Comrade Madam’s commanding heights

Looking down upon the masses

Looking down upon the masses from a plateau of literary, political and humanitarian achievement

Nadine Gordimer’s voice, writes Dalrymple, had a timbre that

would have penetrated the best artillery-proof armour plating.

On one occasion at a conference in Bamako that Dalrymple attended, he noticed that Gordimer

condescendingly addressed a Ghanaian lady as ‘my sister Susan’. ‘Actually, my name’s Gloria,’ said her sister Susan, but the great writer ignored this manifestation of pedantry and continued with what she was saying.

Gordimer

exactly corresponded to the characterisation of her by the satirist Pieter-Dirk Uys as ‘Comrade Madam’: the lifetime habit of command combined with a theoretical and dogmatic egalitarianism.

Advertisements
Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: