Kaffir Boy Revised Essay
Kaffir Boy is an autobiographical book written by Mark Mathabane. It is a very detailed descriptive story of a young African boy who grew up in South Africa during apartheid and managed to become a successful tennis player and leave his country for the United States. In the book the author describes the important changes in his self-esteem, his understanding of the world around him, his religious beliefs and his attitude toward his family.
Mark’s self-esteem grew tremendously during the course of the book. Being born into immense poverty, growing up with lack of food, harsh climate and surrounded by gang violence, black children of South Africa had no or very low self esteem. For example, Mark showed that even if he was starving and had mal-nutrition, he would not lower his inhibitions to prostitution for food. This shows that Mark had a powerful willpower and that he is optimistic that one day he will get some food on the table instead of offering himself to strangers for food. “I was not prepared to prostitute myself for food or money. I would rather have died than do that” (p.74).
Mark slowly built his character in these tough days of starvation and beatings, by not falling for the temptations, no matter how luxurious they may seem. Moreover, he was becoming wise by watching other young black men’s fate and witnessing them “turn into tsotsis and end up in penitentiaries and in the grave” (p. 74).
World around Mark was first hostile and unfair. When one of the boys from the neighborhood died, his mother said that he “grew up to live by the knife….and the same knife he lived by ended his life.” (p.127) However, with time, Mark not only learns how to survive that hostility, but realizes that through education and tennis he could find the way out of that world. He concentrates himself on tennis practices, gets closer with white people, regardless of the rejection from black community. By doing that he follows his dream and ends up leaving South Africa and coming to the United States.
The Good King of Bechuanaland 1819 to 1923 Khama distinguished his reign by being highly regarded as a peace-loving ruler with the desire and ability to extract technological innovations from Europeans while resisting their attempts to colonize his country. Such advancements included the building of schools, scientific cattle feeding, and the introduction of a mounted police corps which ...
Mark’s religious beliefs also went through changes with time. First Mark was “eager to meet the representatives of the Christian God” (p.56) out of curiosity. Later he witnessed an argument between his parents. Mark agreed with his mother’s statement that “Christianity might be one way” out of poverty (p. 56), because their “Christian neighbors were indeed faring better than” those adherents to tribal religions (p.57).
Later Mark observed Bible illustrations and questioned the fairness of Christianity: “why should the Devil and all the sinners be black?” (p.61).
After familiarizing himself with Bible stories, Mark’s skepticism grew deeper, because, according to the Evangelist preacher, “all black people were descendants of the cursed Ham, condemned by God to be forever servants of the white man” (p.61).
Mark’s attitude toward his family members was also changing with time. First he would fear and disapprove his father’s abusive behavior, however later he started to understand him and found empathy to him. Mark was also beginning to build a greater respect for his mother. This was happening when she started fighting to convert the family to Christianity. This meant standing up to the father which was a huge deal in Mark’s eyes because of the image he had made in his mind and the countless beatings, because of the tribal beliefs. “My mother was open-minded”, concluded Mark when she tried to embrace Christianity, hoping to find job through religious affiliation (p. 76).
His admiration to her being brave is growing, especially when, regardless of his father’s threats, she “secretly took children to the local Full Gospel Church” and baptized them (p. 77).
She continued to follow tribal rituals after the baptism, and Mark realized that she only did what she found was the best for her children. Hers was a Christianity for expediency”, he concluded (p. 77).
Where do they get this stuff Some people say that you are a sum of all of your influences. For the most part, I agree with these people. I have had many influential people in my life. I believe my friends, people I have worked with, schoolmates and even television has helped mold me into who I am today, but I think the two most influential people in my life were my parents. My mother and my father ...
In his book, Mark Mathabane demonstrates great example of forming a strong character in critical conditions: building stronger self-esteem, being aware of the dangers and finding opportunities in the world around him, forming right religious beliefs instead of blindly following his family; and finding love and compassion to his parents no matter how wrong or abusive they were to him.