Study Guide

Kaffir Boy Chapter 5

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Chapter 5

  • After their shack collapses, the Mathabane family moves to another, even worse, shack.
  • Here, Mama weans George by smearing hot pepper on her breasts. The family celebrates with friends, killing and roasting a white chicken and brewing beer.
  • Papa begins to teach George traditional ways of life.
  • Papa, a Venda, believed strongly that one day the whites would disappear from South Africa and they would return to their old way of living. So even though the family lived a thoroughly modern life, he ruled them through tribal law, insisting that they follow the rituals.
  • Though Mark participated, it was because he feared his father. He didn't believe the rituals worked.
  • One day, he deliberately broke one of the laws – he spoke while eating. Papa whips him viciously.
  • The next day, Mark tells Mama that he hates Papa and will kill him someday.
  • Mama tells him to shut up, and adds that he will grow up to be just like his father someday.
  • Mark declares that he won't be like his dad. He insists that Papa should stop doing his rituals, because they don't live with the tribes in the rural areas.
  • Mama tells him to have patience. Someday, he will understand the importance of his heritage and of keeping the rituals alive.
  • But Mark continues to hate it. Outside of the home, Mark begins to speak more than just Venda –he speaks Zulu, Sotho, and Tsonga. But then Papa hears about it. After telling Mark he should only speak Venda, he beats him again.

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