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Justin Vacula

Professional Writing Capstone

Dr. McClinton-Temple

May 4, 2011

Mark Mathabane, Apartheid, and Christianity

In his book Kaffir Boy, Mark Mathabane, a native African who lived during the period of

apartheid in South Africa, writes, “I could never believe as deeply in a God who seemed oblivious to

the pain of blacks and seemed to favor whites, for suffering had made me, at too young an age, too

dependent upon my own free will” (Kaffir Boy 245). Apartheid made it impossible for Mathabane to

believe in a God who loved all people but who also allowed the suffering of blacks under white

oppression to continue. Mathabane believed that Christianity was a lie created by whites to justify

apartheid and injustice toward blacks, depicted black people as evil, and did not help blacks progress in

life. Mathabane's beliefs were shaped and reinforced by people in his community who voiced

objections to Christianity. Mathabane also rejected the black tribal religion endorsed by his father

because he found no reason to accept its extraordinary claims, was not beneficial to blacks, and caused

his father to remain ignorant and distort reality. Mathabane suspects that Christianity and apartheid

were linked and worked together to oppress blacks – the research of John W. deGruchy and Charles

Villa-Vicencio confirms these suspicions.

Mark Mathabane's Kaffir Boy is an autobiographical account that is subtitled “The true story of

a black youth's coming of age in apartheid South Africa.” Mathabane's childhood was plagued with

horrific stories involving malnutrition, intimidation and violence by police officers, digging through

garbage heaps looking for food on a daily basis, children prostituting themselves for food, and drinking

boiled blood in order to survive. Mathabane's texts and ideas are difficult to follow because various
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'pieces of a puzzle' presented throughout the text need to be put together in order to create a compelling

argument, but this is possible because various recurring themes appear throughout the text. Mathabane

devotes portions of his text to discussion regarding Christianity, African tribal beliefs, and various

superstitions that plagued apartheid South Africa. Mathabane ultimately rejects all belief in the

supernatural in his book Kaffir Boy and persists in his non-belief in the sequel to his first book named

Kaffir Boy in America.

Apartheid is a term used to describe the laws that the African national party enacted to enforce

racial segregation, discrimination, and blatantly unfair policies that were imposed on native black

Africans. Although whites were a minority and were outnumbered by blacks by a three to one ratio,

whites nonetheless held power and were able to virtually enslave blacks, create a police state, and

legalize racism. Mark Mathabane describes various elements of apartheid in his introduction: “daily

battling for survival, struggling for an identity other than that of inferiority and fourth-class citizen, and

constant police terror and the threat of deportation to impoverished tribal reserves” (ix). These various

elements of apartheid are recurring themes in Kaffir Boy. Mathabane further discusses what apartheid

meant in human terms: “it meant hate, bitterness, hunger, pain, terror, violence, fear, dashed hopes and

dreams (x).

Many native Africans engaged in ritualistic behavior and appealed to tribal gods of ancestors

during the time of apartheid. Mathabane's father rejected any religious tradition that was different from

the African tribal gods, especially Christianity; Mathabane's father called Christianity “white man's

nonsense and lies” and did not allow any churchgoing (56). Mathabane's mother began to doubt the

efficacy of tribal worship and rituals, so she became interested in Christianity. Mathabane explains,

“My mother told my father that because of the hard times that we had been experiencing continuously

over the years, despite repeated sacrifices to tribal gods, it was high time we looked for new ways of

dealing with our poverty and suffering, and that maybe Christianity might be one such way” (56).
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Mathabane's first encounter with Christianity was with evangelists. Twelve black evangelists

wore decorative outfits, carried staves with affixed wings, and brandished musical instruments. The

leader of the evangelists announced that he wanted to spread the word of God and save the people

“from the tentacles of paganism” (58). After this announcement, a woman objected and said “We don't

need Christianity. We have our religions of a thousand years. We don't need to worship a white man's

god when we have our own” (58). The evangelist answered the woman and said that the sins of the

people were to blame for their disbelief. A great debate ensued and many who listened to the

evangelists' attempts at conversion became enraged.

