Kaffir Boy Analysis

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Growing up in America, we think nothing of having food in our stomach, a roof over our head, and clothes on our body. Most of us don’t bother to think about everyday life in third world countries, such as South Africa. Growing up in South Africa, as Mark Mathabane describes in Kaffir Boy, is much harsher than growing up in America. Mark Mathabane is both the author and narrator of Kaffir Boy. He grows up facing the everyday struggles that apartheid brings. Apartheid is a social system in South Africa in which black people did not have the same political and economic rights as white people. Mark’s constant struggle with the law, opportunities available, and the permanent scar left from apartheid, forced him to mature at a young age, and eventually…show more content…
However, living as a black in South Africa during apartheid, your opportunities are limited. Education was not valued greatly in South Africa. “They, like myself, had grown up in an environment where the value of an education was never emphasized, where the first thing a child learned was not how to read and write and spell, but how to fight and steal and rebel; where the money to send children to school was grossly lacking, for survival was first priority...” (Mathabane, 123). Upon entry into school, Mark broke the typical stereotype, he went on to be top in his class, and he was even awarded the simba quix scholarship due to of his academic excellence throughout his 3 years of secondary school. Along the way, Mark fell in love with a white sport, Tennis. (Mathabane, preface x). Due to apartheid, Mark was banned from playing in many tournaments, and at many courts. “Several countries had made it a policy to refuse to play against South African teams in the Davis Cup and the Federation cup semicolon others had even gone to the extent of bearing white South African players from tournaments held on their soil.” (Mathabane, 299). This affected his life greatly, and it proved to be an immensive dilemma. As usual, he overcame these obstacles and did what he loved, playing whenever he had a chance. His…show more content…
The consequences of poverty, racism and violence have resulted in psychological disorders, and a generation of maladjusted children may be the result.” (Hickinson, 1). Even today, South Africa is not where it should be. It was trapped under apartheid, and was intentionally underdeveloped. In Kaffir Boy, Mark experiences extreme exclusion from whites, which causes a feeling of separation. He describes “the white man” of not knowing him, and not knowing the conditions he had to face. He says his story is intended to “show him with words a world he would otherwise not see because of a sign and a conscience racked with guilt and to make him feel what I felt when he contemptuously called me ‘Kaffir Boy.’” (Mathabane, 3). The conditions he had to live with for eighteen years are described as cruel and disturbing. These cruel and disturbing conditions made life unbearable, so unbearable that Mark questioned if a life so rough was worth living. He tried to commit suicide because he is so miserable and he wonders if it is worth it. Imagine a feeling of separation so strong that you didn’t want to live life anymore; that was how Mark felt,
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