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Kaffir Boy

Kaffir Boy

by Mark Mathabane

Violence Quotes Page 1

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

The pounding and kicking at the door awakened y sister, and she started screaming from under the table. After what seemed like an eternity I unlatched the door. As it swung wide open, with tremendous force, two tall black policemen in stiff brown uniforms rushed in and immediately blinded me with the glare from their flashlights. Before I knew what was happening one of them had kicked me savagely on the side, sending me crashing into a crate in the far corner. I hit the crate with such force that I nearly passed out. With stars in my eyes I grabbed the edges of the crate and tried to rise, but I couldn't; my knees had turned to Jell-O, my eyes were cloudy and my head pounded as if it were being split with an axe. AS I tried to gather my sense, another kick sent me back to the floor, flat on my face. As I went down, my jaw struck the blunt side of the blade of an axe jutting form the side of the crate. My head burned with pain. Blood began oozing form my nostrils and lips. Several of my teeth were loose. I started screaming, forgetting all about my fathers' rule, begging for forgiveness form my assailant for whatever wrong I had done. (3.25)

The Peri-Urban police use violence even on black children because under apartheid, blacks of all ages are seen as inhuman. Such a conclusion was used to justify all kinds of repugnant behavior.

Quote #2

"Shut your mouth!" she screamed. "Don't you have enough brains in that big head of yours to realize that you can't talk like that here! Not in front of him! You know what he'll do when he hears you talk like that about him? He'll shoot you dead, that's what he'll do! Now calm down and keep your mouth shut, when we get in there! He won't hurt you so long as I'm with you. Keep your mouth shut, you hear? – or you're dead." (20.69)

When Mark sees the white man who leads the nightly raids in Alexandra, he's terrified. His mother tries to shut him up by using terror and violence to control him. Violence is such a normal part of their world that it seems normal to use it to control a child.

Quote #3

My parents, thinking I was bewitched, took me to a witch doctor, who made me drink a strange brew and bled me with a razor blade, all to no avail: I continued withdrawing into myself. What made this death different from the many others I had seen previously I do not really know.

One thing I do know was that I could not understand the morbid cruelty and satanic impulses that drove people to kill others. For what? I asked myself. What is to be gained from killing a fellow-sufferer? (27.38-39)

Witnessing such an inhumane act as a vicious murder causes Mark such anguish that he isolates himself from the rest of humanity.

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