The lead evangelist continued his preaching and explained that the devil speaks through non-

believers. Christ, according to the lead evangelist, is needed by everyone, especially those who adhere

or adhered to the tribal religious traditions. God, the lead evangelist explained, saw the traditions as

evil and wanted to save the blacks by sending people from Europe who knew the message of God and

was able to communicate it to those who did not know how to read and write (58). The evangelist

concluded and said, “That's why we're here today, brothers and sisters in Christ, to prepare you all so

you can, when the Day of Judgment comes, be among those lucky few who will board the glory train to

heaven” (59). A man in the audience objected and asked how the evangelist knew that Heaven exists

and was met with the answer of “By faith, young man, by faith alone” (59). The young man retorted by

asking what faith has done for the black man and the evangelist made an appeal to fear, “Young man,

God isn't somebody to mess around with. Sit down, or else He'll have to take care of your insolence on

Judgment Day” and then repeated that those who rejected Christianity would not go to Heaven and

“souls will roast at the hands of that horned black man with the fork and the pit of fire” (59).

Mathabane explained, “most people appeared shocked, bewildered, some even angered by the

evangelist's ominous message. Equally shocked, I turned and looked at my father. He stiffened, his

mouth twitched, and his eyes blazed” (59). Mathabane became excited because of the possibility of a
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fight erupting between the tribal men and the evangelists (60). The evangelist, perhaps not noticing the

anger of the men, denounced the tribal beliefs calling them “sheer nonsense and hogwash” and

announced that “Christ is the only true God” (60). Mathabane's father voiced dissent, “Saved from

what, you liars! You black traitors! You're the ones who need to be saved from the white man's lies!

Who are you to tell us to renounce our gods for a white god” (60). Mathabane could not possibly

believe in a religion that he views as depicting his own people as evil.

The idea of a “white man's god” is a very important element of Mathabane's rejection of

Christianity. The version of Christianity that Mathabane experienced endorsed the idea of the devil, an

evil figure who torments those who are sent to Hell, and typically depict the devil as black, thus

equating black with evil or conveying the impression of that which is black is evil. Mathabane

“influenced in part by [his] father's denunciations of Christianity, and in part by [his] own skepticism,

considered this blatant depiction of black as evil part of the teachings of Christianity, and had vowed

never to let [himself] be fooled into believing otherwise” (61).

Mathabane also views Christian stories as “fantastic” and “folklore” (61). He believes that

people invent their own gods based on their natural characteristics and cultural stories. His mother

explains, “Christianity is essentially the religion of the white people, therefore it makes sense that the

Christian God should be thought of as a white person. Just like we, in our religions, have our black

god” (61). White missionaries, Mathabane's mother explains, viewed Africa as “a dark continent

overrun with black savages practicing pagan religions; […] many white people in South Africa

believed that the Devil was black, that all black people were descendants of the cursed Ham,

condemned by God to be forever servants of the white man” (61). Mathabane notes, “aren't the Bible

stories merely stories about white people? Black people tell stories about their own gods, and white

people do the same” (61).

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Mathabane's analysis regarding people crafting religious stories rather than stories being

inspired or delivered from God/gods offers a naturalistic and very plausible account of how the stories

originated. The idea of “black as evil” was reinforced by the Christian tradition and, if Mathabane's

mother is correct, was brought into the Christian tradition by white missionaries who saw Africans as

savages practicing pagan religions. Mathabane's father quelled the discussion about Christianity

between Mathabane and his mother by offering threats and rebuking Christian beliefs. Mathabane


Such threats […] served to reinforce my own skepticism about

Christianity. Daily […] I began to believe [my father's] denunciations. I

told myself that, like him, I would accept Christianity at no other level

than that of being a collection of white people's “nonsense and lies” and I

began regarding as fools all black men and women who came to our door

demanding that we convert to Christianity or else suffer eternal

damnation at the hands of a wrathful God (62).

Later in his childhood, Mathabane noticed many children from tribal reserves coming to

Alexandria who held various superstitious beliefs that were more mysterious than the ones that his

father and others in his community held. The presence of these children, Mathabane notes, greatly

influenced his beliefs and made him prone to superstitious thinking. Mathabane writes, “My

sensibilities became sharpened to the point where I had been paying singular attention to little oddities

that previously I had dismissed without thought, now thinking they were manifestations of witchcraft”

(100). Mathabane would notice glinting objects in the sky disappearing and would think that he had

seen a witch. Many others in his community would “openly and publicly support [his] claims of

witchcraft sightings, so soon that [he] began walking around with the paranoiac attitude that every

strange thing that no adult could explain was the 'deeds of witches'” (100). Mathabane fills the entire
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following page discussing superstitions that would characterize this newly acquired worldview such as

thinking that he stepped in witch urine if a wound would not heal, witchcraft causing misfortune, and

left-handedness and an innie belly button meant that he would become a sage and do something great


