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Kaffir Boy in America Paperback – August 2, Kaffir Boy: An Autobiography--The True Story of a Black Youth's. This is the follow-up book to Kaffir Boy - an autobiography of Mark Mathabane.
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He is one of my heros. I really appreciated the continued story of Mathabane because much of the acclaim of Kaffir Boy in the US was how it not only shed a light on Apartheid in South Africa, but also how it held a mirror to our own society to examine race relations. In light of Black Lives Matter, these two books still hold relevancy nearly 30 years later. Another feature of the book that I enjoyed was the metacommentary of how he came about to write Kaffir Boy and what it took for it to "go viral" in today's parlance I really appreciated the continued story of Mathabane because much of the acclaim of Kaffir Boy in the US was how it not only shed a light on Apartheid in South Africa, but also how it held a mirror to our own society to examine race relations.

Another feature of the book that I enjoyed was the metacommentary of how he came about to write Kaffir Boy and what it took for it to "go viral" in today's parlance. By the end of the book, he was even writing about the how he'd started to write it. For anyone interested in writing their own memoir or story, this book is very instructive. However, the publishing world is much different today than it was thirty years ago; still, some basic principles haven't changed.

I was struck by the honesty with which he writes about his struggle to adjust to collegiate and athletic life in the USA in the late '70s and early '80s.

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Changing colleges four times seems wishy-washy, but considering that Mathabane mentions no orientation or support for international students at any of these schools, it underscores the resiliency to survive that he developed in Alexandra growing up. While I was disappointed that Mathabane couldn't achieve his dream of competing professionally in tennis; in the end, tennis was his access to the connections he needed beyond his Ghetto-ized life that enabled him to leave South Africa in the first place.

What he discovered along the way was his own path to self-discovery and life-long learning. I would group him with Ray Bradbury and Ta-Nehisi Coates as accomplished writers and thinkers who are not beholden to a single institution for their finishing. This book is well-written and quite a page-turner. It certainly brings closure to the journey that had just begun in Kaffir Boy. Aug 24, Octy Hiro rated it liked it. There are many lessons to be learned from this book. Mark is a very resourceful and very resilient man.

He achieved indeed the impossible. Reading this book will give you an appreciation of what you have and hopefully make you realize that you too can achieve the impossible. The only thing I didn't like is the way the book is written. While reading, I felt like the author was glossing over topics. Certain topics need to be deeper than they were, while others can be deemed unnecessary. Aug 25, Jensen Bullard rated it liked it Shelves: Mark Mathabane grew up in South Africa.

Seems pretty standard, except he was a poor, black boy living in the apartheid era of South Africa. With this form of government in place, it had a systematic oppression of black people by the white minority in charge. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane tells the story of how he overcame the obstacles set before him, and his realization that people are fundamentally the same regardless of their race. As stated prior, the story starts with Mark in a poor area in South Africa. He goes through all the hardships that come with poverty, such as hunger and lack of education.

His mother wants better for him and sends him to school. From this, new opportunities open to him. He graduates primary school with a scholarship allowing him to seek a higher education. Mark takes up tennis, and is brought under the wing of a black tennis player. Mark is passionate of this sport and begins rigorously practicing. Mark writes his experiences of directly contradicting the apartheid and the government establishment it represents. Due to this, I give the book a 3 star rating.

It was an interesting read, but at some point I had to force myself to finish due to it being homework and all. If you have an interest in the historical aspect of it, check it out, or if you want to see a good old fashioned underdog story. This memoir will be sure to satisfy. Aug 05, Peggy rated it really liked it. Superb memoir of a black kid growing up in apartheid, hate-infected, punishingly-severe persecution and deprivation of So.

His chances of achieving anything at all were surely minus zero chance. Through the force of his illiterate mother's determination that he go to school perhaps she saw potential in where, where others just saw another kaffir , his discovery that he loved learning, and probably most importantly that he learned to play tennis well and loved it, he earned a series of sc Superb memoir of a black kid growing up in apartheid, hate-infected, punishingly-severe persecution and deprivation of So. Through the force of his illiterate mother's determination that he go to school perhaps she saw potential in where, where others just saw another kaffir , his discovery that he loved learning, and probably most importantly that he learned to play tennis well and loved it, he earned a series of scholarships to American universities.

