Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

by Mark Mathabane
4.6 58

Hardcover(Library Binding - THIS EDITION IS INTENDED FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY)

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Overview

Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) by Mark Mathabane

A black writer describes his childhood in South Africa under apartheid and recounts how Arthur Ashe and Stan Smith helped him leave for America on a tennis scholarship.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780833502117
Publisher: Turtleback Books
Publication date: 10/01/1998
Edition description: THIS EDITION IS INTENDED FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 5.75(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.25(d)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

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Kaffir Boy 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 58 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a high school sophomore and I had to do a research project on the apartheid in South Africa. This book didn’t really help me in terms of my research, but it was a very interesting story. I really like the fact that it was a written by someone who experienced the apartheid first hand. It really went in depth on how the black Africans were treated by the white Africans. Mark Mathabane, the author of the book, shared every emotion he had and described the situations he went through very vividly. Mark tells us how he overcame the apartheid at such a young age with his siblings, and how this experienced changed him. He also talks about his education and he mentions how he was the best in his class. He wanted to become the first doctor in his family. He talks about very important events in his life and how close he was to his family. I really enjoyed this book because I got to know how it really was during the apartheid and how it felt. I recommend this book to everyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Mark Mthabane, author of 'Kaffir Boy', gives his story of how he struggled and overcame the `white mans¿ prejudice and oppression in his first eighteen years during apartheid South Africa. Mthabane experiences first hand the harsh conditions and prejudicial laws of apartheid, as he grows up with his family in the poverty stricken township of Alexandria. Mthabane describes how as a boy he strived to distance himself from the cruel streets of Africa¿s most dangerous ghetto. His initiation into a young black man¿s society was surviving nightly police raids and destructive gang wars. Mthabane suffered through starvation, fought to live in a world were death and murder was an accepted way of life and unknowingly fought against a future of child prostitution. As a youth man he challenged the white man¿s dominancy over the black population, his rightful opposition against the way black people were treated was often the cause of much of his abuse and suffering. As a way of overcoming his underprivileged lifestyle Mthabane turned his hunger for food into hunger for knowledge, and hope that he could one day work in the white man¿s world as an equal. His mother was his inspiration she pushed herself to the edge of death, as any true mother would, to give her son the opportunity and education to fulfill his dream. He writes about how life gave him an opportunity to grow in the form of tennis. Tennis became his salvation as he made white friends who saw apartheid for what it really was. He experienced the kindness in white people as they helped him achieve his dream, paid for his schooling and showed him how to succeed in a world that saw black people as slaves and underclassmen. He later on was inspired by Arthur Ashe, a famous black tennis player, who strengthened his hopes and led him into excelling at every aspect of his life. He over passed the idea that a black man must one day work for the white man and strove to make himself seen as an equal in the white man¿s world. He would not be discriminated against, he would not become a slave of apartheid, he wanted freedom and his increasing skill in tennis was his path to equality. The message of this book is that anyone with the determination to survive and thrive can, for among the oppressed of Africans poverty Mark Mthabane rose above his likely future to live a fulfilling life and help bring inspiration to other hopeless people. The book was very powerful and inspiring, written by an author who has been through hardships most can not even imagine. This book really opened my eyes to the hate of the African people and the true extent of their discrimination. Writing from his heart, Mthabane opens the eyes of the world to the treatment of his people. I recommend this book to those who need inspiration or feel that something in their life is missing. Mthabane proved that anyone can rise through grief and poverty keeping their dignity and strength as they build their path to freedom.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kaffir Boy is a very touching story about the author, Mark Mathabane, who grew up in the ghettos of South Africa. Him and his family lived in deep poverty in a place called Alexandra. Alexandra is an awful living situation with tiny shacks, starving people, and inhuman conditions. Mark Mathabane went through it all from the gangs, to excelling in school. His mom was always encouraging him, while his father would be constantly belittling him. White people ruled everything and police were constantly raiding the neighborhoods. Mark worked extremely hard towards his education and was always finishing in the top one percent of his classes. By him excelling, it gave him hope to one day get him and his family out of poverty. All his mother wanted for him and his many siblings, was to get out of poverty so they didn’t have to live such cruel lives.  This book really puts in perspective how thankful we should be for all that we have. These people living in Alexandra have slim to nothing at all, but they still manage to keep on with their lives. Many don’t realize the hardships that black people went through during these times. It was nearly impossible for parents to find jobs, which made them incapable of providing for their families. They barely had roofs over their heads, their living conditions were beyond unsanitary. Even the poorest children here in the United States live better then the children in Alexandra. Children and young adults have opportunities to become all that they want to be, and for that we should be thankful.  I really enjoyed the writing style of the author. The figurative language he used made the book much more enjoyable to read. The story was so harsh that it was hard to put down the book. The only dislike of the book that I have is how awful these peoples lives were. It really made me upset that there was a point where white people treated black people as such peasants. It killed me that his mother kept on bringing people into the world to live such miserable lives. I can say this is my favorite book I’ve read so far. It really was an eye opener.  