Eventually, after the age of five, Mathabane began to reject the previously mentioned

superstitious beliefs. He writes, “as I grew older, as the black life around me showed no signs of

miraculous happenings and catastrophes, […] I began to doubt. […] My mother tried to explain, yet

each time she did I found her explanations vague, cryptic, obscure, ambiguous, enigmatic, and too

fantastic to be believable” (102). With age and new experiences, it seems, Mathabane shows

intellectual maturity by being able to evaluate the beliefs of others and rejecting them because they did

not make sense to him and were contradictory to his experiences. Mathabane notices no extraordinary

events or evidence for the supernatural in his life and only experiences repeated injustice, struggle, and

oppression. The explanations offered by his mother were insufficient to establish belief.

Although Mathabane's mother eventually started getting involved in Christian worship, but

Mathabane's skepticism remained strong and did not waver. Mathabane writes, “there was one area in

which she failed to exert any influence on me: religion. […] I flatly refused to sit under some leaking

roof listening to a demagogue out to make money by sending people on guilt trips and pretending to

speak in tongues” (216). The writing style of Mathabane in this passage is quite different than that of

the section discussing the missionaries; instead of Mathabane writing about others voicing vociferous

opinions about Christianity, such as the elder men and Mathabane's father, Mathabane uses his own

strong language in opposition to Christian preachers.

Mathabane disliked Christianity also because he saw it as being misused by the government to

reinforce and legitimize apartheid. The government, Mathabane believed, used organized religion “in

claiming that God had given whites the divine right to rule over blacks, that ... subservience was the
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most natural and heavenly condition to be in” (217). Mathabane also notes that black churches took

possessions away from “ignorant black peasants” in exchange for eternal salvation and turned “able-

bodied men and women into flocks of sheep, making them relinquish responsibility for their lives in the

hope that faith in Christ would miraculously make everything turn out right” (217). The image that

Mathabane constructs is that of a power relationship existing between white government officials and

oppressed blacks. Mathabane believed that apartheid and Christianity were fused in an attempt to

control blacks. This undoubtedly shaped Mathabane's opposition to Christianity.

The tribal religion, adhered to by his father, also showed no promise for Mathabane. Despite his

father's unwavering adherence to tribal beliefs, his life was no different than others (and in some cases

was much worse) afflicted by apartheid. Mathabane notes, “Years of watching him suffer under the

double yoke of apartheid and tribalism was a hopeless case” (207). One would expect, if the tribal

beliefs were true, that adherents of the beliefs would have some sort of visible advantage rather than be

worse off or no different than others. “The thick veil of tribalism,” Mathabane notes, “which so covered

his eyes and mind and heart was absolutely of no use to me … Ignorance and tribalism claimed him so

wholly – mind, body, and soul – that he was baffled why the world, his wife, his children, were

seemingly turned against him.” (207-208) Mathabane, instead of holding useless beliefs, wanted to

look at the world in a more realistic way in order to progress and somehow escape the bondage of

apartheid. While Mathabane endorsed his father's rejection of Christianity, he did not accept the tribal

beliefs as an alternative.

Mathabane mentioned his father's view of Christianity as being white man's lies in the meeting

with the evangelists. Mathabane's father also believed that Christianity was in direct opposition to tribal

beliefs and the chances for blacks to escape from apartheid. Unlike his father, Mathabane did not see

the tribal beliefs as part of black culture, yet Mathabane still saw Christianity as fundamentally

oppositional to blacks. Mathabane notes that Christianity made some blacks accept apartheid and made
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many resign to the whims of oppressive whites, “Worst of all, I found among some members of some

churches a readiness to accept their lot as God's will, a willingness to disparage their own blackness

and heritage as inferior to the white man's Christianity” (217). Mathabane's criticism also reflects the

Marxist view of religion as the opiate of the masses; he believed that blacks who accepted Christianity

would “give up fighting to make things just in the world, in the hope that God's justice would prevail in

the hereafter, that the hungry and the oppressed and the enslaved of this world would feast on

cornucopias while singing freedom songs and hosannas in a heaven without prejudice” (217). This

further reinforces the idea that Mathabane saw Christianity and black culture as fundamentally opposed

to one another.

