Role of Hatred and Fear

By: Shalaka Damle and Silpa Gollapudi


  • Blacks during this time had a strong fear and hate towards whites
  • Hatred and rage fuels many blacks in the townships
  • Feelings that Mark has stem from a very young age
  • Emotions that Mark feels as a child last throughout, but later decline
  • Fear, specifically, is the dominant emotion in Mark's life until he becomes strong enough to overcome it
  • Feelings of fear and hate start to decline when introduced to a kind white family and realizes that not all whites are bad
  • Mark's life becomes successful after overcoming hatred and fear, and is able to excel in education and pursue a tennis career due to this; parallels lives of other blacks Mark grew up with who never overcame these emotions, and they later went on to use other coping mechanisms with Apartheid, such as harsh violence


1. Imagine being in Mark's position. How would you deal with your emotions of fear and hatred?

2. Have you ever felt a strong hatred/fear towards a certain group of people? Was it because of personal experiences?

Quote #1

"As I stood there watching, I could feel that hate and anger being branded into my five-year-old mind. branded to remain until I die...I hated them more than I feared them." (Mathabane 23)

  • When policeman raid his house
  • Explains how the black policeman have a strong hatred towards urban blacks; Mark harbors same feelings towards the policeman
  • Also fears the policeman, but the emotion of hate overtakes this
  • These emotions will be instilled into him until he dies

Quote #2

"To me the illusions and fantasy of the movies were the dark reality of a world I was forbidden to enter. From my experiences with white policemen, I had come to develop a deep-seated fear of white people." (Mathabane 54)

  • Explains that the movies he watched were a mere glimpse of the white world
  • Seemed much different than the whites he encountered
  • Witnessed whites do much more horrid things
  • Became glad by the fact that he could not enter the white world unless he had a permit
  • Kept reassuring himself to why whites acted the way they did, but the best he could do was have a strong hate towards them

Quote #3

"Peri-Urban!" I gasped and stiffened at the name of the dreaded Alexandra Police Squad. To me nothing, short of a white man, was more terrifying; not even a bogeyman." (Mathabane 25)

  • Explains the fear the blacks had of whites
  • Always terrified of the Police Squad
  • Fear of whether or not they will come is instilled in them everyday

Quote #4

"But how could we blacks allow whites to do this to us--to degrade us, to trample on our dignity – without fighting back? The fact that for the rest of my life I was doomed to carry the odious thing – a reminder of my inferior station in South African life – filled me with outrage and revived my determination to get to America." (Mathabane 98)

  • While trying to get his pass, Mark realizes that every official part of the apartheid system is intended to degrade and oppress blacks. Not surprisingly, he reacts with anger and hatred.
  • The hatred in him if brought about every time he experiences opression by the whites

Quote #5

"Shut up, you fool!" I yelled at my brother, but he did not quiet. I then uttered the phrase, "There's a white man outside," which to small black children had the same effect as "There's a bogeyman outside," but still he would not stop. " (Mathabane 48)

  • Shows the effect of white people on blacks that even children are afraid of them
  • children are seen as innocent and not capable of displaying strong emotions,however the fear of white people is even shown at such a young age
  • Fear of oppression and punishments given by the whites

Discussion Questions

  1. "We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot."How did this quote pertain to Mark's way of overcoming fear and changing his life?
  2. How does fear continue to dominate Mark's life?
  3. Does the role of self-hatred play in Kaffir Boy?
  4. How do you think Mark's feelings of fear and hatred gradually go away through the course of the book, if they do at all?
  5. Does ignorance play a part in any way which causes the blacks to hate the whites so much?
  6. How does a fear and hatred of people relate to racism?
  7. How do the emotions of fear and hatred intertwine?