When Xuma moves to Johannesburg he is naïve country boy, but the impact of harsh city life awakens him to the new ways and values of a radically different world. His vision of a ‘man without colour’, a raceless society, is shattered by the realities of his underprivileged existence. First published in 1946, this novel was one of his first books to expose universally the condition of black South Africans under a white regime. Abraham’s forceful but restrained images of discrimination in the gold mines, the appalling housing and Xuma’s simple, humanitarian act of defiance, struck a cord around the world. Mine Boy has remained a central influence on South African fiction for over fifty years.
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