Apartheid Experience of Black Africans in Alex La Guma’s a Walk in the Night and Peter Abraham’s Tell Freedom

Apartheid Experience of Black Africans in Alex La Guma’s a Walk in the Night and Peter Abraham’s Tell Freedom 

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Table of contents


Background to the Study

Statement of the Problem

Purpose of the Study

Significance of the Study

Objective of the Study

Research Methodology

Scope/Delimitation of the Study

Bio Data of the Author

The Bio-Data of Peter Abraham

Definition of Terms




Plot Analysis of Alex La Guma’s A Walk In The Night

Themes in Alex La Guma’s A Walk in the Night 


Styles in Alex La Guma’s A Walk in the Night    

Characterization in Alex La Guma’s A Walk in the Night       


Plot Analysis of Peter Abraham’s Tell Freedom 

Themes in Peter Abraham’s Tell Freedom 

The theme of racial discrimination

The theme of denial of Education

Styles in Peter Abraham Tell Freedom

Characterization in Peter Abraham’s Tell Freedom      






Works Cited



This study explores the apartheid experiences of black Africans in Alex Laguma’s A Walk in the Night and Peter Abraham’s Tell Freedom. The concept of apartheid describes the political, social, and economic discrimination in South Africa mete on the blacks by the whites. In the selected texts, A Walk in the Night projects the injustice and brutality of the apartheid system where Michael Adonis is fired for requesting a bathroom break and the policemen harass the black population till the point Willieboy is shot by Raalt who thinks he killed the white man, Doughty.

However, Tell Freedom shows the blacks living in a poverty-stricken environment, and cannot share the same school’s drinks, food or house with their white counterparts; yet, are made not complain. In the light of this, this project chronicles the experiences of the blacks in the apartheid system as it demeans and dehumanizes them.




1.1     Background to the Study

Apartheid, an Afrikaans word meaning “A state of being apart” was a system of racial segregation in South Africa, enforced through legislation by the national party (NP) Government, which was the ruling party in South Africa from 1949-1990.

Apartheid had decimate effects not only on the blacks but anyone classified as non-whites in South Africa. Racial segregation has been for centuries but the new policy started in 1948 which was stricken and more systematic.

However, this policy did not leave any aspect of social life untouched. This experience was so formidable as blacks were to present “a pass” before they could walk freely on the road. Infact, a black man with a pass reported by Fugard in Sizwe is Dead was better than to exist without a “pass” for a life without a pass was worst than dead itself.


However, the purpose of the South African Apartheid laws was to force the black community not to mingle with the white community. Besides, this ensured that they had to live in separate neighbourhoods, use separate public transport, medical care, and public beaches. It also included the prohibition of marriage between whites and non-whites.

Therefore, it is on the above crises that this work aimed at examining the Apartheid experiences of Black Africans in Alex Laguma’s A Walk in the Night and Peter Abraham’s Tell Freedom.


Apartheid Experience of Black Africans in Alex La Guma’s a Walk in the Night and Peter Abraham’s Tell Freedom

1.2     Statement of the Problem

Apartheid itself was a problem the blacks experienced during that era. However, the majority of the native (non-whites) were treated differently from whites (including blacks and other minorities and even poor whites) were forced to live in different areas, go to separate stores, schools and hospitals, treated differently at work and were not allowed to interact with the whites.

Undeniably, Michael suffers the same fate in A walk in the Night. Moreover, he was unfairly fired. In addition, he uses alcohol to hell quell his rage. Hence, at one point, he is harassed by a police officer. He eventually heads home to face the consequence of being unemployed and only to find himself in the gang just to survive.

Nelson Mandela suffered suit even in his home town. This racial discrimination and segregation become a thing of interest to the researchers as the experienced are shared in the discourse.


1.3     Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to examine the apartheid in South Africa.

Specifically, the research work will consider the following South African literature:

(i)      Apartheid experience as portrayed in Alex Laguma’s A walk in the Night.

