Kaffir Boy Analysis

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Anne Moody’s Coming of Age in Mississippi and Mark Mathabane’s Kaffir Boy are both coming-of-age narratives that were written through the eyes and experiences of young people who grew up in a world of apartheid. Although, it should be noted that they both have parallels in their stories as well as distinctions one should take into account the times and places in which each occurred. While Coming of Age in Mississippi occurred during a Jim Crow era in the American South, between 1944 and 1968, Kaffir Boy’s autobiographical narrative occurred in the regime of South Africa’s apartheid struggle from 1960 to 1978 in the town of Alexandra. During the late 20th century both narratives offer a framework of racism, a value and yearn for education and the struggle and will to survive. This essay will compile how both narratives experienced their areas race-relations given the time and place that they are in. Perhaps the most noted theme in both narratives was the actions and injustices of racism. Knowledge taken from this course as well as reading Kaffir Boy brings me to note that while this was a central and integral theme in both narratives the way in which they were executed were somewhat different. Because Kaffir Boy was located in South Africa’s apartheid regime the aspect of individual identity that was socially constructed on the basis of being an ‘Afrikaner,’ ‘Coloured’ or any other caste of races they had put into account; this determined where you lived including what housing was available to you and your family, where you were employed and even where you were allowed to spend your time at. In Coming of Age in Mississippi, although the United States had its segregated states known as the ‘American South’ or ‘Jim Crow South’ I a... ... middle of paper ... ...etimes did not have any at all and they would try and find food in garbage bags, Anne on the other hand was tired of eating the same thing or not having enough; the difference is that she always had some food, but because of her curiousness she knew that white people had more and sometimes even better food than her and this bothered her tremendously. Although the struggle for equal rights, food, welfare and survival were all central themes in both narratives, through this essay one could see how similar but at the same time distinctive the injustices for race relations were in South Africa’s apartheid regime and in the Jim Crow South’s segregation era were. The value for education, the struggle to survive and racism were all dominant faces that Anne Moody and Mark Mathabane faced on a day to day basis while growing up that shaped they their incredible lives with.

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