Sarah's Stars

Mark Mathabane. Kaffir Boy
Free Press $22.50 ISBN 0-684-84828-7 354 pg.
Reviewed by Emma, Age 15

The white man of South Africa certainly does not know me. He certainly does not know the conditions under which I was born and had to live for eighteen years. So my 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 a “Kaffir boy.”

Kaffir Boy is the wrenching true story of life in apartheid South Africa, told through the honest and perceptive eyes of a young boy.  As the boy grows older, and his eyes film with de-sensitivity and hopelessness, we are continually exposed to the dark realities of human corruption and ignorance through the vile tragedy that is his everyday…

Mark Mathabane lived in South Africa from 1960 to 1978. In that time he endured every unimaginable horror that he has described in this book, as did infinite other boys, girls, women and men. He and his sister, Miriam Mathabane, have collaborated on a companion memoir to Mark’s autobiography entitled Miriam’s Song.

This book is genuine, mortal, and terrifying. It conveys with astonishing purity and depth the confusions, pressures, and passion of adolescence, while educating its audience on the unspeakables of life under apartheid: racism, violence, poverty, and desperation. Through heartbreaking detail and smooth dialogue, Mark Mathabane brings to life a story of death, will, and unfathomable cruelty. Kaffir Boy is as cerebral as it is surreal. I recommend Kaffir Boy to anyone age 15 and up.

This reviewer will let you judge this non-fiction story for yourself, and states this is a must read!


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