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This research work examined the Apartheid policies in South African literature in Peter Abraham’s Mine Boy and Tell Freedom. From the analysis of the novels, the study shows that Apartheid policy has been considered as a hindrance to the Blacks who live in South Africa in the late eighteenth century under the British Empire.  The study has also shown that the white who are even the minority oppress and discriminate against the Blacks as a result of this Apartheid policy.  The author therefore portrays the above mentioned problems that the Blacks encountered and other issues like poverty, economic problems and social problems like restriction of movement and freedom of speech.  The issues make the researcher to recommends that the educational planners should also make the study of literature in schools compulsory in order to expose the learners to the importance of literature as well as the writings of Peter Abrahams with reference to the obnoxious effects of apartheid system of government.



1.1  Background to the Study

Historically, South Africa was one of the British colonies that has suffered injustices from the whites on what is called ’’Apartheid’’. The word Apartheid means “separateness” in the Afrikaans language. It is system of racial segregation that existed in South Africa for centuries. It was a political and social system of government that was introduced in South Africa during the era of White minority rule.

This system enforced racial discrimination, oppression, humiliation and domination against non-Whites on skin colour and facial features. This system existed from 1948 to early1990s under the Apartheid policy, the people of South Africa were divided by their race and the different races were forced to live separately from each other. The races, The Blacks, The whites and The Red Indians.

In the same vein, the aim of Apartheid policies was to separate the people of South Africa into small independent nations and these blacks that were separated are called “Bantustans”.

During the Apartheid policies, the people of South Africa were divided into four racial groups and separated by laws. The system was used to deny many basic rights to non-White people mainly Blacks people who live in South Africa. The law allowed the white people to be in certain areas while the Blacks have to carry special passes to enable them travel outside their designated area, go to work, buy and sell in areas reserves for the Whites. These obnoxious laws were made for example, interracial marriage was outlawed the Blacks cannot own lands, vote and be voted for in the areas where the Whites live.

No doubt, the white oppressors came to some parts in African states and treated the Africans as animals because they see Africans as nothing and that is the main reason they did not cater for them. It is on these reasons that South African writers like, Athol Fugard, Peter Abraham and others portray the evils of Apartheid policies in their writings-how South Africans suffered from racial discrimination, frustration and poverty from the hands of the whites. It is on the above issues that this research work aimed at examining the effects of Apartheid policies of South African in Peter Abraham’s Mine Boy and Tell Freedom.


1.2  Statement of the Problem

The reality is that racial discrimination, humiliation and Apartheid policies are Abraham’s aim of writing. He also portrayed how the evil of Apartheid policies humiliate, oppress, discriminate and disillusioned the blacks. Also, the Apartheid policy barred the Blacks from competing along side with the whites economically that is why they were submerged in abject poverty. They lives in slums where there were no social amenities like health centre, good communication, pipe born water and transport network. The blacks worked in the mines and were badly paid by the white masters.

Therefore, it is based on the above statement that the researcher is carrying this research to portray how the welfare of the blacks were badly and how South African writers present these Apartheid policies of south Africans in their literary works.

1.3       Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of this study is to examine Apartheid policies in South African literature in Peter Abraham’s Mine Boy and Tells Freedom. The study will also discuss the on effects of apartheid policies and its implication on the Black South Africans.

1.4       Significance of the Study

The significance of this research work will of benefits to the entire African society. It shall equally be significant to students of English and Literary studies as well as other researchers who may read the works.

1.5       Objectives of the Study

The following constitute the objectives of this research work:

  • to know the meaning and origin of Apartheid policies in South.
  • To portrays the  effects and consequences of Apartheid policies in the lives of characters under the two novels.
  • to investigate the negative relationship between the Blacks and the Whites during the era of Apartheid policies in South Africa.

1.6       Research Methodology

The primary source in this research is on the two selected novels of Peter Abraham’s Mine Boy and Tell Freedom. While the secondary sources will employ the critical works from library, academic books, literary journals and internet sources.


1.7       Scope and delimitation of the Study

The scope of this research work will be delimited to Peter Abraham’s Mine Boy and Tell Freedom. This study will also provide details from other works.

1.8       Bio-Data of Peter Abraham

Peter Henry Abrahams was born on 3rd March, 1919 at Vrededorp, South Africa. His father was from Ethiopia and his mother was coloured. In 1939, he left South Africa and work first as a sailor and as a journalist in London.

Abraham settled in Jamaica in 1956. In 1994, he was awarded the Gold medal for his writings and journalism by the institute of Jamaica. He   was one of the four most African prominent writers whose works deal with political and social issues, especially about racism and Apartheid. He was found dead at his home town in Saint Andrew Parish, Jamaica, on 18th January, 2017 aged 97 years. Some of his works include: Dark Testament(1942), Song of the City (1945), The Path of Thunder(1945), Wild Conquest(1953), A Wreath for Udomo (1954), A Night of their Own(1965), This Island Now(1966), The View from Coyaba (1985),The Black Experience in the 2Oth: An Autobiography, And Meditation(2000), Reality Check(2009).


1.9       Definition of Terms:

Apartheid policies may be defined as a system of unfair treatment that arises as a result of two people of different colours where one is seen to be superior to the other.



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