Mathabane went on to marry, father 3 children, become a best-selling author and lecturer. The book dragged for me at the beginning and began to feel repetitious as perhaps pages we spent detailing the horrors of growing up in Alexandra, where , impoverished people lived in 1 sq mile with no sewage system, electricity, transportation, joblessness, laws that kept the huge black population downtrodden and sequestered. Okay, I got it. I got the message early on. For me, the book really picked up momentum as he reached high school and formed his impossible dream of getting out of So.

Africa and into America. He achieved more than his mother could ever have imagined. Aug 24, Holt CP rated it liked it. It starts with Mark Mathabane, scared out of his mind, people breaking into his home. The officers are tearing it apart, screaming at his mother, and bashing their things. You must be asking why, right? Well there really is no reason why, they just had to face the fact that they lived in a society with racism and stereotypes.

What I loved about Kaffir Boy is that the story was so inspiring.

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Mark faced so many disappointments, especially from white people. But, because he was so willing to let pe It starts with Mark Mathabane, scared out of his mind, people breaking into his home. But, because he was so willing to let people prove themselves, he was able to support beyond his community. His hard-work and determination gave him the chance to escape the apartheid regime and fulfil his dreams of being a well-known tennis player.

Now, I must be honest, not every part of this book is as thrilling as others. A couple chapters I was just trying to get through without falling asleep. Even with a work pass, movement in white neighborhoods was restricted to daylight hours unless the pass specified that the carrier was employed in the residence or business after daylight hours. Neglect or failure to carry an up-to-date pass often resulted in unpaid, forced labor on white farms or imprisonment.

First-person viewpoint is, of course, the norm in autobiography. In Kaffir Boy , however, Mathabane skillfully juxtaposes the voices of Mark Mathabane, the adult author, with the developing voices of Johannes, the child, and Mark, the politically savvy teenager.

Kaffir Boy

In chapter 1, for instance, the adult author begins his story with the full text of the legal warning posted on every road into the ghetto of Alexandra—a warning deliberately designed to prevent whites from entering the black world. Thus, most white South Africans remain ignorant of how blacks are forced to live, because the forced segregation allows them to believe what they want to believe and to turn a blind eye to the true conditions apartheid not only creates but also enforces daily. Chapter 2 opens in a predawn nightmare world with five-year-old Johannes hysterically narrating being awakened from a dream of black people lying dead in pools of blood.

Almost immediately, the nightmare turns to reality when his father leaves for work and his mother flees the house in search of a hiding place. Readers, like Johannes, remain at the mercy of Peri-Urban the Alexandra police-squad that terrorizes, abuses, and arrests residents with no warning and often without cause. Forced to experience the real world of apartheid vicariously, they can no longer ignore or deny the facts. They must confront the evils of apartheid head-on.

Most important, first-person point of view not only gives immediacy and validity to Mathabane's experiences growing up under apartheid but also models the values crucial to his physical and spiritual survival: The tone of Kaffir Boy takes the reader on a roller coaster ride of severe drops, wild curves, and steep climbs relieved by very few level straightaways. At times ironic or didactic, it moves rapidly from fear, to reassurance, to anger, to despondency, to determination, to hope, to disappointment, to despair, to elation.

The resulting mood changes provide readers with a real sense of having walked in Mathabane's shoes, forcing them to confront head-on the evils of apartheid and other forms of racism. Postcolonialism—sometimes referred to as Postcolonial Studies or Postcolonial Criticism—is variously defined by different critics and literary professors. However, the terms are most frequently used to refer to the interaction with and influences of European nations upon non-European peoples and their countries.

Its themes are in many ways similar to those of other postcolonial writers: In his preface to the autobiography, Mathabane explains that his two-fold purpose is to persuade "the rest of the world" that apartheid has to be "abolished" because it cannot be "reformed "and also to explain that he "had to reject the tribal traditions" of his ancestors "in order to escape. Although racial injustice has existed throughout history, South Africa's over forty-year legalization of racial abuse under apartheid stands out as one of the most horrific examples in modern history.

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It is therefore not surprising that it would become the subject matter for a vast number of South African writers, both black and white. Some, like Bessie Head and Mathabane, would write while in exile or abroad, but many would write from within the country itself. In , just a year after the publication of Kaffir Boy , Northwestern University's TriQuaterly magazine published over forty selections of "new" writing by South Africans.

