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Mine Boy

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  351 ratings  ·  31 reviews
First published in 1946, this novel exposed the condition of black South Africans under a white regime. It presents a portrait of labour discrimination, appalling housing conditions and one man's humanitarian act of defiance.
Paperback, 184 pages
Published September 18th 2008 by Longman Publishing Group (first published January 1st 1976)
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Jerome Kuseh
I first read this book as a child and I re-read it last year. The book shows the way black South Africans lived in the predominantly black parts of the cities in the 1940s.

Under the oppressive cloud of apartheid, the rich urban culture of black people is explored in the book. Particularly the clash between the rural communism, represented by Xuma (the protagonist), and the urban individualism that black people had to adopt to survive the discrimination. Through Eliza, the love interest of Xuma,
Mine Boy was published in 1946 and is a seminal work of African fiction. While apartheid didn’t become official law of the land until 1948, Abrahams describes the brutalizing social and economic separatism that was already in effect. It chills as you read to know that the injustice will only get worse and endure for another half century. Written by a twenty-seven year old black South African who later emigrated to Jamaica, Mine Boy tells the story of a young man’s coming of age in Malay Camp, a ...more
Mine Boy was the first black South African novel ever written. It gives the reader an in-depth view of what life was like during the height of the gold-mining era in South Africa, how blacks were treated during this time, and overall, what it was like to be black during this time. The main character, Xuma, struggles with many things during this novel, but his overall struggle is with his somewhat apathetic attitude towards the way things are. And I think this is what Abrahams tries to do through ...more
This was the second of four books assigned for my African Lit class, and honestly, it wasn't at all what I'd expected. As a white American, the stories I've absorbed about apartheid focused on injustice and racialized oppression, and don't get me wrong: those are major factors in this book. However, Mine Boy wasn't just about suffering; it was, in the main, about overcoming and the endurance of humanity and community. The bulk of the story takes place within the black township of Vrededorp and f ...more
Benj FitzPatrick
I'd give this one 4.5 stars if I could. It's an accessible narrative of a working-class south african man discovering his needs and his place in society (namely that his place in society should not be dictated by his race). While similar in content to "The Life and Times of Michael K" or "Master Harold and the Boys," it tells the story sans the obnoxious whining and preaching (especially of the former).
Very good piece of literature of South Africa and describing apartheid. (Junior year world history)
Mine Boy is an unsung gem, amazing and much more potent than Alan Paton's Cry the Beloved Country . In fact, the two do not necessarily warrant comparison except for the fact that of the two, Paton's book is one of the few classic South African novels that one might encounter in U.S. high schools and undergrad. Some readers have complained of the simplicity of Abraham's language or "cardboard" characters. For me, it's that very simplicity that makes the story such a dramatic tale; it's language ...more
Written very much in the Hemingway-esque plain style - dialog predominates, knitted together with short, almost disjoint sentences; plus the all-purpose understated adjective "good" ("it was...", "she was..."). A rural black South African comes down to Johannesburg in the mid 1940s to work in the mines and we are treated to a picture of township life, with details of its social class structure and the quotable phrase "Skokiaan Queens" to describe female operators of shebeens (itself a wonderful ...more
Apartheid in South Africa and the lives it affected. This book is an emotional trek.
Jonathan Nthuseni
This book i read it on 2007 when i was doing matric at Tshivhase high School, On that time i was not having a picture of how joburg it was during apartheid but this book Mine Boy it makes me to have pictures about how life it was on that.Now i hv 5 years when i passed matric i dont know were i could find this book again. I realy loves this book more than my girl friend wish if i can get it again.

Peter Abrahams
Although the book is written in short sentences it somehow lacks on readability. But it is just maybe it was my first book from an African writer and I just have to get accustomed to the style. The story itself was good and the last few chapters even very good, when Xuma started to think about a world without colors and behave like a man.
Ntwanano Nkuna
The novels focuses on the apartheid era, it shows how blacks were supressed by whites. What I enjoyed most about the book was that it showed how family plays an imperative role in our lives, whatever you do where it be wrong or right your family will always stand by you.

Rating: 3/5
Just happened to pick this off of a book cart in the hospital, and I'm glad I did. Despite what happens to Xuma, I never felt sorry for him. He was in tune with who he was and followed his passion. We learned as Xuma learned his new environment. I liked it a lot.
Great fictional story about the rigors of living and working as a young black South African in the mines under apartheid rule. Characters are very memorable such as Patty the Red, Xuma, Leah, Maisy and Joseph. Story is short as well.
Bob Young
What a fantastic book...picked it up second hand at Chaham Booksellers...the black experience around Johannesberg in the first half of the 20th century...a small novel packed with thought and feeling...4.5 stars if I could...
Ikoyi Adukwu
Peter Abraham's Mine Boy gave me an insight into what the blacks went through in those days. The main character Xuma depicts the suffering and humiliation of the blacks in the hands of the whites. Thank God for Nelson Mandela.
Strangely I had never heard of this book until a Kenyan friend recommended it last year. I don't know how Peter Abrahams does it (and I'm not an authority to say), but I think he really "gets" a black South African mine worker.
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Different from anything else I've read. I don't like that the revelations come from the main character's conversations with a white man, but otherwise pretty cool.
Back then, I used to have associated images for every character in this book. That is due to the emotional building ip that Abrahams brings. That was 15 years ago
A lovely story of township life in South Africa. Richly delineated and very likeable characters.
The Jungle, in about a third the time. Even manages to shoehorn in a pretty decent love story
Read Mine Boy during college for a history of Africa class. Powerful story. Read African writers!
I think is a great book, that talks about love b/n two South African in the capital town.
That is an amaizing book ever...It is a historical book in which one can learn from.
رواية عن التمييز العنصري و توثيق لحقبة تاريخية لجنوب أفريقيا
Khanyisile malamule
One of the best South African Books I have ever Read.
Interesting, but a bit hard to stick with.
Feb 25, 2011 David added it
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Peter Abrahams is a South African novelist currently residing in Jamaica.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.
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