If you want to read a book that can constantly engage you, Kaffir Boy is the book to read. Not only are you reading an incredible story, but you learn a lot. It makes you realise if the people in Kaffir Boy can be grateful for some of the little things they have, we can be thankful for much more. It leaves you wondering how people lived in such a world where blacks were so degraded and had little to no hope at all for their futures. Boys and girls my age would already have to be working and providing for their families. None of them had freedom to do what they loved and enjoy their lives. This book is one I would highly recommend anyone to read.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mark Mathabane's "Kaffir Boy" is a moving story of his life growing up in apartheid slums of South Africa and the cruel reality he faced to reach the freedom he badly desired. He struggles with the reality of police raids, brutal gang fights, extreme poverty, and starvation. I loved the detail used to describe his life and while I have not struggled nearly as much as Mathabane, I felt that I was experiencing his pain and success throughout his book. Although, there were a few times the descriptions were very graphic which might not appeal to everyone or might be too much for high school curriculum. However, “Kaffir Boy” made me realize the harsh conditions that people face in history and even today and I believe many people could benefit from reading his story. I also liked how he was able to immerse the reader in the South African culture and language without overdoing it and having lengthy explanations. Mathabane brilliantly wrote his story in a way that was an engaging eye-opener to apartheid life and how his determination and hope can lead to a better life while inspiring his people to rise up. He is able to teach others that you can overcome any challenge, regardless or your race or situation. The only thing I wish Mathabane included was insight to how his family is doing. At the end of the book I was glad he had finally achieved his dreams, but it was curious about the rest of his family still in South Africa. It would be interesting to see this autobiography as a movie because I don’t think it would be able to capture as much depth and meaning, but I am sure that a film could still be impactful. Overall, I would rate this book an eight out ten.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend Kaffir Boy: The Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa by Mark Mathabane. Never before have I read a book and so fully felt immersed in the authors situation. The descriptions were so vivid, that by the end of the book I pretty much felt every emotion and felt every action the author went through. And it was a shocking picture, giving me a glimpse at something I've never really known or cared enough to know about, apartheid in South Africa. The book begins when the author is a little child, and experiencing the terrors and humiliations of the frequent raids on his shanty town looking for people without the proper "papers" to live there. The total fear and the degrading nature of these appearances were vividly clear, and the only thing you as a reader could do was turn the next page as his father was beaten and stripped in front of his children, then taken to prison to come back months or years later. As he grows older, the author tries to find work and earn something for his family, and even gets involved with the local gang that is notorious for killing people. But thankfully his mom had a plan, and she and the author go through a humiliating and derogatory process to get the papers in order for the author to attend school, the first in his family to do so. Things go up from there. The author excels in school, finds a love for a sport in tennis, and as he's noticed moves up and makes friends untill he finally gets a tennis scholarship to attend a university in America, which is something very few of his people have ever done, and it might even be a first. Overall, Kaffir Boy: The Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa is a powerful, moving tale about one persons childhood and early life, and what he went through and overcame to get where he is today.
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Mark Mathbane's novel reveals a truly harrowing depiction of what life was like in apartheid era South Africa. His childhood memories of growing up in the township of Alexandra are very insightful. The novel provides a detailed account of a world that would otherwise have been lost over the course of time. I also enjoyed Mark Poynter's novel Middleburg, which examines apartheid from the perspective a white minority. While both books examine a similar theme, Middleburg is more entertaining and far more enjoyable to read.
javajulie More than 1 year ago
While I've read about Apartheid, it was amazing and sobering to hear it from someone who lived it. I have a new appreciation for everything I have. The author has a way of writing in a way that celebrates the resilience of children, inspires hope for the future but without being sappy or manipulative. A great read, I highly recommend. I look forward to the sequel.
Respectthepen More than 1 year ago
At first, I thought this was going to be a boring autobiography about how horrible it is in apartheid South Africa. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that not only was it an eye-opening account of his life with apartheid, but it was also an inspiration. It seems like a cliche, but Mark Mathabane's story shows that you can reach any goal as long as you have the dedication and persistance to do it. You will never regret having read this book and will be thinking about it for a long time after you have read the last word.
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Kaffir Boy was an excellent book. Mark Mathabane is a very gifted writer and it is great that he was able to come to America and spread awareness about apartheid South America. Kaffir Boy is moving beyond belief. I could feel his fear when the police bardged into the shack where Mark lived in Alexandra. I could almost feel his pain from hunger and I sympathized with him when his father was taken away for not having his pass in order. Another impressive feature of this Kaffir Boy is the vivid details that Mark uses to explain the tragic events in his life. He describes his run-down shack where his family lived. He recalls the horrors of the random police raids. I was very much impressed with Kaffir Boy's portrayal of Mark's successes and failures. Mark Mathabane comepletely fulfills his purpose. He expresses at the end of the book how he feels compelled to record the everyday tragedies in apartheid South America to raise awareness for the black people still living under extreme racial discrimination. He could not have done a better job. Mark leaves the reader feeling obligated to help the people under racial discrimination. Anyone who reads this book will understand the struggles of people living in apartheid South America and will have broadened their knowledge of the world. I reccomend this book not only as a tool for learning about the history of South America, but also as an inspiring story of a child's struggle to survive and thrive in a world where he is viewed by many as comepletely worthless.
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