UCA News

Kaffir Boy’ Author Mark Mathabane To Speak At UCA

CONWAY — The University of Central Arkansas’ African and African-American Studies program, the History department and the Schedler Honors College are hosting a public talk by Dr. Mark Mathabane, the celebrated author of “Kaffir Boy,” on Thursday, Feb. 7, from 1:40-2:40 p.m. in the UCA College of Business Auditorium. Mathabane’s talk will be on the topic of ubuntu, an African philosophy that he believes is crucial in addressing intractable issues of race in America.

Mark Mathabane
Mark Mathabane

Born and raised in South Africa during the apartheid period, Mathabane touched the hearts of millions with his memoir, ”Kaffir Boy,” which demonstrated the effects of South Africa’s system of legalized racism and oppression on black lives. The book received rave reviews globally and was praised by Oprah Winfrey and President Bill Clinton, among others, for inspiring hope and demonstrating the power of education. The book is used in high school and college classrooms across the U.S. and is on the American Library Association’s List of “Outstanding Books for the College-Bound.”

“Mark Mathabane is not only a great intellectual and a gifted writer, but his life story is a testament to his strong will to overcome the immense adversities wrought upon black South Africans by the racist system of apartheid,” said Dr. Michael Kithinji, co-director of UCA’s African and African-American Studies Program. “His success against all odds serves as an inspiration to everyone, especially those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. It is a great honor to have him come and speak to the UCA community.”

Mathabane’s talk will be centered around the topic of ubuntu and will reference his latest book, “The Language of Ubuntu: How An African Philosophy Can Inspire Racial Healing in America.”

In the book, Mathabane uses his experiences with race in both South Africa and America to challenge Americans of all races and political beliefs to use the philosophy of ubuntu – a Zulu word for “our common humanity” – to heal the deep divisions tearing the nation apart.

Members of both the UCA and the Conway communities are invited to attend. For more information, contact Kithinji at (501) 450-5650 or mkithinji@uca.edu.

The interdisciplinary African and African-American Studies (AAAS) Program at UCA dedicates itself to teaching and researching about Africa and its various diasporas, especially in the Americas and Europe. The program brings together a wide spectrum of experts to explore and reveal the multifarious experiences and perspectives of people of African descent as well as to theorize and historicize racism, sexism, classism, homophobia and other markers of difference. For more information, visit uca.edu/africanamericanstudies.

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