Kaffir Boy

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Kaffir Boy Essay
When many Americans first read Mathabane’s Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth’s Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa most, if not all, could not begin to identify with the horrors it describes. I for one had to put down the book at several points while reading and remind myself that this actually happened. The brutality, persecution, filth, and non-stop perils of day-to-day living were too much for me to believe. While not many, Johannes’ experience in apartheid South Africa has its similarities to some people’s experiences growing up in the US. There is poverty and degrading living environments in America, and, yes, racism is still very much alive in many areas of our country. To this day many black Americans do not have the same opportunities to get a good education, good healthcare and be able to live the American dream that many white Americans have. The social stratification system of the United States and South Africa are similar and different in several ways. The injustices of the wealth and power distribution in South Africa are similar to that of the United States. And there is no doubt, conditions that thousands of America’s desperately poor endure every day are horrendous. However Kaffir Boy depicts a life that even the most destitute families in the US may find shocking and unbearable.
Like America, apartheid South Africa, had a social stratification system, which set apart the lower class from the upper and middle classes. The minority of wealthy whites in South Africa were able to put themselves in positions of power and control the majority blacks of the country. Similar to the US, where the top one percent of our nations wealthiest people control the majority of the wealth in our country. As discussed in Dalton Conley’s You May Ask Yourself this allows them to be very powerful. Conley states,
“Over and above income levels, the upper class is also distinguished by prestige and power, which can be used to promote…

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