In , Nadine Gordimer was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature. In , he won the Booker again for his novel Disgrace, thus earning the distinction of being the only person to win the Booker twice. Regardless of genre, however, almost all South African writing—from autobiography, to essay, to novel, to drama, to short story , to poetry—is in some way both autobiographical and political.

Mathabane's Kaffir Boy is no exception. Mathabane's preface makes it clear that his purpose is political. As a boy, he heard again and again how whites opened fire on sixty-nine unarmed black protesters on March 21, The fact that his birth and the Sharpville Massacre occurred in the same year deeply influenced his childhood belief that all whites were devils. Daily experience with multiple instances of racial injustice and abuse finally culminated in his involvement in the Soweto student uprisings of When the Department of Bantu Education decreed that all black children would be forced to speak and read Afrikaans rather than English, students rebelled, torching the schools.

The protests spread rapidly to Alexandra, turning the poverty-stricken ghetto into chaos. Horrified to discover that his local school library had been torched, Mathabane entered the burning building to rescue books. At sixteen, he realized that his only "passport" out of the ghetto was education. Saving the books meant saving himself. Writing the autobiography was an attempt to save those who still remained imprisoned by apartheid.

Initial reviews of Kaffir Boy in the spring of were mixed. New York Times Book Review critic Lillian Thomas appeared either unable or unwilling to grasp the significance of the book, suggesting that it should have been written in a different way and questioning why the author was no longer living in South Africa. Two other critics, whose reviews appeared in the same month as Thomas's, praised the uniqueness and power of the book. Larson in the Washington Post Book World and Diane Manuel in the Chicago Tribune Book World commented on its uniqueness as an autobiography written in English by a black native who had actually lived in an apartheid-ruled South African ghetto.

Alexandra, South Africa, Mathabane's birthplace, remains a designated Bantu location where over , blacks live in segregation and poverty as a result of apartheid laws. Throughout South Africa, thousands of blacks are brutalized, imprisoned, or killed. Mathabane's family members remain in apartheid-governed Alexandra where the conditions of the previous two decades have changed very little—even after the abolishment of apartheid in the early nineties. Alexandra and her citizens still suffer from the long-term effects of poverty and racial abuse, but apartheid has legally ended.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission, established in , is ongoing. Its mission is to establish democracy and national unity. Its three commissions cover human rights violations, amnesty, and reparation and rehabilitation. The commissions seek to give victims the opportunity to relate the full details of their suffering, force perpetrators of violence against blacks to publicly confess their actions, and then attempt to rehabilitate those perpetrators who acted within apartheid law now acknowledged as wrong and to make reparation to the victims of that law.

Despite enduring eighteen years of poverty, physical abuse, and malnutrition, Mathabane makes excellent grades in school, remains at the top of his class and secures scholarships for his secondary education. Perseverance and his mother's guidance and support enable him not only to survive but also to win an athletic scholarship to an American college. Mathabane graduates from Dowling College, New York, with a degree in economics and becomes a best-selling author.

He triumphs over prejudice and taboo by marrying a white American with whom he co-writes a book and raises a family. A husband, father, and highly successful writer, Mathabane serves as the director of multicultural education at a private school in Portland, Oregon. Despite mixed reviews, just a few months after Kaffir Boy 's initial publication, Readers' Digest Condensed Books purchased the condensation rights and New American Library bought the paperback rights.

Dave Grogan's favorable story in People and an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show in brought the autobiography to the attention of a wider audience. It became an almost overnight bestseller, reaching third place on the New York Times bestseller list and first place on the Washington Post bestseller list. Its importance as the seminal autobiography of black experience in apartheid-ruled South Africa remains unquestioned.

Textbook companies and school systems throughout the United States include it in their standard high school curricula. Unfortunately, like other books that dare to address racial injustice and abuse, Kaffir Boy has been banned by some parent groups and school systems who find the book inappropriate because of one scene. Ironically, the scene in question is crucial not only to Mathabane's survival but also for his readers to be able to understand just how warped and destructive apartheid is.

It separates men from their wives and children and forces them to live hundreds of miles away in all-male barracks. Victims themselves, some of these men turn young, starving boys in the nearby ghetto into prostitutes in exchange for money and food. A starving Mathabane includes the story of being solicited by the promise of food, his horror when he begins to realize what is about to happen, and his successful flight from the barracks in time to prevent becoming a victim.

