordimer who died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 90.

Government said Gordimer's death in her Johannesburg home on Sunday left South Africa with a sense of loss, but she would always be remembered through her work.

“We remember authors for the stories they tell and the many ways their words can entertain, enlighten and inspire us,” Communications Minister Faith Muthambi said in a statement.

“South Africa has lost a voice that is revered across the globe for her literary command and impact. Gordimer leaves behind a collection of important work that influenced many South Africans.

“She told the story that was not allowed to be told, and paved the way for great voices against the rule of apartheid.”

The African National Congress described Gordimer as a literary giant.

Spokesman Zizi Kodwa said Gordimer was a worthy recipient of the 1991 Nobel Prize for Literature, among her many other accolades.

She was the first South African, and the first woman in 25 years, to win the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Parliament's arts and culture portfolio committee chairwoman Xoliswa Tom said Gordimer's life would be celebrated around the world.

“She was one of those people who were rich repositories of our heritage as a nation. Future generations will benefit from her writings,” she said.

Wits University vice-chancellor Adam Habib said Gordimer was a dear friend to Wits, maintaining a lifelong connection to the university, and giving generously of her time.

“She often appeared on campus to participate in colloquia and alumni events,” Habib said.

“As a Nobel Prize-winning author, a powerful political activist, and a revered intellect, she epitomised all that Wits University holds dear. She will be greatly missed by the Wits community.”

The SA Jewish Board of Deputies described Gordimer as a brave and principled woman.

In paying tribute to Gordimer, 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.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation said Gordimer was a great writer, patriot and voice for equality and democracy.

Mandela himself had a long friendship with Gordimer, beginning in his years as a young activist and continuing after his release from prison in 1990.

During the Rivonia Trial, Gordimer worked on biographical sketches of Mandela and his co-accused to send overseas to publicise the trial.

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.”