Fonds A2696 - Nathaniel Nakasa, Papers

The Classic, Vol. 1, No. 1 The Classic, Vol. 1, No. 2 The Classic, Vol. 1, No. 4 The Classic, Vol. 2, No. 1 The Classic, Vol. 2, No. 2 The Classic, Vol. 2, No. 3 The Classic, Vol. 3, No. 1 The Classic, Vol. 2, No. 4 The Classic, Vol. 3, No. 2 The Classic, Vol. 3, No. 3
Results 1 to 10 of 30 Show all

Identity area

Reference code



Nathaniel Nakasa, Papers


  • 1962 - 2014 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

2 boxes

Context area

Name of creator

(12 May 1937 - 14 July 1965)

Biographical history

Nathaniel Nakasa was a Johannesburg journalist, writer and the first editor of "The Classic" magazine of creative writing and art. He departed for the USA in 1963 on an exit permit, having been awarded the Nieman Fellowship to study at Harvard. Disillusioned, he committed suicide on the 14 July 1965, by jumping from the 7th floor of a friend's apartment in New York. His remains were repatriated to South Africa in August 2014, and he was buried in Heroes Acre Cenetry in Chesterville, Durban.

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The papers were submitted by Prof Williams, English Department, University of the Witwatersrand.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The collection contains the papers of Nathaniel Nakasa, who was a journalist with the DRUM magazine, a writer of short stories and the first editor of "The Classic" magazine.
"The Classic" was a black literary magazine of creative writing and art, and was first published from 1963-1971 by The Classic Magazine Trust Fund in Johannesburg. The editors included Nat Nakasa (1963-1964), Barney Simon and Casey Motsisi (1965), Barney Simon (1966-1967), Eve Braatvedt, Jill Chisholm, Stanley Motjuwadi and Joyce Sikhakane (1968), Barney Simon (1969-1971). The contributions of work by leading black writers included Can Themba, Lewis Nkosi, Bessie Head, Leslie Sehume, Julian Beinart, Richard Rive, Ezekiel Mphahlele, Andrew Motjuoadi, Casey Motsisi, as well as Nadine Gordimer, who also served as editor, musicians such as Dollar Brand, photographers including Alfred Kumalo, various French African writers. The Classic Short Story Competition was judged by writers including James Baldwin.
The magazine was suspended from 1971-1974, but was later re-published in Dube Township, Soweto, under the name "The New Classic" in 1975, edited by Sipho Sepamla, and published by New Classic Publications, but ceased again in 1978, with the "Short Story Special". It was once more revived in 1982, and published with few issues by the African Writers Association.
(The black press in South Africa and Lesotho, by Les and Donna Switzer)

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Notes area


Alternate title: Nakasa, Nathaniel

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion




Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related genres

Related places