Nazia Peer (1978 -) lives in Durban, Kwazulu-Natal.
She went to school at Westville Girls High School (WGHS) where she excelled at English and Mathematics. During her time at WGHS she served on the executive committee of Teenagers Against Drug Abuse and represented the school at Public speaking and debating competitions.
Peer read for her medical degree at MEDUNSA. During her tenure, she did a presentation on Rape in South Africa (1998) and in March 2003, she co-authored a paper entitled “The Necessity of Condom usage in teenagers from the Ga-Rankuwa and Soshaguwe townships”.
At the same time she authored her first novel entitled House of Peace. The book was published in November 2005 and Peer had both Professor Fatima Meer and Dr Don Mattera speaking at the launch.
Chris Dunton from the Sunday Independent reviewed House of Peace, the success of which he attributed to its ability to “synthesis didactic and expository passages with the development of narrative and characterisation…As the plot reaches a multiple climax…the story becomes fully compelling. In the end, one does come to engage with the life of this family, with their concerns about their place in society, their conduct, their faith” (Sunday Independent, March 2006).
More than 1000 copies of House of Peace have been sold and, given this success, Peer was invited to read from her novel at the first Cape Town International Book Fair 2006.
In 2006, Nazia was awarded the prestigious Nelson Mandela scholarship, which “seeks to develop leadership of Nelson Mandela's calibre and seeks to attract scholars who have already demonstrated strong leadership capacity, be it in politics, business or community work”. She used the scholarship to read for a Masters in the Legal Aspects of Medicine. She hopes to integrate the disciplines of law and medicine with a view to increasing access to professional medical care and is currently working on a dissertation which compares the practical meaning of the right to health in South Africa and the UK.
Peer is a member of the Female Black Writer’s Association and the Islamic Medical Association. She is also on the selection committee of the SERVING HUMANITY BURSARY FUND which awards bursaries to previously disadvantaged university students.
In September 2006, she was named as a winner in the 2006 BTA/Anglo Platinum Short Story Competition for her short story “One love, one heart”.
Extract from House of Peace
Shahid passed his right hand over Malik's forehead, rubbed it past the tip of his nose and ended at the indentation in his chin. He stared directly into his son's eyes.
“For me all the freedom and happiness our family has in South Africa is because of you,” Shahid told Malik. “When I think of South Africa,” he continued “there is a warmth over my heart, a comfort. It is the place where God blessed me with you. You are the warmth over my heart – that comfort.”
“Dad, I don't understand? What do you mean?” Malik asked with concern as he covered his father's hand with his own.
“South Africa is a country full of possibilities. It needs you, like you need it. My struggles were black and white. It was simple. My land was taken away and my people were killed. The struggles here are seemingly less clear-cut, but visible only to those who want to see them. The fall of Apartheid was inevitable, but with the transition comes a responsibility,” Shahid answered.
2005. House of Peace. Durban: Madiba Publishers.