Home News Alan Paton, the South African writer who fought against apartheid and authoritarianism

Alan Paton, the South African writer who fought against apartheid and authoritarianism

115 years after his birth, the great seeker pays homage to a visionary man who fought for the basic principles of love, nonviolence and equality in the world

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Alan Paton Google
Alan Paton Google

Google celebrates the 115th anniversary of the birth of the South African author and activist Alan Paton, who during the South African apartheid system spoke fearlessly against racial segregation and, through his books and speeches, propagated nonviolence.

He was born in the province of Natal, now KwaZulu-Natal. In his youth, Paton was subjected to extensive corporal punishment, which led, years later, to oppose for life to any form of authoritarianism and physical punishment. During his life, he was the administrator of the Diepkloof Reformatory for young African-American criminals, where he developed a controversial but compassionate reform system that included open dormitories, work outside the prison walls and home visits.


Interview with Alan Paton in 1960

After the Second World War, Paton toured correctional facilities around the world and soon began to write Cry the beloved country . The book was published in 1948, the same year in which apartheid was formally institutionalized, and began four decades of racial segregation in South Africa. The passage that gives title to the novel says: “Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child who is the heir of our fear…”. His masterpiece is a moving story of racial injustice, human suffering and redemption.

Today’s Doodle is inspired by a detail of the life of this author, who said it was during a train trip that he was inspired to write Cry the Beloved Country. The great seeker pays homage to a visionary who fought for the basic principles of love, nonviolence and equality in the world.

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