My feeling is that there is nothing in life but refraining from hurting others, and comforting those who are sad.

Olive Schreiner

About Olive Schreiner

Portrait of Olive Schreiner

Olive Schreiner (24 March 1855 – 11 December 1920) was a South African author, anti-war campaigner and intellectual. She is best remembered today for her novel The Story of an African Farm (written in Matjiesfontein) which has been highly acclaimed since its first publication in 1883 for the bold manner in which it deals with some of the burning issues of the day, including agnosticism, existential independence, individualism, the professional aspirations of women, and the elemental nature of life on the colonial frontier. In more recent studies she has also been identified as an advocate for those sidelined by the forces of British Imperialism, such as the Afrikaners, and later other South African groups like Blacks, Jews and Indians – to name but a few. Although she showed interest in socialism, pacifism, vegetarianism and feminism amongst other things, her true views escape restrictive categorisations. Her published works and other surviving writings promote implicit values like moderation, friendship and understanding amongst all peoples and avoid the pitfalls of political radicalism which she consciously eschewed. Although she may be called a lifelong freethinker, she continued to adhere to the spirit of the Christian Bible and developed a secular version of the worldview of her missionary parents, with mystical elements.

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