How one “Kaffir” Trampled The Odds And Reached the Promise Land that God had thrown blacks into South Africa.
The road not taken
Mark experienced many hard knocks while growing up in South Africa. However, taking the ‘the road less traveled by’ propelled him through it. At the age of six, he acquired a sever fear of his father, who was determined to rule his family with a iron, yet obsolete hand. At age ten, Mark contemplated suicide because he found life in the ghetto to monstrous to continue. The horrific opportunity to engage in matanyula was offered to him. Nonetheless, Mark ran for his life when he realized the reprehensible event was occurring around him. As an adolescent, he joined the tsotis. The savage mob of angry youths soon lost its appeal to Mark, and after watching a comrade lose his eye in battle, he determined that he was not going back. Hunger gnawed at him from every side. To dwindle the creature inside Mark resorted to playing soccer with other boys who lived in the ghetto. Mark was hungry, tired, angry, and oppressed, yet he abstained from the folly pleasures of his environment.
Mark Mathabane was born within a forsaken ghetto in Johannesburg. As a child growing up in apartheid, he lived out his days in destitute shacks made up of implausible materials. The alleys were filled with rats the size of cats. Disease ran rampant, children thought shoes were a luxury and hunger was an unwelcomed companion. Prostitution, casually referred to as matanyula was an everyday activity. Gangs, labeled as tsotis terrorized those who were not part of them. Even the police (known as Peri-Urban) wanted nothing to do with “kaffirs”. The white men in authority had turned many blacks against their own people. Peri-Urban set out regularly to raid the miserable homes of the abject oppressed, just for the sake of confirming mere passes; which seemed impossible to keep in order, yet determined the life of a black South African. There was little money, far little for Mark and his family to ever dream of having decent meals every day. Life was a burden. It seemed to be a mistake
Tennis Society (NTS) Needs YOU !
As an up and coming tennis academy, NTS is looking for new players. Participants must be between the ages of 12 and 18 and be willing to practice YOU ! at least 10 a week.
Applications are available on our website www.ntsacademy.org or call our office at 818-234-5678
escalating interest. One weekday afternoon Mark, who now lived in Alexandra, was working his backhand against a wall when a man appeared. He was what white South Africans refer to as “coloured”, which means he has both African and Caucasian genes. He stood and watched Mark play, all the while making, rude, but constructive comments on mark’s technique. The man’s name was Scaramouche. He was a self employed painter and one of the best tennis players among the coloured people in Johannesburg. He told Mark that he had potential to become a decent player as long as he worked diligently and consistently at his talent. Scaramouche agreed to be Mark’s coach. It was through him that Mark learned of yet another area where black South Africans were pushed aside. The South African National Lawn Tennis Union (SANLTU) was is an organization that runs black tennis. It was severely underfunded and had a terrible lack in staff, all of which were in a power struggle. The SANLTU was only able to host a few disorganized tournaments a year. It was blatant and appalling discrimination. Fortunately Mark had Scaramouche. Scaramouche gave Mark pointers, praises, and tennis magazines and manuals. Mark was in the thick of it. His in early February. Mark experienced overcrowded classrooms, short-tempered instructors, unorganized madness, and strict edicts. Mark was beaten and berated for his inability to pay for books, slates, and other supplies. During the Soweto Protests, which began in 1976, Mark and the