Book Review: Kaffir Boy
Kaffir Boy is an autobiographical work written by Mark Mathbane. It was the first South African autobiography to be written in English by a black native. Mathabne's aspiration for writing this book was to inform the world that apartheid had to end because it could not be reformed. Eventually, the book would achieve its goal of opening the eyes of many people worldwide about this subject matter.
Kaffir Boy contains several main themes. The book accuses South Africa's National Party's of abusing its power. Mathabane and his family, like all other blacks in South Africa, became victims of a racially abusive system that existed until the early nineties. The absence of equal opportunity is clearly portrayed in the book. The contrast between the opportunities of blacks and those of whites is added in the visits of Mathabane to the Smiths' home in Johannesburg. The Smith family, which only has three members, lives in a huge estate, when the house of the Mathabane family, which has nine members, is nothing more than a mere shack. Another important theme is the value of education. His mother, knowing she will be beaten by her husband, still puts her son in school because she knows it will be his key to a new life. In the book, Mathbane says," my love for reading removed me from the streets." The novel covers the first eighteen years of Mathbane's life that fell right in the middle of South African apartheid. Chapter one begins by making the reader interested through its explanation of the background of apartheid and illustration of the role of blacks in South African society. The second chapter, the chapter in which narration begins, emphasizes life in the ghetto and reveals the theme of violence against blacks. During one of the many police raids that take place, Mathabane becomes a victim of this violence when a officer beats him for opening the door to his shack to slow. During another raid, his father is arrested for temporary...
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