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92 Reviews
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
Kaffir Boy: An Autobiography--The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa is a remarkable book. About Mark Mathabane. It is an honest and open story of his life in Apartheid South Africa. In this book, the reader is taken into a journey though his life in his recount. The book is very engaging , the story flows and the setting is so real...
Published 5 months ago by Peter Jones

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3.0 out of 5 stars was he a hero, or did he leave his fmaily behind
I had to read kaffir boy for school. after reading the back i was very intriged. i liked the beginning. the second section was good and the last disappointed me. at first i thought of him as a deprived boy who wanted a better life. then when he started to befriend whites and used them to his advantage i no longer liked him. the book oopened my eyes to apartheid. he did i...
Published on Feb. 13 2002


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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, Feb. 3 2014
By 
Peter Jones (Springfield, IL) - See all my reviews
Kaffir Boy: An Autobiography--The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa is a remarkable book. About Mark Mathabane. It is an honest and open story of his life in Apartheid South Africa. In this book, the reader is taken into a journey though his life in his recount. The book is very engaging , the story flows and the setting is so real. Though certain aspects of Mark's life are shocking, they only help to give you a better understanding of the environment in which he lived and make Mark Mathabane human.. This deep and moving story is not only easy to read, it is also full of things to learn about.It ranks with Disciples of Fortune, Cry, the Beloved Country, Triple Agent, Double Cross, In the Country of Men, as books on Africa with a depth that I enjoyed and respected.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Lesson For America On What NOT To Go Back to, June 15 2004
I have come a to rare realization. I think back to my years at Asbury Park High School and how there was little to no educated reading of books by or of black people, which I think is strange now as Asbury Park was a mostly black town. It wasn't until I eventually got to a black university that I learned more and more of my heritage, black history and what could become a black future.
Oh, as good as they were, I read "The Crucible," "The Pearl," "Of Mice and Men," etc. in Asbury Park, but not until Norfolk State U. did I even know "Kaffir Boy" existed. And what a travesty! I know all about white history and such. Someone asked me the other day how I even heard of a group called "Frankie Goes To Hollywood." Because when I was growing up in the 80's, everything on MTV was white. I had never met a Chinese person except the goof in high school who got voted "Class Clown." My favorite television show was "Tales of the Gold Monkey," a show with no black characters. A great deal of black life, especially literature, is lost on today's youth because it was lost on yesterday's youth.
Why were we spared the turmoil of Mark Mathabane's childhood? His oppression by evil soldiers who shared the darkness of his skin tone, as they forced him to practically dance in feces? His needs, yearns for a better life studying tennis at the tutledge of a kindly white sponsor? His fright at unexpected and often raids on his poor village by storm troopers ripe with power and arrogance yet bereft of dignity and compassion? Why didn't anyone tell me of this book when I was 15? Because if we're aware of the evils of the world when we are young, there will be unlimited resources for us to change it in the future.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An example for all of us., May 24 2004
By 
Fabio Rincon (Long beach, CA USA) - See all my reviews
I could not believe such story could exist, I was shocked every moment I read this book and what is even more intense is that its his own autobiography. The hardships this man had to endure in order to make it into the land we live on, the land we sometimes take for granted. This is a true example of hard work overcoming all obstacles, I would really recommend this book to all young teenagers, it is in a way inspirational for many of us that help us keep going.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Staying Strong, May 5 2004
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This book is an amzaing book.Showed the courge and strenth of a young man that was determined to make it throught the hell like life style of being a black person in South Africa. I highly recomend it to everyone.
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5.0 out of 5 stars There is always HOPE, May 4 2004
By 
Kenn Patrick Maceren (Harbor City, CA, USA) - See all my reviews
The autobiography "Kaffir Boy" by Mark Mathabane is a very engrossing and vivid novel. Mark Mathabane encountered hardships in his life that most of the people in this world cannot even imagine. Apartheid laws in South Africa affected the lives of all the black families in both their public and private lives. Mark Mathabane grew up in society where apartheid was in total effect. The gruesome experiences that Mathabane faced were sometimes too much to bear. However, with the support of his loving mother and grandmother, Mathabane succeeded in his education by being the top in his class. Aware of the unjust laws of apartheid, Mark Mathabane was determined to somehow make a change in the community he lives in. His passion for tennis was what helped him change his life. Even with all the obstacles in his life, Mathabane hopes to be able to study in America with a tennis scholarship. With hard work and perseverance his dreams came true eventually.
