Corrigall opened the discussion with a review of Nadine Gordimer’s No Time Like the Present in which she argues that Gordimer is, supposedly to her detriment, “unable to locate herself outside of activism”:
After the country went to the polls in the first democratic elections of 1994, a line was drawn, delineating what the country had been and what it would become. This socio-political rupture between the past and present was to some degree artificial; it also implied an erasure. In No Time Like the Present (Picador Africa), Gordimer expresses this temporal break in the form of a compelling motif of a motorbike ripping “the street like a sheet of paper roughly torn.”
This everyday event has momentous significance for the Reeds – Steve and Jabu – for the simple fact that it coincides with Steve’s suggestion that the family move into the suburbs. For the Reeds transplanting their lives in the suburbs is a politically loaded act; after years of living under the radar as not only an interracial couple, but as Umkhonto operatives taking up residence in the suburbs implies that they are being reaggregated into a society with which they were once at war.
- No Time Like the Present by Nadine Gordimer
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