Fiela's Child

The Effects of Racism in South Africa in "Fiela's Child" 11th Grade

Though eventually peaking during Apartheid, the concept of racial prejudice was long deep rooted in nineteenth century South African society. Due to this, it was only natural for these issues to be reflected in Fiela’s Child, especially evident in the fates of the main characters. Ranging from the census’ desperation to separate Benjamin and the Komotie’s, Fiela’s mistreatment by the magistrate, and the Van Rooyen’s view on Benjamin’s upbringing, racist attitudes upheld in South Africa such as segregation and anti-blackness had a big impact on the fate of the protagonists, particularly resulting in the separation of Fiela and Benjamin until his adulthood.

To begin with, the elements of racial segregation in South Africa led to the conflict that influenced the entire story, Benjamin’s forced removal from the Komotie’s home and his forced induction into the Van Rooyen’s home. Although Fiela had taken in Benjamin at a young age and was responsible for him ever since, the census still believed that because she was black and he was white, Fiela’s actions were unjustified, as evident when they stated, “That did not give you the right to keep the child. It’s a white child!” (Matthee 22). Instead of thanking her for taking care of him,...

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