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When we moved from the farm, my mother was especially concerned about my survival. How would her youngest child negotiate the drama of township life; how would he transform from a suspected maplazini to an accepted urban, township boy? As a child, Thabo Abram Molefe, along with his family, is impelled into the apartheid-era tradition of rural-to-urban transition. Moving from a farm to a multi-ethnic and vibrant township in the heart of Heidelberg, the birthplace of Eugene Terre Blanche's AWB, proves to be both a challenge and an adventure as he works to evade the nickname that has followed him as a result, maplazini, Sotho for dumb country bumpkin.
Native Boy explores a young man's complex relationship with identity and race, seen through the lens of township life. Moreover, it is about his journey to escape the socio-economic trap of the apartheid regime to forever limit the black man to a life of hardship. Mixing intelligent critique with candid humour, Molefe's memoir shines light on the experience of being black in South Africa, both during apartheid and after, and the material and psychological legacies of its policies.