Free epub Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth’s Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa –

The Classic Story Of Life In Apartheid South Africa Mark Mathabane Was Weaned On Devastating Poverty And Schooled In The Cruel Streets Of South Africa S Most Desperate Ghetto, Where Bloody Gang Wars And Midnight Police Raids Were His Rites Of Passage Like Every Other Child Born In The Hopelessness Of Apartheid, He Learned To Measure His Life In Days, Not Years Yet Mark Mathabane, Armed Only With The Courage Of His Family And A Hard Won Education, Raised Himself Up From The Squalor And Humiliation To Win A Scholarship To An American University This Extraordinary Memoir Of Life Under Apartheid Is A Triumph Of The Human Spirit Over Hatred And Unspeakable Degradation, For Mark Mathabane Did What No Physically And Psychologically Battered Kaffir From The Rat Infested Alleys Of Alexandra Was Supposed To Do He Escaped To Tell About It Mark Mathabane Was Born And Raised In The Ghetto Of Alexandra In South Africa He Is The Author Of Kaffir Boy, Kaffir Boy In America, Love In Black And White, African Women Three Generations, Miriam S Song, And The Proud Liberal He Lectures At Schools And Colleges Nationwide On Race Relations, Education, And Our Common Humanity He Lives With His Family In Portland, Oregon

8 thoughts on “Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth’s Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa

  1. says:

    Mathabane s Kaffir Boy is a classic written thirty years back 1986 about apartheid in South Africa It revolves around the first eighteen years of Mark s or Johannes life in a slum in Alexander on the outskirts of Johannesburg during the 1960s and 70s.It is a sociological treatise of poverty Unlike official reports it begins to describe immediate conditions through the eyes of a child the life of his two illiterate parents from two different tribes who moved illegally to the big city and struggled to survive without an official pass his father proud of his past tribal customs on the veld and now in reservations, his mother with one eye to the past and one to the future and change the two room rat lice, dirt infested home, initially of five with one brother and sister finally reaching nine , the mother grandmother matriarchical support community, the instant gang life of the street where boys and girls soon migrated towards, and the regular intruders the black police making night raids and arrests as ordered by the baas white chiefs The boy s small confined world widens further when he first reaches primary school age, something which the lion share of his contemporaries do not complete, much less move on to high school, and even less chance to obtain a middle class occupation.The predominant feature of society in the family father to son, father to mother, the right of passage in male tribal society of the individual in the street between street and the police, is violence, each linked superimposed on one another Violence is an attempt to impose status and respect Its opposite anti society, stability, exists among women, and the school, but for both factors to be accepted they also must impose further violent rules National politics, in most of the book, does not get a mention until the Soweto riots and the death of Steve Biko which for Mark, when explaining the events to a white is a reaction against the violence of the system The imposition of Afrikaans in Bantu schools was simply the peak of the iceberg of oppression, degradation, and violence, which for the white controlled media was able to present it as the sign of the coming revolution.Throughout his life, Mark recounts occasional instances when he met whites, and learnt the practical significance of apartheid to his kind The meeting of the two races, however, became an eye opener to both The observant and less close minded realised good and bad lay side by side in each community, but the heart of the problem was not individuals but the system itself which legalised segregation, allowing to the Nazi Big brother notion of selection, that the blacks were savages and should be trained solely to serve as fourth class role masters as cleaners, gardeners, and labourers Mark described the system as Nazi minus the ovens, since its slums and reservations admirable performed as concentration camps headed by white appointed chiefs controlling the agitated hot heads, with the system cutting off the life supply of his people i.e by the ethnic cleansing an appropriate expression chosen even before the Yugoslav wars of the country.Mark felt, like the religious sprinter Eric Liddell of Chariots of FireChariots of Fire DVD 1981 He was born with two gifts in life he had a passion and ability for study and to play tennis competitively, and through these two activities he had a mission to improve and fulfil himself as a person, to fight like a freedom fighter against injustice, ignorance, oppression, and intolerance from within, as a first step to emigration a subject which continues in his next book Kaffir Boy in America 1989 Kaffir Boy in America.That mission became his gun, to build not to destroy There is a feeling, in addition, he has a commitment to his aging parents and his family, to his community, his ethnic group, and even to his country which he hopes to return one day.Study and tennis surrounded by the protection of the anti societies the women and the school, guaranteed Mark the possibility of forming a substitute life, and it continued because both anti societies saw in Mark their own honest path to progress.He could only arrive at his conclusion where others could not because he had a role model the tennis champ Arthur Ashe to aspire to, and was able to meet a few liberals in the white community who were unhappy with apartheid, who were prepared to help, and who realised that through change, by integrating the best brains and the most skilled of the two communities could a better, humane and modern South Africa for all be created, and not the break up of the country through guns, bombs, bloody revolution, with both whites and blacks being driven away.Surprisingly, Mark demonstrates many features as Mandela who despite being praised, was criticized by several of his people for his over tolerance, understanding of his foes, and readiness to move on Mark was declared an Uncle Tom , a traitor to his people for his willingness to accept the moves by the white hierarchy to permit him play tennis tournaments against whites, and was officially banned Determined, and with the right local connections, he found a way around this handicap, in order to continue playing Conscious of threats coming from the black community, and though mostly in agreement, Mark still preferred to fight alone on his road to sporting freedom, and with the great support from US tennis star, Stan Smith, he successfully obtained a scholarship to study in the US, becoming the first black South African, a role model in his own right.His teachers realised he needed balls in that violent environment, and he had to spare to fight on against all obstacles within his family, his community, and inside the nation Without realising, he was engaging in pure Gandhi non violence.Did the author purposely choose to hold back his hatred believing too much might scare white readers as nothing than a rant Possibly His balanced argument is rational, and instructive to those with no experience To present a gradual approach, making readers as conscious of the conditions as the boy was becoming was an effective technique, as it portrayed the hidden tentacles of the system everywhere.What becomes questionable was did the blacks hired in the system add a gloss of corruption by encouraging their fellow ethnic people to add to their low salaries with necessary bribes It would be unbelievable if the whites were not aware what their subordinates were doing Thus, they may have overlooked their unethical activities, believing that a little graft was legitimate since it was an African custom it oiled the wheels of the system effectively by bringing a number of loyal blacks to cooperate openly and enthusiastically with the system, and it justified paying them a lower salary Mark does not explain why they seemed to behave so severely towards fellow Africans.Was it because it was part of their office routine, or did they feel they had to appease their white superiors and behave so uncooperatively and harshly He did show some seemed to gain pleasure when acting cruelly Thus, it is likely some were hired to behave in this manner, and as they started receiving their bribes regularly, it explained that the technique was proving effective and merited being employed frequently Others would just tow that prescribed line, or felt it legitimate to up the ante and demand higher bribes It justified the black s belief that a corrupt white system was turning blacks white, and only strong ethnic community pressure might righten the wrong, the humiliation and hurt committed Obviously, these blacks lived in different suburbs away from the strong pressures of their people.This classic still goes well with a recent volume by a white boy, Under our skinUnder Our Skin A White Family s Journey Through South Africa s Darkest Years It can continue to be a historical sociological pamphlet it can be viewed as a test where we have reached since the 1990s Most of all, it can be seen as an epistle of right against wrong or against might, and the desire to succeed against every form of oppression.For those wishing to look at the here and now look at role models in Olympic and Paralympic gold winners Kelly Holmes, Mo Farah or Sarah Storey and say she is black, he was a migrant, she is disabled and they each made it Then ask can t I Answer yes with hard work and effort Poverty, however, does not mean poor writing, or poor sub standard literacy The desire and pride to achieve in this work shows through in the face of those literati who believe everyone should merit the same laurels Each may receive a laurel, but not the same.Recommended reading in schools with a great health warning just as white can never obtain the monopoly of truth, right and good, black now does not in turn become good Mark recognised the violent bad among his community, stood away, and chose a different path A wise decision.

