Study Guide

Papa in Kaffir Boy


Papa is the polar opposite of Mark, and in many ways these two characters can be considered foils of each other. Papa is committed to tradition and tribal ways of life. Although he resents apartheid, he has no clue how to fight it. Beaten by the system, he not only hates himself, the system, and whites, but he also learns how to hate his family. The more problems he encounters, the more violent and drunken he becomes. But despite his toxic behavior, he does love his children, and takes pride in Mark's accomplishments. He's sad when Mark leaves for the U.S., and Mark realizes that his father really does love him after all.