cover image Kaffir Boy in America: An Encounter with Apartheid

Kaffir Boy in America: An Encounter with Apartheid

Mark Mathabane. Scribner Book Company, $19.95 (303pp) ISBN 978-0-684-19043-3

Kaffir Boy (1984), one of the best books ever written about apartheid, became a bestseller everywhere but in South Africa, where it is banned. This absorbing sequel, about Mathabane's life in the U.S. since he arrived here at age 18 in 1978 on a tennis scholarship, describes his painful experiences at three colleges in one year and in American society generally. He recalls his editorship of a college paper, disenchantment with the Columbia School of Journalism, encounters with racism, threats to his life, living on a shoestring budget, speaking out against racism, his decisions to become a writer, live in North Carolina and marry a white woman, his success (with Oprah Winfrey's help) in bringing members of his family on a visit to America and in arranging for some of his siblings to remain here to study. Mathabane is a remarkable human being: responsible, committed, reasonable, level-headed, humane, understanding and empathetic. He tells a wonderful, inspiring story and he tells it well. (June)