Mathabane saw Christianity and tribal beliefs as a false reality for blacks, “organized religion

made blacks blind to, or avoid or to seek an escape from, reality” (217). He noted that his mother might

not see all “shades and colors” of reality and because of this she would hold Christian beliefs (217).

Mathabane, though, did not want to distort reality and instead wanted to accept the way the world is

and fight against tremendous difficulties. He writes, “All I know is that I wanted to carry the burden of

my own life, to use whatever talent I had to carve a niche in the world where the odds were against my

doing so. I instinctively knew that organized religion would hinder rather than help me; would torpedo

my best-laid plans” (217). Tribal beliefs also, Mathabane beliefs, compromised his father, “Tribal ways

and ignorance so ruled supreme over my father's life … he was like some sceptre wallowing in a

bottomless hole of unreality, groping in it, trying, with great futility, to surface from it – to materialize

into reality” (208) Mathabane could not possibly hold beliefs that he saw as self-defeating and untrue.

A man in Mathabane's community, Limela, believed that Christianity was “a clever ploy

through which whites sought to keep blacks forever slaves” (218). Limela used the “popular African

expression: 'when the white people came, we had the land and they had the Bible; now we have the

Bible, and they have the land'” (218). In addition to depicting Christianity as “white man's lies” that
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were used to exploit blacks, Limela would accuse missionaries of taking property from blacks. Limela

frequently accosted missionaries who tried to argue that “God is color-blind,” and refuted these

arguments saying “You mean to tell me that white people aren't aware that my family is starving

because of their laws? Do you mean to tell me that God will forgive them all that? Any God who'll

forgive white people's sins is as mad as you are” (219). Limela's counter-apologetics were met with

approval by Mathabane, thus reinforcing and strengthening Mathabane's opposition to Christianity.

Mathabane told Limela that he would never forgive the sins of white men who oppressed blacks

with apartheid and engaged the missionaries with fiery rhetoric. Gesturing toward Mathabane, a

missionary told Limela not to lead children away from Jesus and Mathabane responded, “I'm not a

bloody child, mister, and I'm going to no fucking Jesus. […] I know people of your kind. You're dirty

stinking liars! You make people forget reality and dream about some stupid heaven no one really knows

exists” (220). Mathabane then echoes the popular African expression regarding missionaries giving

Bibles and taking black man's land, “You and your kind are also cheats and thieves. How often do you

[…] and your kind, strip people of everything they've got in the name of salvation? You would even rob

them of their souls if you could get at them” (220). The missionary then threatened Mathabane with

hell and Mathabane responded, “I'm already going through hell under the white man's rule […], so

another ordeal in hell won't make much of a difference. I wonder where you'll end up, cheat and liar,

betrayer of your own people” (220). At this point in the text, Mathabane is clearly able, willing, and

confident enough to voice his objections to Christianity.

Later in the story, Mathabane receives an opportunity to “tell white South Africans the truth

about black life” (275). A white man believed that blacks wanted to enslave whites and not live

peacefully with whites and explained,

You're our eternal enemies. God created us that way. […] God had a

mission for us when he put us here long before you blacks ever reached
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here from Central Africa. And it is His will that we survive, that we keep

alive the flame of Western civilization in this dark continent ruled by

religions of the anti-Christ. And God's given us apartheid as a way of

ensuring our survival as a pure Christian race. I don't want colored

grandchildren. (276)

This alarming confession from a white man is very consistent with Mathabane's already established

belief that Christianity viewed black as evil and was a tool used by white men to legitimize apartheid.

Mathabane naturally objected to this reasoning and told the man that he desires for blacks and whites to

be equals who share the land of South Africa. Mathabane's suspicions toward Christianity's link to

apartheid are confirmed by John W. deGruchy and Charles Villa-Vicencio.

In the book of short essays titled Apartheid is a Heresy, editors John W. DeGruchy and Charles

Villa-Vicencio detail the beginnings of apartheid within various churches in South Africa showing that

churches and apartheid were hand-in-hand; “Christians and the church have provided the moral and

theological justification for racism and human degradation” (DeGruchy and Villa-Vicencio 5).

Although church leaders and laypersons eventually fought against apartheid and argued that scripture

actually did not support apartheid or noted that some parts of scripture showed that apartheid was in

opposition with Christian principles, apartheid was justified by scripture was supported by churches. In

1857, the Dutch Reformed Church passed a law forbidding black and white Christians from

participating in communion together (xi). Apartheid was “taken from its political framework and placed

in the center of the life of the Church.”

