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Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth’s Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa | [Mark Mathabane]

Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth’s Coming of Age 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. Like every other child born in the hopelessness of apartheid, he learned to measure his life in days, not years. 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.
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Publisher's Summary

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. Like every other child born in the hopelessness of apartheid, he learned to measure his life in days, not years. 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.

Mark Mathabane was born and raised in the ghetto of Alexandra in South Africa. He is the author of Kaffir Boy, Kaffir Boy in America, Love in Black and White, African Women: Three Generations, Miriam’s Song, and The Proud Liberal. He lectures at schools and colleges nationwide on race relations, education, and our common humanity. He lives with his family in Portland, Oregon.

©1986 Mark Mathabane (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“Like…Claude Brown’s Manchild in the Promised Land.… In every way as important and exciting.” (Washington Post)

“This is a rare look inside the festering adobe shanties of Alexandra, one of South Africa’s notorious black townships. Rare because it comes…from the heart of a passionate young African who grew up there.” (Chicago Tribune)

“In this powerful account of growing up black in South Africa, a young writer makes us feel intensely the horrors of apartheid.” (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (40 )
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4.3 (31 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Allester 07-03-15
    Allester 07-03-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
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    Story
    "Truly an underdog story"

    Allester T

    This book takes you through the full gamut of emotions, But, I couldn't put it down. 1960's and 70's South African life as a black... My goodness

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marcus A. Sasiadek Valley Forge, PA 05-14-15
    Marcus A. Sasiadek Valley Forge, PA 05-14-15 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What a life!"

    Read this after doing a vacation tour group in South Africa. This book really makes you feel like you live in South Africa in the 70's. One of the best books ever.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia Brisbane, Australia 11-12-12
    Cynthia Brisbane, Australia 11-12-12
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    "Enlightening"
    What did you love best about Kaffir Boy?

    The story of family's that live in South Africa.


    What did you like best about this story?

    How he got out of Alexandra. South Africa


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This was a sad but a great book that made me feel like things can happen to anyone. Just have to keep on trying to improving our lives.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Leonora Montreal, QC, Canada 03-24-13
    Leonora Montreal, QC, Canada 03-24-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Misses the mark"
    Would you try another book from Mark Mathabane and/or Mark Mathabane?

    No


    Would you ever listen to anything by Mark Mathabane again?

    No


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The book gives a terrifying portrayal of life for the blacks of South Africa under Apartheid that has rarely been exposed by the media.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Miss Patricia Morris
    6/16/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "One of the most inspirational books ever, I was gripped to the very end,"

    Mark, by reading his own story, gives this book so much passion and authenticity. A great insight into life during the apartheid era! My heart broke for him and his whole family, and for all those who had their freedom and humanity stripped from them, both then and now. Thank you Mark x

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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