The story not only forces readers to see how corrupt and horrible apartheid is but also warns readers, young and old, of the need to be wary of promises that sound too good to be true, to realize that ignorance often leads to victimization. Carson is an instructor of English literature and composition.

In this essay, Carson discusses Kaffir Boy in relation to both postcolonialism and other South African literary biographies. Postcolonial studies and literary criticism examine twentieth century political and social issues resulting form interactions between European nations and the peoples they colonized. Of especial concern are humanitarian issues, particularly disparities in the treatment and living conditions between the native peoples and the colonizers who have raped the natural resources and wealth for themselves.

Displacement and loss of traditional value systems and inequities in land ownership have created volatile, racial imbalance between the majority black populations and white minority legal structure. In South Africa, for instance, the Native Land Act of reserved only 13 percent of its land for Africans who made up 80 percent of the population.

As more and more natives fled to cities like Johannesburg in search of jobs, frightened white political leaders established apartheid, turning their already discriminatory practices into legal injustice. Kaffir Boy takes place in the apartheid-ruled black ghetto of Alexandra. The autobiography's primary purpose is political. Mathabane's intention is to expose the horrors of apartheid and its violent, legally enforced racism to the rest of the world, and he succeeds.

Kaffir Boy provides clear evidence that apartheid has to be abolished. Choosing autobiography as his form is a masterstroke. A short story or novel would have brought the story to a western audience. However, neither would have had the same validity and power as his own true-life experience, especially given the risk to him and to family members who remained in Alexandra.

Its American publication came just a year after pressure from anti-apartheid groups led Congress to match Reagan's mild package of sanctions with a bill calling for a wide range of restrictions on American trade and investment in South Africa. As the first autobiography by a South African native, written in English and published in the west, it played a significant role in enlightening the international community, drawing its citizens into the impoverished ghetto of Alexandra.

The autobiography succeeds in part because of Mathabane's innovative handling of his subject matter. Chapter 1 opens with the first-person expository voice of the adult Mathabane reminding readers that they enter a Bantu non-white area at their own risk and are subject to arrest, fines, and imprisonment without a pass. Chapter 2 abruptly forces the reader into the nightmare world of the five-year-old Mathabane who must act as surrogate parent to his younger brother and sister in the midst of a pre-dawn police raid. Succeeding chapters and their events are narrated exclusively by Mathabane, but the voice changes from that of a frightened five-year-old to a suicidal ten-year-old, to a savvy teenager, to an anxious young adult, quietly desperate to escape.

As the voice changes in accordance with the experiences apartheid forces on Mathabane, so does the frenetic, often hopeless tone. The resulting mood creates a similar experience for the reader. Mathabane's first-person point of view is equally important in delineating character and themes. Though he gives his readers the names of each of his six siblings and his father, his mother, who is the central figure both in Mathabane's own life and in much of the autobiography, is identified only as Mama.

Having been denied an education because she is a female, Mathabane's mother goes to great sacrifice to ensure his getting one. Illiterate and thus with no access to books and schooling, she creates an oral library with her "riveting stories" culled from tribal traditions, riddles, songs, and folktales. With these and her mesmerizing acting ability, she arms her children with life-saving values: Her actions not only make it possible for Mathabane to survive his years in the ghetto but also to escape to freedom in the United States.

Unlike his wife, Jackson Mathabane is a negative character, a human being reduced to an abusive husband and father, as a result of psychological emasculation at the hands of the South African police. He is convinced that the South African white political structure will ultimately force all blacks to return to their tribal reserves. Opposed to education, which he perceives as useless, he forces his children and wife to perform tribal rituals. For Mathabane he is a symbol not only of a lost heritage but of what he too is likely to become if he remains in Alexandra.

Perhaps, the most significant function of Mathabane's first-person voice is the immediacy and suspenseful pacing it gives to the horrors and pitfalls awaiting children growing up in Alexandra. With Mathabane, readers are forced to stave off hunger with soup consisting of nothing but boiled cow's blood. Still starving, they accept an invitation to earn money and food only to run away in horror when they realize that the price is prostituting themselves to male migrant workers. Having escaped becoming a victim, they can't escape the knowledge that other children have already become victims and that still others will be victimized in the future.

