Friday, April 15, 2011

Quotes for Friday from Peter Abrahams' Mine Boy

Today's Friday Quotes come from a book I would be reviewing next week. Usually, I review before the quote but I have been slow in my reading for some time now and so do not have an already read book to quote from. Mine Boy by Peter Abrahams is described as the first modern novel of black South Africa. This is also the first novel I have read by a black South African. Note that it was published in 1946, two years before the institution of apartheid in 1948.

I am no good and I cannot help myself. It will be right if you hate me. You should beat me. But inside me there is something wrong. And it is because I want the things of the white people. I want to be like the white people and go where they go and do the things they do and I am black. I cannot help it. Inside I am not black and I do not want to be a black person. (Page 60)

The only place where he was completely free was underground in the mines. There he was a master and knew his way. There he did not even fear his white man, for his white man depended on him. He was the boss boy. He gave the orders to the other mine boys. They would do for him what they would not do for his white man or any other white man. (Page 61)

His white man had even tried to make friends with him because the other mine boys respected him so much. But a white man and a black man cannot be friends. They work together. That's all. (Page 61)

He's just a mine boy ... Yes. Grand, but not a human being yet. Just a mine boy. (Page 67)

A man's a man to the extent that he asserts himself. There's no assertion in your mine boy. There is confusion and bewilderment and acceptance. Nothing more. (Page 68)

So many people who consider themselves progressives have their own weird notions about the native, but they all have one thing in common. They want to decide who the good native is and they want to do good things for him. [...] They want to think for him and he must accept their thoughts. And they like him to depend on them. (Page 68)

It is not enough to destroy, you must build as well. Build up a stock of faith in your breast in native Zuma, mine boy, who has no social conscience, who cannot read or write and cannot understand his wanting what you want. (Page 69)

The natives did not like locations, and besides, they were all full, so the white man had started townships in the outlying district of Johannesburg in the hope of killing Vrededorp and Malay Camp. (Page 95)

If a man loves a woman he loves her. That is all. There is no bad and there is no good. There is only love. The only thing that is bad is if a man loves a woman and she loves him not. (Page 119)

A woman finds a man and the whole world is a new place. And the fighting stiffness that was ever in her body, goes. And the hardness of her head stops and she does not think any more with her head but feels with her heart. Yes, it is ever so. And with a man it is so too. His shoulders square and a smile is not far from his lips and there is a new certainty in him. Yes. It has ever been so and it will ever be so when a man and a woman love. (Page 123)

If a woman loves a man she does that which is good for him. (Page 124)

Hard work helps the heart (153)


  1. Interesting quotes. The first two, and the ones on love and relationships stand out. Food for thought.

  2. I like these; they're all fascinating in their own way. The quotes about love are beautiful of course!

  3. love them too, those quotes on love.


Help Improve the Blog with a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Featured post

Njoroge, Kihika, & Kamiti: Epochs of African Literature, A Reader's Perspective

Source Though Achebe's Things Fall Apart   (1958) is often cited and used as the beginning of the modern African novel written in E...