(ii)     Apartheid experience as portrayed in Peter Abraham’s Tell Freedom.

(iii)    Nelson Mandela’s A long walk to Freedom.

This study will expose the wickedness of the white against black and the racial segregation.


1.4     Significance of the Study

The study will help the readers to understand the ills of the Apartheid Government.

Also the knowledge acquired from this study will be very useful to other researchers who may carry further studies in related or similar area.


1.5     Objective of the Study

The following constitute the objectives of this research work:

(i)      To know the meaning and origin of Apartheid

(ii)     To portrays the effects and consequences of Apartheid policies on the Blacks.


1.6     Research Methodology

The primary sources in this research are the two selected novels which are: Alex Laguma’s A walk in the Night and Peter Abraham’s Tell Freedom. While the secondary source will employ the critical works from academic books, literary journals, library, magazine and internet source.

This research will expose the discrimination of the coloured against the non coloured during the Apartheid rule.


1.7     Scope/Delimitation of the Study

The research work concentrated on the experience of the blacks during Apartheid system using Alex Laguma’s A walk in the Night and Peter Abraham’s Tell Freedom. This study will also provide details from other works.


1.8(a) Bio Data of the Author

Alex La Guma was born in District six Cape Town. He was the son of James La Guma a leading figure in both the industrial and commercial workers union and the South African communist party in 1948.

Indeed, he was a South African novelist, leader of the South African coloured people’s organization (SACPO) and a defendant in the Treason Trial, whose works help characterize the movement against the Apartheid era in South Africa.

In addition, he attended Trafalgar High School in District Six in Cape Town. Thus, after graduating from a Technical School in 1945, he was an active member of the plant workers union of the Metal Box Company.

Additionally, he was chief representative of the African National Congress in the Caribbean at the time of his death in Havana, Cuba, in 1985. In 1984, he was appointed officer of Arts and letters by the French Ministry of culture. Although La Guma was an inspiration of an inspired by the growing resistance to apartheid, notably the Black consciousness movement, his connection to these groups was indirect.

La Guma’s works include the following:

(i)      A walk in the Night and other stories (1962)

(ii)     And a threefold cord (1964)

(iii)    The stone-country (1967)

(iv)    In the fog of the season’s end (1972)

(v)     Time of the Butcherbird (1976)


1.8(b)          The Bio-Data of Peter Abraham

Peter Abraham was born on 3rd March 1919 at Vrededorp, South Africa. In 1939, he left South Africa and worked as a sailor and as a journalist in London.

Afterwards, he worked as an editor for the Daily worker, a communist Newspaper and became involved in the Pan-African Movement. Thus, most of his novels and short stories are based on his early life in South Africa.

In the mid-1950’s Abrahams was commissioned to write a history of Jamaica (Jamaica: An Island Mosaic [1957]) and soon after, he moved his family to the Island. There he became editor of the West Indian Economist and worked for Radio Jamaica, until 1964, when he gave up most of his duties so that he could devote himself full-time to writing.

Abrahams works include the following:

Dark Testament (1942);

Song of the City (1945);

The Path of Thunder (1945);

Wild conquest (1953);

A Wreath for Udoma (1965);

A Night of their own (1960);

The Black Experiences in the 20th;

An Autobiography and Meditation (2000);

Reality Check (2009).


1.9     Definition of Terms

Apartheid: In brief, apartheid is a policy or system of segregation or discrimination on grounds of race. It enforced racial discrimination against non-whites mainly focused on skin colour and facial feature.





This chapter focuses on the opinions, ideas and criticisms of other scholars as regards the present study.

Joselyn Nya

My Name is Joselyn Nya A Publisher in Project Boss Team. I'm a Nigerian I'm a graduate/Educational Researcher. Project Boss Team. We are the best for Project materials and project writing services. Email: admin@projectboss.com.ng

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