Mark Mathabane Biography | Author of Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa

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Mark Mathabane was born October 18, 1960, in Alexandra, a black ghetto just outside Johannesburg, South Africa. His parents gave him an official Afrikaans name, Johannes, and a tribal name, Thanyani ("the wise one"). As a child, he lived in an unheated two-room shack where the children slept under the kitchen table on makeshift beds of newspaper and cardboard. There was no electricity, no running water, no sewers or indoor toilets. The family suffered from bitter cold and hunger. They lived in constant fear of brutal police raids designed to enforce apartheid (the legalized segregation of blacks and whites) through intimidation and violence. At five, as the caretaker of his younger siblings during his parents' absence, Mathabane was often forced to roam the ghetto for food and an outlet from boredom. Unfortunately, food was scarce, often nonexistent, while boredom could easily, often dangerously, be alleviated. Only his keen intellect and...

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This section contains 476 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa Study Guide
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Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.