At barely ten years of age, having endured more than the psyche can handle, they are rescued from suicide by a mother's wisdom and love. Mathabane's setting provides readers with a still broader view of the inequities in living conditions resulting from over three hundred years of European involvement in South Africa. He varies location and place to dramatize the vast contrasts between the lives of urban whites and the lives of rural and urban blacks.

The majority of the action takes place in the one-square-mile, black ghetto of Alexandra where Mathabane spent his first eighteen years. Its one hundred thousand residents have no electricity, running water, or sewers. Most live in poorly constructed one-to two-room shacks. However, a few scenes take place in the posh, white residential section of Johannesburg where Mathabane's grandmother works as a gardener.

Several other scenes take the readers to a trash dump where a starving Mathabane, his mother, and his siblings rake through garbage from Johannesburg in search of food, clothing, and furniture. When Mathabane finds a dead human baby wrapped in newspapers, the trips to the trash dump end.

Another scene takes place in Mathabane's father's tribal homeland where the soil has been rendered so sterile from inefficient farming that Mathabane calls it a wasteland. Others take place at a tennis camp for wealthy whites, and at Ellis Park, site of the South African Brewery tennis competitions that draw top tennis players from all over the world. The brutal inequities between the living conditions and advantages of blacks and those of whites are inescapable. One might argue that the autobiography's setting is too large and sprawling, attempting to cover too many years and too many events, that its political purpose could have been better achieved by omitting some of the events, especially in the third section.

It is true that the political logistics involved in professional tennis competition lack the immediacy and drama of the earlier two sections. However, they offer us a different picture of Mathabane, allowing us to experience vicariously what it is like to be used as a pawn by the whites only to be banned for life from black tennis competition in South Africa. While not as vividly or gruesomely riveting as eating worms or soup made of cows' blood, this third section clearly delineates the extent to which apartheid laws, politics, and big business control every aspect of life in South Africa.

They clearly leave Mathabane with no choice but to find a peaceful, safe, and expeditious way to leave the country. In , critic James Olney observed that "one consequence of apartheid is that South Africa has produced a number of writers and an equal number of literary autobiographies, often in exile. As such, it is a significant postcolonial work. Its universal themes are broad and many. Like almost all early literary biographies, however, it too demonstrates the liberating power of education and the debt all societies owe to the creative artist. Hill is the author of a poetry collection, has published widely in literary journals, and is an editor for a university publications department.

In the following essay, Hill examines the brutal existence that Mathabane survived, the honesty with which he recounts it, and the incredible hope he maintained in the face of such atrocities. When Mathabane's Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa was published in America in , most, if not all, of those who read it could not begin to identify with the horrors it describes, and it is safe to assume that many could not even fully comprehend them.

The brutality, persecution, filth, and unending perils of day-to-day living were too much for some readers to take, too much for some to believe.


Yes, there is abject poverty and degrading living environments in America, and, yes, racism still abounds in many areas, regardless of the laws against it. There are sociologists, politicians, teachers, and parents alike who claim that black children do not have the same opportunities to a good education that white children have in America, even at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

And there are those who point out that several of the health problems encountered by blacks and other minority groups are largely due to their limited access to good health care, whether because of its high cost or because of a more debilitating, systematic denial rooted in racist programs and policies.

None of these legitimate concerns will be argued here, and no doubt will be cast on the sorrowful living conditions that thousands of America's desperately poor endure every minute of every day. Given that, Kaffir Boy depicts a life that even the most destitute families in the free world may find shocking and unbearable. It is commonly assumed that an individual does not miss what he or she has never had—that if one grows up in the city, then country life is not "missed," or if one is raised on Chinese cuisine, then Italian is not missed, and so forth.

This simplified analogy, of course, does not account for the typical human desire to try new things, eat different foods, and live in a myriad of settings that many people experience over their lifetimes; the point, rather, is that human beings must initially accept what they are given, what they are born into. Perhaps this is the only feasible explanation—suspect as it is—that the Mathabanes of the world manage to survive childhood and adolescence and move into their adult lives without ever having known what it was like to grab a snack from a refrigerator, to turn on a television, to hang out with friends without being beaten by the police, to take a shower, to flush a toilet, to sleep in a real bed, and to go to that bed without hunger pangs and rat bites.

