Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Publication Title

African Visions: Literary Images, Political Change, and Social Struggle in Contemporary Africa




As early as 1959, the white South African novelist, essayist, and short story writer Nadine Gordimer wrote an essay, "Where Do Whites Fit In?" As the black struggle for power intensified and finally achieved its primary goal of black majority rule in 1994, Gordimer continued to reflect upon this question. Her eighth novel, July's People (1981), is a psychological and political fable. It celebrates a white woman's readiness to reject the relationships and privileges that bind her to the white world and her readiness to embrace the new South Africa of an emancipated black majority. The novels written before July's People focus primarily on a movement away from the remnants of colonial mentality harbored within the white world; the three novels following July's People emphasize a radical commitment to the black-dominated social order of the future. July's People and nine screenplay versions of the novel (l 982-1987) are central to understanding the philosophy that underlies her three later novels-A Sport of Nature (1987), My Son's Story (1990), and None to Accompany Me (1994). Along with the novel and screenplays of July's People, these three novels envision possible answers to the question, "Where do whites fit in, in the New Africa?" (Gordimer, "Where Do Whites" 31 ).

Original Publication Citation

Bazin, N. T. (2000). White women, black revolutionaries: Sex and politics in four novels by Nadine Gordimer. In C. B. Mwaria, S. Federici, & J. McLaren (Eds.), African visions: Literary images, political change, and social struggle in contemporary Africa (pp. 177-191). Greenwood Press.