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Kaffir Boy: An Autobiography--The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa Paperback – October 7, 1998
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Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Mathabane shows a great many literary strengths here. His candid expression of his own feelings can't help but inspire the reader's respect and interest; the whole book feels 'spoken from the heart'. His prejudices, embarrassing moments, times of despair, moments of triumph, and peer relations are all here. Of particular interest to me (naturally, as a white non-South African) was the development of his views of white people--South Africans and foreigners--and how his understanding becomes broader as he meets a wider variety of people. I came away thinking that I'd probably really like Mark Mathabane in person.
His youth in fact makes a good story, one that builds nicely to a conclusion I won't spoil for you except to carefully mention that this is the story only of his youth, not of his whole life. And his descriptive talent, which painted such vivid and contrasting portraits of the life he led, is worthy of the great storytellers of the proud tribes of southern Africa from which he is descended. I would offer the caveat that the book contains explicit sexual and violent scenes that most people would consider inappropriate for children under 14 (and even then I'm assuming a pretty well-adjusted child). Mathabane is never himself vulgar, but some of his experiences certainly were, and he gets through them as quickly as possible but I see why he didn't omit them.
If you ever wondered what life was like for South African blacks under apartheid, particularly for a highly gifted member of that group striving upward against every barrier that several cultures could place before him, this'll be a revelation.
Mark Mathabane introduces us to the horrors of his childhood growing up in South Africa, from family problems, to gangs, and the unjust Pass Laws. He learns the value of education and shows just how hard it is to persevere when oppressed by whites who believe Africans to be inferior.
Starting from the 1960's, it provided an in-depth look at the Apartheid from a victim's point of view. It amazed me that it was all real...all the killing and poverty.
It was a very powerful novel. It gave me good sense of the meaning of "apartheid". I would suggest it for those who want to get a good idea of the type of thinking and enduring that went on in South Africa during apartheid. Because it doesn't quite focus on the events of history, but is a personal account of a youth's hardships, the book is very effective in evoking emotions, portraying hardships, rather than just stating the facts.
I really was able to take away a lot from this book. I finished it with a greater sense of the power of perserverance, hopes, and achieving goals.
It is also sad to see how he fails to give proper translations of things such as muhodu on pg 30, he says is cattle's lungs--NO its not; page 84 mfana is not a brat; page 6 pap is not porridge. These are just few of the things that have I found inaccurate.
It just seems like the book had its intention of being a best seller, especially catering to the American society. Only for Mr. Mathabane to forget that one day us black South Africans will get hold of this book.
I must say that at least ninety percent of the book is accurate, but the very elements of our cultures are not well represented in Kaffir Boy.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had to read this as a school book. Insightful. The book really explains how life was for Tribal families living in South Africa and the hardships they faced from their... Read morePublished 17 days ago by K. Gerdts
Very informative and a stark reminder of apartheid's brutal past. I now know where the term 'Praetorian Guard' comes from. Writing style is smooth and easy to follow.Published 1 month ago by Rachel Ding Hsin Shi
I found this book to be quite riveting. Much of the book is difficult to stomach - the harsh reality of life as a black child growing up in the ghettos of South Africa. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Waneta D
I truly enjoyed this book. Even though his life was so very hard. I found many similarities. I found this book thought provoking. I found my mesmerized by the narration. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Ida Earl