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Quotes

Quote #1

"Peri-Urban!" I gasped and stiffened at the name of the dreaded Alexandra Police Squad. To me nothing, short of a white man, was more terrifying; not even a bogeyman. (2.25)

Mark's life is dominated by two fears: white men and policemen.

Quote #2

"Shut up, you fool!" I yelled at my brother, but he did not quiet. I then uttered the phrase, "There's a white man outside," which to small black children had the same effect as "There's a bogeyman outside," but still he would not stop. (3.48)

Mark uses fear to try to get his brother to be quiet so they can be safe. Just as fear doesn't work to change Mark's behavior, it doesn't work to change George's either.

Quote #3

Following that brutal encounter I had with them, the Peri-Urban police became a tormenting presence in my life. Whereas in the past I had been more or less conscious of their presence in black life – as they stopped people in the streets and demanded passes, as they cashed after tsotsis and other hoodlums, as they raided shebeens in search of illicit liquor, and as they launched an occasional pass raid into the neighbourhood – they now moved permanently into my consciousness. Scarcely a week passed without the neighbourhood being invaded by waves of black and white policemen.

They always came unannounced, at any time of day or night, and gradually I came to accept, and to dread, their presence as a way of life. They haunted me in real life and in my dreams, to the extent that I would often wake up screaming in the middle of the night, claiming that the police were after me with dogs and flashlights, trying to shoot me down….So, barely six years old, I was called upon to deal with constant terror. (4.1-2).

Because the police use brutality, their appearance alone creates nightmares.

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