Kaffir Boy

Kaffir Boy

by

Mark Mathabane

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Kaffir Boy: Chapter 47 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Mathabane’s friendship with Andre deepens. Andre’s four years in America showed him how awful apartheid truly is, and Mathabane feels hopeful that if Andre could change, perhaps other white people can too. When Mathabane struggles to find work—white people don’t want him for menial labor now that he is educated beyond what they’re comfortable with—Andre gives Mathabane’s family money and clothes to help them get by. Mathabane’s tennis improves from playing against Andre as well, and he wins his second solo tennis championship.
The fact that white people don’t want to hire a well-educated black man is revealing, suggesting that they know that black people with education will threaten the awful systems they have built. This furthers suggests white people’s exploitation of black people depends heavily on black people remaining ignorant, unable to organize or tell the rest of the world how they truly suffer.
Themes
Apartheid’s Structural Oppression Theme Icon
Personal Prejudice Theme Icon
Tribal Identity vs. Modern Education Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Mathabane continues to score well in his exams and receives a well-paying sales job offer from a food company, which now pays its black managers the same as its white managers. His family members want him to take the job, and he is tempted to, but deep in his heart Mathabane knows that success is not the same as freedom and he longs to experience a society like America where he can be a truly equal person.
The fact that a food company enacts a non-discrimination policy suggests that even in white South Africa, things are beginning to change, and some white businesses are beginning to challenge apartheid. Even so, Mathabane’s reticence suggests that wealthy or not, he will never be free until he is recognized as a full human being, equal to any other.
Themes
Apartheid’s Structural Oppression Theme Icon
Tribal Identity vs. Modern Education Theme Icon