A Native of Nowhere

On a warm July morning in 1965, South African writer Nat Nakasa stood facing the window of a friend’s seventh floor apartment in Central Park West. In the distance he could likely just make out the outline of the Empire State Building, a sharp reminder of just how far he was from home.

Less than a year earlier, Nakasa had taken an “exit permit” from the apartheid government — a one-way ticket out of the country of his birth — and come to Harvard University on a journalism fellowship. Now he was caught in a precarious limbo, unable to return to South Africa but lacking citizenship in the United States, a place that he was beginning to feel offered little respite from the brutal racism of his own country. He was, he had written, a “native of nowhere… a stateless man [and] a permanent wanderer”, and he was running out of hope. Standing in that New York City apartment building, he faced the alien city. The next thing anyone knew, he was lying on the pavement below. He was 28 years old.

In a short but vibrant career as a writer and editor in the apartheid South Africa of the 1950s and early ’60s, Nakasa penned features for the country’s most influential black news magazine, Drum, became the first black columnist for the Rand Daily Mail [...] and founded a literary journal, The Classic, to publish African writing. By the time he was in his mid-20s, he had written for the New York Times and been invited to Harvard to study journalism. But like so many South African intellectuals of his generation, leaving his homeland was not simply a matter of deciding to go. It was also a matter of deciding never to come back.

About the Author

Ryan Brown, a Fulbright scholar in and specialist on South African history, pieces together in unprecedented detail the short, brilliant and tragic life of Nat Nakasa, one of SA’s greatest writers.

Sub-title: The Life of Nat Nakasa
Author: Ryan Brown
ISBN: 9781431405343
d-PDF ISBN: 9781431405350
ePUB ISBN: 9781431405367
mobi file ISBN: 9781431405374
Size (mm): 235x155mm
Pages: 216pp
Format: Trade Paperback
Colour: Black & White with images
Rights: World
Language: English
Publication Date: September 2013