Kaffir Boy

Kaffir Boy is the story of a young South African tennis player living under the restrictions of apartheid. He ends up going the self-preservation route instead of rebelling against the system. Do you think this was a good decision? Shmoop amongst yourselves.

American LiteratureAll American Literature
AuthorMathabane - Mark Mathabane
LanguageEnglish Language
LiteratureAmerican Literature
ThemesFamily
Fear
Hate
Identity
Race
Religion
Suffering
Tradition and Customs
Violence

Transcript

00:22

. . .but there were a few roadblocks along the way.

00:26

Instead of banding with other black athletes. . .

00:28

. . .and boycotting events to protest the inclusion of blacks just in the interest of

00:33

making white owners seem progressive. . .

00:34

. . .he decided to play on. . .

00:37

. . .which only got him kicked out of the black tennis association for life.

00:41

So, if there’s strength in numbers. . .

00:43

. . .and it’s easier to follow the crowd. . .

00:45

. . .why did Mark decide to keep playing? Maybe he thought he could lead the way. . .

00:50

. . .kind of like a South African Jackie Robinson.

00:53

He might have thought his connections. . .

00:54

. . .and talent. . .

00:55

. . .would be enough to move the cause along for everyone.

00:59

If he could prove how good he was, then maybe it would pave the way for others to follow

01:03

in his footsteps… But maybe selflessness had nothing to do with

01:07

it. Maybe Mark knew this was his shot. . .

01:10

. . .and knew he had to look out for his own best interests. . .

01:14

. . .whatever the cost. You can’t blame the guy for wanting to get

01:17

out of a horrible situation. . .

01:19

. . .even if it meant leaving others in the dust.

01:22

And getting that scholarship in the U.S. had to be a powerful motivator.

01:26

But let’s remember that things were pretty tense in South Africa.

01:30

Maybe Mark just didn’t want to get caught up in a “black against white” fight.

01:36

Could be he thought that holding a grudge would only slow him down. . .

01:39

. . .or worse yet, keep him from ever getting out of South Africa. . .

01:43

. . .and he just wanted to forget about politics and play tennis.

01:46

So what’s your call? Did Mark strike out on his own to be a leader.

01:49

. .

01:49

. . .to look out for himself. . .

01:51

. . .or to break away from all that political turmoil?

01:54

Shmoop amongst yourselves.