As the remains of renowned anti-apartheid journalist, Nat Nakasa make their way home for his reburial, his family will get a chance to say a proper goodbye to their beloved son and brother. Nakasa’s reburial will take place on Saturday 13 September, at the Heroes Acre cemetery in Chesterville, KwaZulu Natal.
Nat Nakasa was, alongside the likes of Lewis Nkosi, Can Temba, Henry Nxumalo and others, one of the “DRUM Boys” as they were known. The “Drum Boys” was a group of young journalists who lived life by the dictum “Live fast, die young and have a good-looking corpse”. Most of these journalist went on to publish critically acclaimed works.
Here are some great quotes from Nat Nakasa’s writings that we will always remember him for:
1. “I may shut up for some time because of fear yet even this will not make me feel ashamed. For I know that as long as the ideas remain unchanged within me, there will always be the possibility that, one day, I shall burst out and say everything that I wish to say in a loud and thunderous voice.” Nat Nakasa wrote this quote in his collection of writings A Native of Nowhere referring to the way apartheid shut their voices down as black journalists at that time.
2. “My people are South African. Mine is the history of the Great Trek. Gandhi’s passive resistance in Johannesburg, the wars of Cetshwayo and the dawn raids which gave us the treason trials of 1956. All these are South African things. They are part of me.” Nakasa wrote these words in a piece titled It’s difficult to decide my identity.
3. “If I shall leave this country and decide not to come back,” he wrote in 1964, “it will be because of a desire to avoid perishing in my own bitterness — a bitterness born of being reduced to a second-class citizen.” Nakasa said of his exit permit before going for the Nieman Fellowship.
4. “ Sometime next week, with my exit permit in my bag, I shall cross the borders of the Republic and immediately part company with my South African citizenship. I shall be doing what some of my friends have called, ‘taking a grave step’” This writing is also taken from the Native of Nowhere. He was explaining his pain after being given an exit permit in 1964.
5. “I can’t laugh anymore and when I cant laugh I can’t write.” Nakasa said these words to a friend two days before committing suicide. He jumped off a high top building in New York on 14 July 1974 and was buried at the Ferncliff cemetery in New York.
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