Can Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane be taught to kids younger than sixteen without a parent uproar?The topics of the book are a bit strong. What do you think, are kids younger than sixteen mature...

Can Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane be taught to kids younger than sixteen without a parent uproar?

The topics of the book are a bit strong. What do you think, are kids younger than sixteen mature enough to handle the book?

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melkoosmann's profile pic

melkoosmann | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted on

There are two questions here. First, will Kaffir Boy cause controversy if it is taught to younger teenagers? Second, are younger teenagers capable of handling the themes of the book?

The teaching of this book is bound to cause controversy, perhaps not all the time, but at least some of the time. Many parents want to protect their children from the worst of the world's cruelty and horror, and Kaffir Boy describes such cruelty and horror in detail.

Personally, I believe it is important for kids to learn about difficult issues, even if they are upsetting. I think it is appropriate to start teaching kids about these issues from the time they are twelve or thirteen--old enough to understand and evaluate complex topics. Most kids would be helped, not hurt, by thinking carefully about a book like Kaffir Boy with guidance from a supportive adult.

However, there are exceptions to every rule, and some kids are more sensitive than others. If some students are truly overwhelmed by Kaffir Boy, teachers could consider offering them an alternate assignment.

vbchic's profile pic

vbchic | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 2) eNoter

Posted on

my ninth grade class, 14 and 15 had to read this book for an assighnment.  most to all of my class handled it well, but yeah sure, there are 14 and 15 year olds who could not be able to handle it.   there are many disturbing things that happen throughout the whole book, but people need to be taught these things.  racial injustice needs to end, and by having teens and young adults read these kinds of books is the only way.  

twiz's profile pic

twiz | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I'm younger than 16 and I believe I handled the book very well. I believe stundents younger than 16 but no younger than 13 could handle this book. I believe it's spectacular book to read for any child because it gave me, for one, the ability to look at an african american or a black person in a new, none discriminating light. I can never look at a black person as an unequal again because of this book. I know most white people in this world then and now who wouldn't be able to handle the atrocities that African blacks go through when it comes to aparteid, not to mention find a way out of it.

peruvianboy's profile pic

peruvianboy | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I believe that kids younger than sixteen are not mature enough to handle Kaffir Boy. I know maturity is a personal thing but for the most part, kids younger than sixteen will not be able to handle this book with maturity

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