Crackling Day By Peter Abrahams Essay

3536 words - 14 pages

"˜Crackling day' is a story about a young black boy in South Africa that challenges three white youths and, in so doing, challenges the political system of the whole country. The very famous writer Peter Abrahams wrote it.It set in Africa in the times of apartheid. Apartheid was a "˜system' or a mentality as it were was apposed on South Africa after the Second World War and the country gained independence from Great Britain. This did not mean that it would be the South Africans that "˜ran' the country, as it was the British that were still in control. Apartheid laws were imposed on South Africa in 1948 and on June 13, 1950 the Group Areas Act was enacted. It segregated communities and relegated the black population to a minor percentage of the nation's land, therefore meaning that white people mostly owned the land and the land on which the black people resided was often not even theirs. Everyone in the country had to register themselves as white, black (African), or coloured (of mixed race e.g. Asian).In 1953, the Public Safety Act and the Criminal Law Amendment Act were passed, which empowered the government to declare stringent states of emergency and increased penalties for protesting against or supporting the repeal of a law. The penalties included fines, imprisonment and whippings. In 1960, a large group of blacks in Sharpsville refused to carry their passes; the government declared a state of emergency. The emergency lasted for 156 days, leaving 69 people dead and 187 people wounded. Wielding the Public Safety Act and the Criminal Law Amendment Act, the white regime had no intention of changing the unjust laws of apartheid.In 1989 there were approximately 19 million blacks in the country and on 4.5 million whites and yet whites had 87% of the land and blacks owned only 13%. The whites also received about 75% of the countries income with the blacks receiving 25% or less. The health and education services that blacks were allowed was also appalling with one doctor per 44,000 blacks whereas the whites had one doctor per 400 people and 1 teacher per 60 blacks whereas there was 1 teacher per 22 whites.Apartheid and how it affected people is the main subject of the story and can clearly be seen throughout. Lee had to collect cow dung everyday so that he, his Aunt and his Uncle could use it as fuel. It was the only material that they could use for cooking and as a fire, possibly the only thing that they could use to keep their "˜house' warm. Lee and all "˜the children of the location made the long trek to Elsberg siding for the square of pig's rind that passed for out daily meat'. The children had to do this once a week, every Wednesday. Also not the place where the lived was simply "˜the location' and had no name, whereas the place they were heading towards (where all the white people lived) did have a name, Elsberg. This gives the reader the thought that where the black people lived was considered a place...

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