Literary Birthday – 11 January – Alan Paton

Alan Paton was born 11 January 1903, and died 12 April 1988.

Three Quotes from Cry, The Beloved Country

  1. There is a lovely road that runs from Ixopo into the hills. These hills are grass-covered and rolling, and they are lovely beyond any singing of it.
  2. Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing, nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or a valley. For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much.
  3. But there is only one thing that has power completely, and this is love. Because when a man loves, he seeks no power, and therefore he has power.

Five Quotes

  1. To give up the task of reforming society is to give up one’s responsibility as a free man.
  2. There is only one way in which one can endure man’s inhumanity to man and that is to try, in one’s own life, to exemplify man’s humanity to man.
  3. Sorrow is better than fear. Fear is a journey, a terrible journey. But, sorrow is at least an arriving.
  4. When a deep injury is done to us, we never recover until we forgive.
  5. I envision someday a great, peaceful South Africa in which the world will take pride, a nation in which each of many different groups will be making its own creative contribution.

Alan Paton was a South African author and anti-apartheid activist. Paton, a science teacher, taught in Ixopo where much of his famous first novel, Cry, the Beloved Country, is set. He then served as principal of Diepkloof Reformatory for Delinquent African Boys, for 13 years, which provides the setting for some of his most memorable stories. Alan Paton won international acclaim with Cry, the Beloved Country, and sold more than 10 million copies of the book. He wrote four other books and he was leader of South Africa’s Liberal Party. The Order of Ikhamanga was awarded to him by South African President, Thabo Mbeki in 2006. Cry, The Beloved Country has been filmed twice. The Alan Paton Award for non-fiction is given annually in his honour.

In 2018, Google honoured his life with a doodle.

Source for image: The original uploader was Perijove at Swahili Wikipedia., GFDL  via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 11th January 2013