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Kaffir Boy Book Report

By Testforu Jun 01, 2015 1524 Words
 
Revant Ranjan
Pierce: 3rd Period 

    ​
African Novel Assessment 

Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa​ , 
an autobiography written by Mark Mathabane (1986), details the gruesome horrors in a black  boy's life of perpetual racial discrimination and suffering as he journeys on a quest for  knowledge and success in a world of ignorance. Mathabane wrote this novel with the entire  world as his intended audience. His objective in writing this novel was to expose the truth about  his experience with Apartheid in South Africa. Mark argues that one's family plays an  unparalleled role in one's development, and that education can be an armament against the  beliefs of the ignorant. Through his idiosyncratic perspective and deeply emotional memoirs, he  was successfully able to convey this message to his readers.   

This novel begins from the perspective of Mathabane's childhood; naive, innocent, and  pure, he first faces the harsh reality of brutal violence both within and outside of his household,  located in Alexandra, South Africa. The root of Mathabane's tribulations rested in the legislation  of South Africa during the time­frame of this novel. In 1948, the National Party gained power in  South Africa, and its all­white government installed policies of racial discrimination into the  nation's legislation under a common name; Apartheid (literally meaning "separateness"). The  main goal of this legislation was to separate the white minority of South Africa from its  non­white majority, however the National Party’s ulterior motive was to divide black South  Africans along tribal lines in order to decrease their political power and govern them effectively.  In addition, people of color were forced to carry and maintain passbooks, which if out of order,  rendered them incapable of attaining the jobs they required to feed their families.    

 
Revant Ranjan
Pierce: 3rd Period 

    ​
African Novel Assessment 

Inundated by poverty, colored people in South Africa, more often than not, succumbed to  the vices of alcoholism, violence, prostitution, etc. Mathabane portrays a unique perspective on  this subject, detailing these horrors from the eyes of a child, almost as if to highlight the disparity  between different definitions of morality. Despite the seemingly insurmountable odds,  Mathabane found his chance at freedom from this degenerative cycle through education. His  mother dreamt of a better life for her son, and compelled him to join the local Bantu school  system. Mathabane details a gradual change in his opinion towards school; initially perceiving  school as a pointless burden, his above­average performance and his mother’s inexplicable effort  to provide for his education began to change this mindset. Learning broadened Mark's horizons,  allowing him to see the world through a new, educated lens. He began to make connections that  allowed him to understand that the violence he once believed to be senseless and frightening was  actually the result of a systemic form of control instigated by the oppressive white minority in  South Africa. This epiphany marked a critical point in Mathabane's development. It piqued his  curiosity and enticed him to further his learning, so that he may delve deeper into the root of the  troubles bedeviling him and his family since birth.   

The final major milestone discussed in Mathabane’s novel regards his entry into the  “white world” and his struggle to find his place among the whites while upholding his black  heritage. Mark showcased proficiency in the sport of tennis; this granted him access to  understand the world beyond the walls which restricted blacks within Alexandra. He faced many  challenges along his path, suffering discrimination from both whites and blacks because he no  longer truly identified himself as solely one or the other. His new interests and high levels of 

 
Revant Ranjan
Pierce: 3rd Period 

    ​
African Novel Assessment 

education made him less compatible with the black community he wanted to leave

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