Alan Stewart Paton (11 January 1903 – 12 April 1988) was a South African author and anti-apartheid activist. His works include the novels Cry, the Beloved Country and Too Late the Phalarope.
Google Celebrates Alan Paton’s 115th birthday on Jan 11, 2018.
South African author and activist Alan Paton introduced the world to life in pre-Apartheid South Africa, fearlessly speaking out against racial segregation in person and through his books, and propagating universal franchise and non-violence.
The young Paton was subjected to extensive corporal punishment, which led to his lifelong opposition to any form of authoritarianism and physical punishment.
Paton was born in Pietermaritzburg in the Colony of Natal (now South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province), the son of a minor civil servant.
He served as the principal of Diepkloof Reformatory for young (black African) offenders from 1935 to 1949, where he introduced controversial “progressive” reforms, including policies on open dormitories, work permits, and home visitation.
Paton volunteered for service during World War II, but was refused. After the war he took a trip, at his own expense, to tour correctional facilities across the world. He toured Scandinavia, England, continental Europe, Canada, and the United States. During his time in Norway, he began work on his seminal novel Cry, The Beloved Country, which he completed over the course of his journey, finishing it on Christmas Eve in San Francisco in 1946
Paton published numerous books in the 1950s and became wealthy from their sales.
Paton retired to Botha’s Hill, where he resided until his death. He is honoured at the Hall of Freedom of the Liberal International organisation.
Publications of Paton’s work include a volume of his travel writing, The Lost City of the Kalahari (2006), and a complete selection of his shorter writings, The Hero of Currie Road.
The Alan Paton Award for non-fiction is conferred annually in his honour.
Alan Paton Quotes
- Sorrow is better than fear. Fear is a journey, a terrible journey. But, sorrow is at least an arriving.
- The tragedy is not that things are broken. The tragedy is that things are not mended again.
- For it is the dawn that has come, as it has come for a thousand centuries, never failing.
- Happy the eyes that can close.
- I have one great fear in my heart, that one day when they are turned to loving, they will find that we are turned to hating.
- There is a hard law. When an injury is done to us, we never recover until we forgive.
- It is not permissible for us to go on destroying the family life when we know that we are destroying it.