Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ja, No, Man: Growing Up White in Apartheid-Era South Africa” as Want to Read:
Ja, No, Man: Growing Up White in Apartheid-Era South Africa
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Ja, No, Man: Growing Up White in Apartheid-Era South Africa

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  59 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
"Boet,"said Kevin, "there’s a jazz somewhere down by the assembly hall where okes can do what they smaak, and I hear from reliable sources that it’s lekker down there." Like most children of the 1970s and 1980s, Richard Poplak grew up obsessed with pop culture. Watching The Cosby Show, listening to Guns N’Roses, and quoting lines from Mad Max movies were part of his everyd ...more
Paperback, 344 pages
Published March 6th 2007 by Penguin Canada (first published 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ja, No, Man, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Ja, No, Man

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 109)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Graham Heslop
Feb 29, 2016 Graham Heslop rated it liked it
I can't say why I picked up Ja, No, Man in the 2nd hand book store, but I'm glad that the rear cover did enough to convince me to purchase and read it. Richard Poplak grew up in Johannesburg during the late 79s and throughout the 80s, until his family left for Canada. What made this book a worthwhile read was not a picture of South Africa during Apartheid's autumn years, but the insight into the South African psyche of that period, as Poplak met it in the various colourful characters he encounte ...more
Jul 08, 2010 Corey rated it liked it
Shelves: south-africa, africa
As far as memoirs go, this one was a light and entertaining read. It painted an interesting picture of life for white South African kids and teenagers during Apartheid. Many of the stories could have taken place anywhere in the world and didn't strike me as particularly South African. If I were to write a book describing my high school shenanigans, friends and teachers, I'm pretty sure no one would want to read it because some experiences are pretty universal and really not all that interesting. ...more
Apr 23, 2014 Trinette rated it liked it
Very insightful. Felt a bit like a rant.
Dec 05, 2010 Nicolette rated it really liked it
Ja, No, Man
Richard Poplak (Penguin)

RICHARD Poplak writes about his childhood as a small Jewish boy growing up in apartheid South Africa’s Johannesburg suburbs.
When Poplak was in high school, his family emigrated to Canada. This is a look back at his life, relationships and the rulers of the country he was not allowed to question at school.
Poplak writes the way South Africans speak, and with our variety of slang it makes for enthralling reading. — Nicolette Scrooby

(Published in the Daily Dispatch
Jun 12, 2013 Leif rated it liked it
Poplak knows how to spin a tale, but stretches the threads a little scanty here in more than a few places. His memoirs walk a difficult line and, to his credit, he is conscious of his own failings as well as the inanities of moral guardians. Perhaps best about the book is its admittedly flawed, human perspective; worst, its occasional grasping for some form of moral universality. Still, it is eminently readable and sympathetically drawn.
Oct 11, 2009 Alexis rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
An extremely interesting look at what it was like to grow up as a white child in apartheid era South Africa. Poplak looks at the effects of institutionalized racism on some of his relationships and his understanding of pop culture, as well as some of the weird social customs that occurred during the period. Lagged a little at the end, but still very interesting.
Lesley Rollins
Jul 12, 2013 Lesley Rollins rated it liked it
Found it a bit pedestrian after the Spud books by John van Riet. While set in a different era, I found the memoirs rambling at times and the characters sad. It reminded me of my past. An era where children had power over other South Africans. I just abandoned it.
May 15, 2012 Tim rated it it was ok
I never finished this book. After books like Mukiwa, Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, and My Traitors Heart, well, most of our stories as white kids growing up under Apartheid will seem dull. Which this was.
Kat Ogden
Kat Ogden marked it as to-read
Sep 17, 2016
Tyrone marked it as to-read
Aug 04, 2016
Inge marked it as to-read
Jun 22, 2016
Nicole marked it as to-read
Jun 21, 2016
Stephen Horn
Stephen Horn marked it as to-read
Jun 15, 2016
Paul Trzaski
Paul Trzaski is currently reading it
May 23, 2016
Irene K
Irene K marked it as to-read
Mar 01, 2016
Stuart Turton
Stuart Turton marked it as to-read
Feb 23, 2016
Catherine Poole
Catherine Poole marked it as to-read
Dec 20, 2015
TheSlothPrincess rated it really liked it
Nov 18, 2015
Danila Botha
Danila Botha rated it it was amazing
Oct 09, 2015
Janel rated it liked it
Oct 13, 2015
Lauren Basson
Lauren Basson rated it liked it
Jul 27, 2015
Gary rated it liked it
Aug 05, 2015
Amanda added it
Jul 02, 2015
Daniel Harris
Daniel Harris rated it really liked it
Jun 23, 2015
Leigh rated it really liked it
Apr 30, 2015
Wayne Hawthorne
Wayne Hawthorne rated it really liked it
Apr 24, 2015
Camilla Macaulay
Camilla Macaulay marked it as to-read
Apr 19, 2015
Julie marked it as to-read
Sep 25, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Richard Poplak is the author of the acclaimed Ja, No, Man: Growing Up White in Apartheid-era South Africa and The Sheikh's Batmobile: In Pursuit of American Pop Culture in the Muslim World. He has written for, among others, The Walrus, THIS Magazine, Toronto Life, and The Globe & Mail and has directed numerous short films, music videos and commercials. He lives in Toronto, Ontario."
More about Richard Poplak...

Share This Book