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Themes

The systematic oppression that blacks experience under apartheid South Africa causes many of them to hate all whites. Mark starts out from this position as well, frustrated with the way he's treated. But his anger and hate dissipate as he meets whites who treat him as a friend and an equal. Ultimately, Mark is able to leave the destructive emotion behind him. His family and friends are not always so lucky. The hatred, rage, and anger that many blacks feel fuels the violence that dominates township life.

Questions About Hate

  1. What causes blacks in Kaffir Boy to hate? Why do the whites apparently hate the blacks?
  2. What role does self-hatred play in Kaffir Boy?
  3. Does Kaffir Boy offer solutions to the problem of racially motivated anger and hatred? If yes, what are they?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Although Papa directs his hatred externally towards the whites that demean him, his self-hatred causes him to punish his family unfairly.

Mark experiences hatred for what whites have done to him and other blacks in South Africa, but he is able to overcome his anger and turn into a positive determination to succeed.

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