Study Guide

Kaffir Boy Chapter 43

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Chapter 43

  • The rebellion continued and worsened, and only blacks considered essential were allowed in and out of Alexandra. Cut off from the Tennis Ranch, Mark begins to resent all whites, even liberal whites.
  • Mark wonders why the white people he knows aren't speaking up?
  • Many of Mark's friends spoke of leaving the country and joining Umkhonto We Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), the armed wing of the ANC, that was started by Nelson Mandela. Mark also wants to become a revolutionary.
  • He begins to talk to Ngwenya, a man in his yard from Zimbabwe whose relatives were freedom fighters there in Robert Mugabe's army, the Patriotic Front.
  • Mark tells Ngwenya that he wants to be a freedom fighter.
  • Ngwenya says he can't really see Mark killing people, since Mark loves of books and tennis. He warns Mark that if he becomes a guerrilla, he will sacrifice everything for guns.
  • But as they talk, tear gas seeps in through the windows and Ngwenya says it has been happening every night since the riots begin. He helps his wife use soaked rags to shield their children from the effects of the tear gas. Then he tells Mark that there is room for people with brains in the struggle.
  • Ngwenya urges Mark to use his talents as a writer to fight against apartheid rather than to see the gun as the only weapon he can use.
  • By October, the massive police and military force had quelled dissent. The government said Afrikaans was no longer mandatory and ordered black schools to be reopened.
  • Many of the school buildings had been demolished during the rebellion. Further, many students refused to return or had already left the country to join Umkhonto We Sizwe.
  • Many felt that there was no point in learning under Bantu Education anyway. One teacher told the students that they had provided a list of student leaders to the police to prevent a massacre of everybody. Which is better, they asked, some of you in jail or all of you dead? But the students "preferred death" (43.23).

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