  2. says:

    The story gave an insight to the hard ship his and other families have had to endure,and how he, through his forward thinking mother survived.Whilst I appreciate the fact every good reading story has to end,I felt the ending sadly was abrupt,till it became clear there was a sequel.Mmmmmm

  3. says:

    A great book that all South Africans should read Perhaps a slightly extreme example of the times an Angela s Ashes for South Africa, but nonetheless jarring and appalling to read as a South African born long after the events, but still shocked that one section of our population could be treated so badly by another.Mark is still relatively balanced in his views and does show the good and bad of both the black and white people he meets throughout his life.Definitely recommended, and if South Africa ever doubts how far it has progressed since 1994, this is a stark but very uplifting reminder.

  4. says:

    This is an essential read for black and white of every country Beautifully written by a brave, erudite man against all odds who bore with dignity the degradation, humiliation, physical and emotional suffering of himself, his family, his nation and country of a most brutal system which began only a few years after the exposure of the horrors of the holocaust.This is a truthful, harrowing, heartbreaking account of the impact of apartheid South Africa, institutionalised brutality, on ordinary peoples lives It must have been unbelievably difficult to live through, write about and relive and not become disaffected Will South Africa ever recover from its shameful past Thank you Mark Mathabane for documenting your experience and allowing the world to be your witness.

  5. says:

    Before reading this book i had heard some stories about apartheid, but reading this book was like hearing the story from the horse s mouth most times I found myself fighting back tears, especially the part where he talked about his grandmother cleaning off his foot steps in the white bus to appease the white driver Even narrating the story to my friends makes me cry, I really recommend this book, anyone who loves reading must read this.Does anyone know if he went back to get his family out of Alexandra I m a bit hesitant to get the sequel as the reviews suggest it s a disappointment.

  6. says:

    this is probably one of the best books you will read i could not wait to turn the pages and will now be reading the follow up of marks exploits in america.thanks mark for opening my eyes to life in south africa during these difficult times.many thanks, Tom.

  7. says:

    Excellent read, for anyone studying apartheid at University this will give you an insight into apartheid Before I started my module I had hardly any knowledge on South Africa and the fight against apartheid This book would have been best read before embarking on any studies, especially in Sociology and any global educational issues.

  8. says:

    not as good as I thought it would be struggled to read and didn t finish the book