All these seemingly simple actions would have been luxuries for Mathabane and his family and all the people of the Alexandra ghetto. But they were luxuries the black South Africans never knew, and still they survived—except, of course, for those who were murdered or died of malnutrition and untreated diseases, daily occurrences in Alexandra. How can a young individual shoulder so much pain and misery and still speak of dreams that have come true? Consider the opposite scenario: How will he fare when the only way to keep from starving to death is to eat fried locusts and worms and a thick soup made from boiled cow's blood?

What will he do when his teachers beat him savagely with canes for not having a proper school uniform or not being able to pay school fees? Who will he rely on when his parents are dragged naked from their two-room shack in the middle of the night, arrested and mauled by the authorities, along with dozens of other blacks, for not having their "passes" in order? Will he simply get used to the weekly police raids and, after watching for a while, return to his urinestained, bug-infested piece of cardboard beneath the kitchen table that he calls a bed?

Many people who have never experienced the inhumane conditions of life under a ruthless, oppressive system of law still claim to understand what it must be like to live that way and to sympathize with the victims. White Americans commiserate with the plight of blacks during the days of slavery, and non-Jews everywhere believe they comprehend the horrors of anti-Semitism during the Holocaust.

Rich people feel compassion for the poor and healthy people think they know what being terminally ill must feel like. While all these emotions and beliefs may be heart-felt and well-in-tended, one individual can never really know the suffering of another unless he or she has personally experienced it. Readers of Kaffir Boy who have not lived as a black person in apartheid South Africa cannot really feel that existence. What an outsider can do, however, is get as close to it as possible through the brutal, no-holds-barred autobiography of a young man who knew nothing else for the first eighteen years of his life.

Kaffir Boy in America: An Encounter with Apartheid

Words like poverty, racism, oppression, police raids, starvation, brutality, and countless others all fall short of a true description of ghetto life under apartheid. But in telling his story, Mathabane goes far beyond a benign idiom to express the graphic, honest details of day-to-day—sometimes hour-by-hour—living in Johannesburg's most notorious slum. Readers with weak stomachs may have difficulty with the physical realities of having no indoor plumbing. Children are not allowed to use the public outhouse without adult supervision, so they often relieve themselves in the alleyways.

Human waste runs through the streets where people walk barefoot and sit on sidewalks. When they return to their shacks, there is no running water, so bathing is not an easy option. Hunger forces Mathabane and his siblings to taste their own nasal mucous, and their grandmother blows her nose into her palms and rubs them together—self-made hand lotion. Some boys in the ghetto offer themselves sexually to older men in exchange for a decent meal, and young girls learn early that their purpose in life is to produce babies for husbands who "own" them. Grotesque details such as these proliferate throughout Kaffir Boy , and their effect is undeniable.

Stupefying and repulsive, yes, but also sobering and educating. Perhaps there are those who find Mathabane's candid reporting unwarranted or even offensive, but those are likely the ones who need to read it most. When one tries to imagine what it is like to live as the victim of an oppressive government, some cruel atrocities may come to mind, yet pictures of the most despicable actions forced upon the victims are probably not among them.

Mathabane does not the let the reader escape. His book is like an open wound, fully exposed, one that he will not hide beneath a bandage, but, rather, lets bleed in full view of the public. And while the graphic portrayals of such sorrowful living fill Kaffir Boy from beginning to end, they are still not the most remarkable, most thought-provoking element of the book.

At his mother's insistence, Mathabane starts school and learns to love it, rising to the top of his class in spite of frequent punishments due to his family's late payments for school fees and inability to afford school supplies. He graduates from primary school with a scholarship that will pay for his secondary education. Mathabane's grandmother becomes a gardener for a kind family, the Smiths, who introduce Mathabane to books and tennis by sending books and even a tennis racket home with his grandmother for him.

He learns English from these books, and begins to play tennis frequently, eventually befriending a coloured tennis player who trains him. Mathabane joins the high school tennis team and begins to play in tournaments, unofficially sponsored by Wilfred Horn, owner of the Tennis Ranch.

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  • It is technically illegal for Mark to play there, but the law is ignored and he becomes comfortable with whites. Eventually renowned tennis player Stan Smith takes Mathabane under his wing when the two meet at a tournament. Stan pays for Mathabane to compete in tournaments and talks to his coach at the University of Southern California about Mathabane attending college in the states.