KAFFIR BOY BY MARK MATHABANE PDF

The term was more than an insult; it was an obscenity. Mark Mathabane, who as a child bore an Afrikaans first name, Johannes, was born in , the year of that sad watershed in modern South African history known as the Sharpeville Massacre. In , Mathabane left his country for the United States on a tennis scholarship from a South Carolina college. Perhaps autobiography is an art properly essayed when we are old, when the fires of political passion have been banked, and we can look on our lives with a degree of dispassion.

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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. 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. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book.

Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane. 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.

Yet Mark 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.

Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published October 7th by Free Press first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Kaffir Boy , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details.

More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Kaffir Boy: An Autobiography. Sep 30, Liz rated it it was amazing. Wow-this is an eye opening book. I had no idea what went on during that era and sadly some of what went on then, is probably still happening now. After reading it, I'm not sure why anyone would want to ban it. I think everyone should read it. View all 4 comments.

Aug 08, Natalie rated it it was ok. It is always hard to write a fair review about a book where you've fallen out with the protagonist, who, by the end of the book, I found mildly irritating and preachy.

I am in two minds about this book which on the one hand I found insightful and revealing, but on the other, tediously introspective and lacking in realism. That's not to say that I don't buy into the representation of SA that Mathabane puts forward, it is simply that the book is written, intentionally or otherwise, in a childish m It is always hard to write a fair review about a book where you've fallen out with the protagonist, who, by the end of the book, I found mildly irritating and preachy.

That's not to say that I don't buy into the representation of SA that Mathabane puts forward, it is simply that the book is written, intentionally or otherwise, in a childish manner, by which I mean that Mathabane focuses solely on his subjective experience of everything, regardless of whether or not the reader would be interested in hearing about the feelings of those around him.

For example, Mathabane describes his childhood as the eldest son in a family of two boys and five girls, however there is barely any description of times spent together with his siblings or of what his siblings get up to. Furthermore, there were few descriptions of the surrounding environment. The first half of the book was slightly better in this respect, while Mathabane was a child, but once he becomes a youth and tennis takes over, there is hardly any description at all of his home, despite the fact that it was now become occupied with seven children!

Mathabane's lack of attention to descriptive details is however not reflected in his descriptions of conversations, which he appears to recall word for word, paragraph after paragraph. This made me slightly suspicious about the veracity of what he claims people said as I was left with the impression that Mathabane was recalling the conversations in a way that he wanted to remember them, rather than necessarily being a true summary of what was said.

I felt this in particular when he described conversations with his mother. There is no doubting at all that a book like this is so important in teaching us about the harsh reality of life in SA townships, and one cannot help but admire Mathabane's strength and determination in escaping this way of life. But, over 20 years later, post-apartheid, I can't help wondering what the book achieved, given that life in Alex and many townships in SA has hardly moved on since. View 1 comment.

This is a stark autobiography of a young boy growing up in a ghetto in apartheid South Africa in the s and 70s. The narrative vividly describes apartheid and the unbearable conditions its laws inflicted on blacks: racism, extreme poverty, constant hunger, brutality, constant fear and intimidation. Through a series of circumstances, the unwavering support of his mother and grandmother, his tenacity and determination, and no small degree of luck, I found it almost unbelievable the obstacles he overcame.

She had the vision that education was the only way for her children to improve their circumstances, and she did everything in her power to get them into school and keep them there. Even though she was herself uneducated, had extremely limited financial resources, seven children to care for and feed, and a violent husband who drank and gambled his small wages away, education was always her priority. Apr 21, Kara rated it it was amazing. Although the black society in South Africa was an underdog to the White society, Mathabane expresses the hope and devotion black South Africans had in such a crucial time period.

Hope and devotion keeps the black South African society from not completely falling apart and giving up against the over ruling white society. Such thing as education and employment is a daily struggle for them and without hope and devotion their black society would earn no rights.

In his autobiography, Mathabane explains the devotion his mother has for Mathabane to be educated, and the struggles she had to go through. In the process in getting Mathabanes education, however, his mother goes through a series of struggles with only hope to drive her to stay devoted. Repeatedly, his mother and Mathabane had to wait in hour-long lines to only be rejected for forms necessary for schooling. All we need are papers for my son.

Please tell him I desperately need the papers for my son. Please, murena, please. Which in conclusion of this autobiography, Mathabane gets a education growing up to not only be top of his class, but even moves on to college out of South Africa.

Hope and devotion are important qualities black South Africans had to have in this time to succeed. Mark Mathabane shows the struggle his society went through and without these qualities you would be lost in the crowd.

Without hope and devotion not only would Mathabane lives be changed, but the black South African society as a whole Sep 08, Thomas Armstrong rated it really liked it.

I'm going to South Africa next week and so I'm preparing myself with a variety of ''you must read'' books about the country. After reading a history of apartheid, this book gave it a human perspective for me. Reading this book showed me how all those damnable laws that happened at the top of the elite white hierarchy in South Africa affected the powerless millions of non-whites at the bottom. Mathabane writes eloquently about his growing up in the midst of poverty, violence, disease, conflict, a I'm going to South Africa next week and so I'm preparing myself with a variety of ''you must read'' books about the country.

Mathabane writes eloquently about his growing up in the midst of poverty, violence, disease, conflict, alienation, hatred, and ignorance.

This is actually a great book for anybody who wants to see the kind of impact poverty borne of racism has on a human being - how it robs people of their motivation, their potential, their integrity, their humanity. And, of course, it is also a hopeful story, in that Mathabane somehow miraculously managed to find his way out of the ghetto. He had to have had a highly developed will to do this, to face rejection by the black community, to take the risks of participating in a white culture, to face up to his father and gangs.

And his mother was a pivotal part of his story with her encouragement and stimulating early home environment a revelation: you don't need to read to your child, you can tell stories! This is an amazing story of courage. I don't mean to cavil about Mathabane, but I couldn't help notice that whenever he lost a tennis match, he always gave an excuse I had an injury, it was too windy etc. Maybe this was part of his strong will. Also, why did he bring out that business about Princeton, which was never clearly resolved, and then say he was going to Limestone College?

Kind of a strange pairing. I'm interested in what happened when he got to America. I noticed he went to four colleges on his way to a bachelor's degree. What was that about? Clearly, there is motivation to read his subsequent books to find out things like that and also to discover what happened to his mother, sister etc. I'm so glad that I read this book. It should be part of any high school reading program. Jan 19, Joanna rated it it was amazing.

This book is one of my favorites.

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Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa

Despite the South African government's creation of a virtually impenetrable border between black and white lives, this searing autobiography breaches that boundary, drawing readers into the turmoil, terror and sad stratagems for survival in a black township. Now a college graduate living in the United States, the author looks back to his childhood-at midnight police raids that sent his mother fleeing through back-alley outhouses and his father crawling to bribe the police; at the squalor and hunger of domestic life lived at the shifting margins of legality; at the absolute insecurity of a world where changing rules serve to heighten the harassment integral to control. Humanity and strength, often stunted and warped, also surprisingly grow straight up through the cracks, as in the author's own quest for education and for prowess at the white sport of tennis-and in his eloquence and pride. This site uses cookies to improve your user experience.

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Kaffir Boy: An Autobiography

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. 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.

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