Churches across the world, except for those in South Africa, the editors explain, would allow

people of all races to attend services. Some church constitutions in South Africa excluded blacks from

memberships and endorsed the racial segregation of churches, “Apartheid is ... the 'sacred canopy'

which has systematically been created and theologically undergirded in order to promote and justify a
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system of oppression in South Africa” (xix). Racism, of course, had a great deal to do with apartheid,

but the editors draw attention to the fact that it was not the only contributing factor to oppression, “Not

only is South Africa the most blatantly racist country in the world, it is also the country where the

Church is most openly identified with the racism and oppression that exists in that society” (2).

Objections that were made in the early stages of apartheid were ignored by many churchgoers even

though they said that apartheid cannot be legitimized by Christianity, “The persistent cries of the black

people that the Church is not consistent with the demands of the Gospel of Jesus Christ have fallen on

deaf ears” (2).

In 1980, the editors note, it was “shown conclusively that the present policy of apartheid is

essentially the missionary policy of the white Dutch Reformed Churches, that these churches not only

provided a theological justification for this policy, but also worked out, in considerable detail, the

policy itself” (6). Churches sent legal proposals for apartheid laws, worked hard to implement

government policies, and delivered these plans in 1947 to the National Party of Africa which held

political power. A church official had the following to say once the National Party won in 1948, “As a

church, we always have worked purposefully for the separation of the races. In this regard apartheid

can rightfully be called a Church policy” (6). The authors place great blame on churches who endorsed

apartheid policies and say, “It is one thing when the rules and laws of unjust and oppressive

governments make this difficult or impossible for the Church. But it is quite another thing when

Churches willingly and purposely reject this unity [of races] for reasons of racial prejudice...” (8).

Villa-Vicencio notes that “it can be shown beyond all doubt that the Afrikaans Reformed

Churches gave birth to and have nourished the policy of apartheid. No honest and serious student of

South African politics and theology would try to deny that” (62). Generations of churchgoers heard

words of scripture from the pulpits that preachers used to justify apartheid. An overwhelming majority,

Villa-Vicencio notes, supported, justified, and promoted apartheid. If any preachers objected to the
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scriptural treatment supporting apartheid, local church councils would protest and newspapers would

feature these objections to apartheid in headlines as contrary to established thought (64). This

information coming from “Apartheid is a Heresy” confirms Mathabane's suspicions of Christianity

justifying apartheid and injustice toward blacks.

John W. de Gruchy's book, The Church Struggle in South Africa, further explores the link

between apartheid, pre-apartheid racism, and Christianity. He notes that there is a great deal of

evidence that many blacks regarded Christianity as a “white exploitative religion” and that Christian

missionaries were responsible for infringing upon black culture (de Gruchy 6). He also notes that

discrimination of blacks was based more on religion than race and even though baptism was supposed

to make all equal in the church, not all white settlers accepted this theology (7). Prior to apartheid,

missionaries supported racial segregation that “was not allowed simply for racial reasons” and “was a

way to facilitate mission work (7-8). As missionary programs developed, a blueprint for segregation

was formed that many believed to be in accord with God's will (9).

Mark Mathabane's book titled Kaffir Boy in America details Mathabane's life in America.

Mathabane discusses Christianity in parts of this book, repeats his previous objections to Christianity,

and notices further problems with Christianity. In his second book, Mathabane notes, “When I was still

a mere child apartheid had savagely robbed me of that innocence and trust without which such a faith is

impossible, and had planted in my mind the seeds of a skepticism doomed to persist so long as I

remained imprisoned under a system which maintained that the oppression and degradation of black

people was God's law” (“Kaffir Boy in America” 8). Mathabane notes, “Maybe someday, amid

freedom, in a society where I could read and question without fear of prosecution, I would get to the

bottom of this question of my mother's Christian God” (8). By his own admission, believing in the

Christian god was impossible for Mathabane up to this point in his life.
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Mathabane explains his education in South Africa to Americans who were unaware of the

education situation in South Africa for poor blacks. Mathabane explains,

Whites had the best schools, where, as part of the curriculum, they were

indoctrinated about the necessity for racial purity; the divine mission of

the white race in South Africa; the need to keep black's subservient; and

the Afrikaners' version of Christianity, which maintained, among other

absurdities, that integration and equality were communist ideas which

could be combated effectively only by a complete obedience to authority,

a deep religious faith, and a literal interpretation of the Bible. One such

interpretation claimed that the Old Testament story of the Tower of Babel

was divine proof for segregation (41).