"Kaffir Boy" is a very inspiring novel to everyone that is ambitious and hopeful. I learned so much through reading Mark Mathabane's autobiography. There is always hope and there is nothing impossible in this world, as long as we never give up in what we want to succeed in. With no doubt in mind, this novel is outstanding and worth it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars FIGHT UNTIL YOU SUCCEED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, May 1 2004
By 
elizabeth (HARBOR CITY, CA USA MAY 1, 2004) - See all my reviews
I recently read "Kaffir Boy" by Mark Mathabane, a true interesting autobiography story base of the brutal horror laws of Apartheid in South Africa and about Mr. Mathabane struggles and enthusiasm to overcome his dream, to be someone in life. I was sock, when I was reading this book for all the unjust laws that were apply to black Africans. Mr. Mathabane shows us the atrocities he lived through his childhood and his family in Alexandra, South Africa. First of all, he show us how non-whites were threaded like un-human beings, discriminated by whites, poverty among black community, lock of freedom, starvation, living in small shakes, and not having equal rights. I was so unaware of the hardships that black South Africa was living. I admired Mr. Mathabane for his encouragement of seeking a better life. Although he was living difficult circumstances with his family and having endless struggles to accomplish his goal, he was able to accomplish his dream such as, finishing school with a high gpa and obtaining a scholarship to study tennis in America and have freedom. Also, for never being led by bad influence, to always having his mind in continuing progressing in life. This incredibly interesting book had open my eyes to a new world that I had never knew it existed. He changes my point of view of never give up my dreams, always fight to succeed. This book really got into me, I couldn't put the book down once I was reading it and I did not even notice I was already reading the last page. I really recommend this book to all people that want to have knowledge of an important history of South Africa. If you want to know an incredible person that did everything to accomplish his goal, you should read this incredible book. I'm sure you'll like it!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Kaffir Boy Book Review, March 17 2004
he book "Kaffir Boy" not only captures the real life hardships that occurred in South Africa under the Apartide, but it is also a great story of success and avercoming all adversity. The Story is told from the perspective of Mark Mathabane when he is a young boy all the way up until he is a fully grown man. Mark Mathabane in his autobiography tells the story of what it is like to overcome true poverty in this story which at many times is sad and depressing, while at other times can make one laugh and smile. While reading this book one will go through a roller coaster of emotions, which will make you never weant to put down this book.
The main reason I liked this book was because of the perspective it was told in, which is of course the first person perspective. What this does for the book is it make it very belivable, because you know that everything that happened in the book is true and it wasn't just though up by some author who never experienced what South Africa was really like. And the other this this does for the book is it maked is so much more detailed. Mark Mathabane make is so that the readon knows almost every detail so you can better understand the situation that is occuring in the novel. I belive the only bad thing about this book would be that some of the scenes in the book seemed like they were un-needed. One example of this would be the part of the book where a raping occures, and there are many other scenes like this in the book. But what I think Mark Mathabane is trying to do is just to help the reader better understand the situation he was in. In closing I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is trying to learn about South Africa uner the Apartide because the book gives you a really great understanding of what it was really like.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Kaffir Boy Review, March 14 2004
Kaffir Boy is set in South Africa during apartheid in the 1960's; it is an autobiography of the life of Mark Mathabane who tells the ups and downs of his life. The story begins with a bang as the SAP (South African Police) journey uninvited into Mark's house looking for his parents to check his passport. This happens many times throughout the book and Mark begins to adapt it as a well of everyday life. Mark also encounters poverty when his father is arrested for not having his passport in order. His family results to near starvation for months until his grandmother is able to help them get back on their feet until Mark's father returns from prison. Mark's next step lands him in school, although his father is completely bent against him going his mother is able to provide for his education. Mark ends up being at the top of his class and gets a scholarship to a college. He begins to pick up tennis and plays with more white players around the world; he begins to idolize Arthur Ashe and watches one of his matches. Mark ends up being a class act tennis player and making friends with several white people. At the end of the book Mark changes as a person, he didn't like whites at the beginning but learned that all whites were not bad and he also felt like he had completed all his goals coming out of a ghetto.
The reason I give the book 4 of 5 stars is really the length and content of the book. I feel as though more information then necessary was given sometimes. I see where Mark was coming from though, trying to give the raw details of the ghetto so readers from a suburban neighborhood would understand what it was like in the 1960's but I also feel like some of the mentioned material was much too explicit. Mark was able to catch my attention though and no other book before has been able to do that, it is a great autobiography to say the least. I recommend it to readers 16 years old and above and anybody with a lot of free time on their hands.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic, Jan. 2 2004
This is apartheid through the lucid eyes of a young, intelligent black boy. It seems more authentic perhaps because it is not seen through white lens, because although many white South Africans may have detested apartheid, they could not have felt it like the black South Africans did.
This book makes one wonder why movies like CRY FREEDOM lionized a white South African while over-looking the thousands of everyday heroes in the black community. People who lived from day to day under a system that saw them as sub-human, as unworthy of simple common decency.
The prose is fluid and immediate and the story is, thankfully, full of a pure, beautiful human anger and a keen desire to truthfully reflect a devastated people and community. Mathabane does not shy away, either, from indicting the black elite in addition to the white oppressors.
This book is an example of The System overcoming The Person. Sometimes it is impossible for that 'pulling yourself up by your bootstraps' idea to work because in many ways, we can excel largely only as much as the system under which we live allows us to. Also, a system can, by depriving people of dignity, turn them, like Mathabane's father and thousands of other black men, into the Living Dead.
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4.0 out of 5 stars PERSERVERANCE, Sept. 29 2003
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I found the book to be well written and incredibly interesting. Being a black person myself, though i haven't been through intense racism like Mark Mathabane, I found the book extremely descriptive of the effects "white supremacy" has on the lives of blacks. The lack of black teenagers having the passion to go to college and get involved in society in some successful way is just one of the many effects. I also loved reading about the perseverance Mark had throughtout his life such as dealing with his father's ignorance, being punished school for lack of money to pay for supplies and being a black tennis player just to name a few. Mark's attitude of never giving up, which was taught to him by his mother, is exactly how i feel about my own personal life; the struggle makes a person stronger and wiser. I would recommend that a person who may consider reading this book to be prepared to bread graphic the details of a life of a black person in South America.
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