Alan Paton

South African writer and activist (1903-1988)

Alan Stewart Paton (11 January 1903 – 12 April 1988) was a South African author and anti-apartheid activist.

Alan Paton

Quotes

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  • We had two masters of the spoken word in South Africa, General Smuts and his lieutenant J. H. Hofmeyr, whose life I wrote. Smuts spoke in a high-pitched voice, not the kind of voice that one would expect from a famous soldier, but he too could hold an audience in the hollow of his hand, partly because he was Smuts, partly because he could say nothing trite or shallow, partly because he knew how to speak to ordinary men and women.
    • Alan Paton on Smuts's oratory, in Paton's final essay, A Literary Remembrance, published posthumously in TIME, 25 April 1988, p. 106.
  • I have one great fear in my heart, that one day when they are turned to loving, they will find we are turned to hating.

Quotes about Alan Paton

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  • Like many others in the United States, South Africa came into my field of vision when I read Cry the Beloved Country, Alan Paton's best-selling novel. Reading Cry the Beloved Country may have been the first time I caught an objective glimpse of myself, my family, and the land we cherished and considered ours (although we were sharecroppers, my paternal grandparents had owned land). I began to understand that we were settlers on stolen land, with the native people separate and invisible, that realization dawning against the distant drum of the civil rights movement coming ever closer to home. Yet it was not a sense of guilt I felt; how could I, a dirt-poor half-breed myself, feel guilty in any terms not proscribed by the Baptist preacher? What I felt instead was a sense of enormous responsibility, and that felt liberating, made me feel in control of my destiny, made me feel I could change the world and make a better place for people like me to live in, liberation of the damned as Frantz Fanon put it.
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