- 1962 - 2014 (Creation)
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Name of creator
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.
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)
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Allied materials area
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Alternate title: Nakasa, Nathaniel