Mark Mathabane, the author of Kaffir Boy, believes that the apartheid regime in South Africa was inhumane, and that more people should know about it. The preface states explicitly that the book is meant as an in-depth answer to people's questions about what it was like to grow up as a black child under apartheid. Evidence of the regime's cruelty appears throughout the book, especially in the first section, "The Road to Alexandra." In this section, Mathabane is a young child who lives in constant fear and degradation. In the opening scene, for example, he is cruelly beaten by police officers.
Mark Mathabane also believes in the importance of education. The second section of the book, "Passport to Knowledge," describes the author as an older child receiving gifts of books from a liberal white family. The woman who gives Mathabane the books is condescending, but the books themselves help him improve make more sense of his world. Without the education he received from books, Mathabane would never have been able to escape from South Africa.