Mark/Johannes Mathabane Author and narrator who breaks social barriers and beats apartheid and poverty. With help from his family, he becomes educated, pursues the sport of tennis, and becomes a successful business man.
Arthur Ashe The first black male to win at Wimbledon. Ashe proves that blacks can succeed in sports and in breaking racial barriers.
Granny Mathabane's maternal grandmother. With her, Johannes makes his first trip into the city and is introduced both to tennis and literature.
Wilfred Horn Runs a tennis ranch for whites.
Mama Mathabane Mathabane's mother. She provides him with education and moral values.
Papa Mathabane Mathabane's father. An uneducated laborer, he is often abusive.
Mpandhlani A homeless, thirteen-year-old gang member who represents victimization in apartheid.
Peri-Urban Alexandra police squad that terrorizes, abuses, and arrests residents.
Uncle Piet Granny's teenage son who buys Johannes school clothing.
Sacaramouche Johannes' first tennis coach and mentor.
Clyde Smith The Smiths' son whose racist taunting challenges Mark.
Stan Smith Tennis champion whose financial support make it possible for Mathabane to pursue his dreams.
Mr. Wilde Gives Johannes a scholarship.
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