Welcome to Our Hillbrow


Phaswane Mpe

Teachers and parents! Our Teacher Edition on Welcome to Our Hillbrow makes teaching easy.
Apartheid was a period of legally enforced racial segregation in South Africa that lasted from 1948 to the early 1990s. The apartheid system enforced a strict racial hierarchy, depriving non-white South Africans of civil rights while ensuring that the white minority held onto political power, economic resources, and social influence.

Apartheid Quotes in Welcome to Our Hillbrow

The Welcome to Our Hillbrow quotes below are all either spoken by Apartheid or refer to Apartheid. For each quote, you can also see the other terms and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Regret and Redemption Theme Icon
Chapter 1 Quotes

Like most Hillbrowans, Cousin took his soccer seriously. You and he had had many disagreements on the subject of support for foreign teams—especially those from elsewhere in Africa. You often accused him of being a hypocrite, because his vocal support for black non-South African teams, whenever they played against European clubs, contrasted so glaringly with his prejudice towards black foreigners the rest of the time. Cousin would always take the opportunity during these arguments to complain about the crime and grime in Hillbrow, for which he held such foreigners responsible; not just for the physical decay of the place but the moral decay.

Related Characters: Refentše , Cousin
Page Number: 17
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2  Quotes

She did not know that writing in an African language in South Africa could be such a curse. She had not anticipated that the publishers’ reviewers would brand her novel vulgar. Calling shit and genitalia by their correct names in Sepedi was apparently regarded as vulgar by these reviewers, who had for a long time been reviewing works of fiction for educational publishers, and who were determined to ensure that such works did not offend the systems they served. These systems were very inconsistent with their attitudes to education. They considered it fine, for instance, to call genitalia by their correct names in English and Afrikaans biology books—[…] yet in all other languages, they criminalized such linguistic honesty.

Related Characters: Refentše , Refentše’s Protagonist (The Young Woman)
Page Number: 56
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

She was excited by the challenge of the new position and looked forward to earning a better salary. But she soon discovered the frustrations that went with her new and prestigious position. Although she knew what good books looked like, the company kept on reminding her that good books were only those that could get a school prescription. What frustrated her so much was the extent to which publishing was in many ways out of touch with the language and events of everyday life.

Related Characters: Refentše , Refilwe, Refentše’s Protagonist (The Young Woman)
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:

Jackie thought that it would be a good idea to go straight to the administration block and get all the formalities of enrolment over and done with. Papers were produced and signed. No, Refilwe did not have to register with the Oxford police, as many Africans, including South Africans during the Apartheid days, had to do. South Africans, black and white, were very fine people these days, thanks to the release of Rolihlahla Mandela from Robben Island in 1990 and his push for the 1994 democratic elections.

Related Characters: Refilwe, Jackie
Page Number: 100
Explanation and Analysis:
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Apartheid Term Timeline in Welcome to Our Hillbrow

The timeline below shows where the term Apartheid appears in Welcome to Our Hillbrow. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Apartheid and Colonialism  Theme Icon
Prejudice and Ignorance  Theme Icon
...liked to bring up to Cousin that the brutal oppression of Black South Africans under Apartheid caused many South Africans to flee to neighboring countries. (full context)
Apartheid and Colonialism  Theme Icon
Prejudice and Ignorance  Theme Icon
...of these facts. Cousin was a police officer and even worked for the state during Apartheid, despite being Black and a South African native. Cousin also blamed immigrants for the AIDS... (full context)