Nanda Soobben writes:

A Tribute Cartoon I Did On Anti Apartheid Journalist Nat Nakasa Who Died In Exile At The Age Of 28 For The Museum. The Other Guy In The Picture Is Verwoerd. The Drawing Of Nat With A Cigarette Is A Reflection OF One His Few Iconic Photos.

Nanda Soobben

Nanda Soobben

Nanda Soobben began his career at 'Post' (Natal) in 1980 and became the first black South African cartoonist to be employed by a mainstream paper when the 'Daily News' took…>

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© Nanda Soobben | Jul 14, 1965


Nathaniel Ndazana Nakasa (12 May 1937 - 14 July 1965) better known as Nat Nakasa was a South African short story writer and journalist.

Born in Durban, he moved to Johannesburg to work as a journalist for Drum magazine and the Golden City Post. He became the first black journalist to work at the Rand Daily Mail where he provided a black perspective for the newspaper’s predominantly white readership.

He founded the literary journal The Classic for black writers, and there he worked with Can Themba and Nadine Gordimer.  In 1964 he was awarded a Nieman Fellowship to study journalism at Harvard College in the USA.

However, the apartheid government rejected his application for a passport. As a result, he was forced to leave South Africa on an exit permit which meant that he could not return. Nakasa soon found that racism existed in America as well, albeit more subtle. He didn't like New York and soon moved to Cambridge where he spent his time at Harvard.

Although he learnt a lot, he was isolated and became homesick. He became depressed at being exiled and died after a fall from a high rise building in New York. His suicide was an apartheid tragedy, and a tragedy of exile.

Nanda Soobben's tribute cartoon was drawn long after Nat’s death for the Apartheid Museum. See the cartoonist’s note alongside the cartoon for more details.