Study Guide

Kaffir Boy Chapter 54

By Mark Mathabane

Chapter 54

  • On September 16, 1978, Mark's family watches Mark pack his bags. He is ready to go, and leaves for the United States.
  • He doesn't know as he packs that he is the first black boy to leave South Africa on a tennis scholarship.
  • He looks at his family, saddened by the pain they feel at his departure.
  • It is time to say goodbye. Mark kisses Mama and she cries while he comforts her that he'll only be gone for four years. No, she says, let me cry. These are tears of joy.
  • He kisses George, then each of his sisters. Papa comes out from the bedroom and stands there stiffly as Mark kisses him goodbye. He looks like he can't believe Mark is leaving. Mark kisses him again and hugs him, and Papa starts to cry as he realizes that Mark still loves him despite everything.
  • "Take care of yourself, son," he says (54.11) and asks him to write to them.
  • Mama tells him to remember, no matter where he goes, to believe in himself and to have hope. Trust in God and he'll help you.
  • As he leaves, Mark is upset by what life holds for his family who must remain in South Africa. He thinks about all that they have gone through together. He hopes his adventure will help his family and ultimately all of black South Africa.
  • By going to America, he knows he has a special duty to succeed, and to show the world that black South Africans can do something. But he also knows that no matter how far he goes, he'll never really leave South Africa.
  • The man down the street knocks on the door. He had offered to take Mark to the airport, saying that he didn't want to be paid because it was a great honor to do this.
  • The car is too small to fit Mark's family so he says his goodbyes.
  • He wonders if America is worth leaving his family but something tells him to go ahead, and don't look back.
  • He kisses his sisters again. He tells his brother to forgive Papa, to understand that it's his deep pain that makes him behave the way he does.
  • His sister starts to cry and Mama comforts her, saying that Mark will be back soon.
  • As he drives away, Mark thinks about telling the driver to turn back. But he doesn't. He moves forward, and towards his future in America.

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