Kaffir Boy Essay

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Part I:

(A) Alienation
Alienation has a big role throughout the Kaffir boy. It is defined as emotional isolation or dissociation from others. Johannes, along with all the young children who battle apartheid each and every day are constantly being put down and are isolated from the rest of the people in south Africa. They are even on some level totally alienated from their parents as well. Johannes had been living proof that it is in fact extremely hard to rise above the life style that has been made for these people. His mother had taken it on as her role to provide for her family many times, due to either his father being in prison or just being to arrogant to realize what was best for his family. On page 77 it tells us how Johannes’ mother went and took the children along with herself to go get baptized, against her husbands wishes. She fought for jobs and did everything she could to provide for her family, despite being all alone.

(B) Relationships
Throughout the book Johannes mainly interacts with his family. His parents whom have tried time and time again to provide for their kids as best as possible despite being poverty stricken during apartheid in South Africa.

 The apartheid affected every aspect of Mark's life, including his relationship with his family. It completely destructed them as well as every other black family. The rules of the apartheid that determined where people lived meant that most black families did not live together. Wives and children lived on the reserves, while the men lived in the cities. Mark's family all lives together through it all. This is due to his mother's hard work. Even though she is working as hard as she is, her children do not see it because it is covered up by the projection of his father's anger and lack of food. All the children see is the struggle, rather than the amount of hard work their mother is putting in, in order to keep them together and alive.
As much as they try, neither his mother nor his father and provide for the family. Thus, creating relationships of only misfortune. Despite their back breaking labor, men in the cities were often unable to provide sufficiently for their families back on the reserves. Even families that were together, like Mark's, were often together illegally. The apartheid system created such rage that it created violence. Mark's father is a prime example. Worked to the bone, unable to even properly feed or clothe his family, and living under constant threat of arrest, Papa becomes unbearably mean. Yet Mark's family does manage to stay together.
All of these aspects create the relationships between the government and the black people as well as the relationships between the people of Mark's family. The government and the lack's people's relationship revolves around fear. It is charged by the blacks being afraid of the whites. Without this kind of relationships the apartheid will not be as powerful. It takes the people to create power for the government. The relationship between the government and the people affect the relationship in each home of the people. Mark's at home relationship with his family is caused by the way the government affects his parents. Because they cannot provide for their family in the way that they need to, it turns them into a type of person that is hard to connect with.


Fear is the first emotion Mark remembers when reminiscing of his past in Alexandra. Specifically, his fears of the police, white people, and starving. In a child's life there is always a lot of fear, but what Mark has suffered through in South Africa is a great amount more than the average child. Living to the next day is always questionable in his life. Day by day his fear grows because of his hardships that is put upon him by the apartheid. Every fear he experiences is due to the apartheid and how it forces a lifestyle that revolves around fear. 
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