by Mark Mathabane
Kaffir Boy Theme of Religion
Christianity is portrayed both negatively and positively in this Kaffir Boy. Mark's initial reaction to Christianity is to see it as a tool of apartheid, as the "opiate for the masses," to quote Karl Marx. Mark's mother's conversion to Christianity is "expedient" – she sees that many Christians have good jobs and she wants the material benefits that seem to occur with conversion to the religion. Ultimately, though, she finds God. It isn't until her conversion is real that things begin to look up for her, and Mark begins to see the usefulness of religion. Mark ultimately sees his mother become a kinder person, willing to help others, and find a decent job herself. Though he never fully accepts religion's role in his life, Mark does begin to attend church, pray, to believe that God may be watching out for him.
Questions About Religion
- What is Mark's first perception of Christianity? Why does he react negatively to it?
- What are Mama's initial reasons for becoming a Christian? Are these legitimate reasons to convert to a religion? Why or why not?
- How and when does Mark attitude change towards Christianity?
Chew on This
Although Mark's mother initially converts to Christianity for the supposed material benefits such a conversion is believed to bring, she ultimately finds peace and solace in her relationship with God, causing Mark to support her faith.