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by Mark Mathabane
Kaffir Boy Chapter 11 Summary
Although Mama and Papa disagreed about many things, they agreed on the power of witchcraft. Both believed that their problems stemmed from a jealous neighbor who was using the power of witchcraft to prevent Mama from getting a job. One day, they run into a police trap. Mama's pass isn't in order, and she has no money to bribe the policeman, so they haul her away in the police van. Papa borrows money from the neighbors and Mama is home the next day. She's received a warning, though: the next time she's caught without a pass in order, she will be deported back to the tribal homelands. And they'll deport Papa, too. So they begin living a life of hiding from the police. Mama explains that they don't want to live that way, but their only other choice is for Mama to take the children and return to the homelands while Papa stays in the city and works. In order to be together, they must live an illegal life, hiding from the police. Mama visits witch doctors to try to get help but it doesn't work. Then some missionaries with the Full Gospel Apostles of God come one day. When they assure Mama that God can help her find work, she says she will begin going to church. But Papa forbids her. Mama says that she can be a Christian and still participate in Papa's religion. Mark agrees with Papa, that the two religions can't live side by side. But Mama begins to take the children to church and secretly has them baptized. Yet her beliefs in traditional religion continued, just as strong as ever. Mark calls her Christianity a practical one.
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