Once again, Mathabane directly links Christianity to apartheid and explains that Christianity's fusion

with apartheid manifested itself in South African schools via indoctrination. Mathabane could not

possibly believe believe a religion which was in direct opposition to blacks.

Mathabane learned about televangelists and revival services in America by attending an event

featuring a faith healer. He notes, “The televangelist's rhetoric was that of a shrewd businessman, and

his gestures those of a consummate con man. He knew how to exploit people's fears and feelings of

inadequacy. … The entire hoax was no different from some of those performed by quacks I had

denounced in South Africa” (67). Mathabane easily sees through the facade and compares the

televangelist to the people he saw in South Africa who would exploit blacks. After the display of the

supposed healing of the sick, Mathabane notes, “That was all staged. That televangelist is no magician

and you know it. How could a human being like you and me perform that medically impossible?” (67).

Commenting about a friend who believes in the miracles of the televangelists, Mathabane says, “He

was one of those millions of Americans of sincere but blind faith, cunningly preyed on by charlatans in
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religious garb” (68). Since Mathabane's experience with the televangelist was similar to that of the

missionaries, and both appealed to the Christian god, Mathabane could not possibly believe the

extraordinary claims.

Mathabane notes that various Christian believers who are ignorant and narrow-minded give

Christianity a bad name by denying evolution, believing that the Bible must all be read literally, and

endorsing creationism. He notes that Darwin's theories [regarding evolution] are rational and scientific

and are required for a proper understanding of biology. Much of Christian history, Mathabane notes,

has “a checkered history” (248). The propaganda of Christianity, Mathabane believes, took a brutal

form in centuries of massacres and persecution of non-Christians who believed that their religion fell

from Heaven. (249). Mathabane's knowledge of the world from his experiences and educational

pursuits in incompatible with Christian claims.

Black preachers and laypersons who Mathabane met imitated the people who accepted

Christianity in South Africa and would not fight to make things better in this world because they

believed that all suffering would be remedied by an eternal life in Heaven. Black preachers “exhorted

their flocks to rivet their attention on the world to come, rather than attempt to solve the practical

problems of the world. They ignored or glossed over issues vital to the black community: racism,

crime, drugs, teen pregnancy, single-parenting, high dropout rates, alcoholism, child abuse, and gangs”

(254). Mathabane saw the black churches as self-defeating because of this and noted further problems

such as churches self-segregating themselves because they thought that whites they would work with

would try to “deprive them of influence and power” (254). Mathabane reasons, “Such a state of affairs

convinced me that the true faith had very little to do with […] numbing oneself to or withdrawing from

the painful realities of this world” (254).

Mathabane rejected Christianity and tribal beliefs and instead offered an alternative humanistic

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Instead, true faith, I felt, had everything to do with one's humanity. The

best religion, I concluded, is one that helps people become more loving

of their brethren, more understanding, more tolerant, more caring, more

helpful. It manifests itself in deeds, in earnest attempts to lead a virtuous

life, and not in hypocrisy, moral expediency, and power struggles. It

certainly is not a prescription given out each Sunday morning to solve

uneasy consciences (254).

Mathabane noticed that the presence of various religions greatly diminished the absolute truth claims

that each religion had to offer, “And since there were so many religions in the world and, as far as I

knew, none had a monopoly on God or salvation, nor possessed irrefutable evidence that its God was

the only true God...” (254).

Mark Mathabane encountered a tremendous deal of discrimination in South Africa under

apartheid and could not possibly believe that the Christian god existed. An omni-benevolent god,

Mathabane realized, is incompatible with the egregious amount of injustice that blacks had to face

under apartheid. Christianity's ties to apartheid and the theological justifications of apartheid used by

Christians were especially compelling and led Mathabane to reject the Christian god. Authors de

Gruchy and Villa-Vicencio confirm Mathabane's beliefs of the link between Christianity and apartheid

and show the readers of Mathabane's texts that his suspicions were justified. Mathabane's life in South

Africa showed no signs of miraculous happenings and Christianity or tribal beliefs were not beneficial.

Even after escaping apartheid and moving to America, Mathabane persisted in non-belief and saw

further problems that forced him to reject tribal beliefs and Christianity.
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Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1987. Print.

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