Mandela Childhood - Chief Joyi

Mandela Childhood - Chief Joyi Visual Arts Biographies Famous People Social Studies World History

As John Carlin researched Mandela's background (for his book Playing the Enemy), he interviewed Chief Joyi (seen in the center of this picture).  Some of Carlin's interviews are included in FRONTLINE's "The Long Walk of Nelson Mandela."

An important person in young Mandela's life, Chief Joyi describes how South African black children viewed South African whites during Mandela's youth:

Carlin:  Chief Joyi, in those early days when Mandela was a young man, before he went to Johannesburg, how were white people seen by the people here, the residents of this part of the world? How were they viewed?

Chief Joyi: The white people were a threat to the blacks. That I can say. And the blacks were dead scared of the white people. The white people were dominant, in police stations ... churches, schools. I remember when I was a school boy, I was still very young, I might have been between seven and eight years ... a piggery farmer or a butcher man used to come to my grandfather looking for pigs. The moment I saw him, I would run for dear life, because I have never seen a man, or anybody, with a white face. I was scared of him.

And while we were at the veld [field] herding sheep and goats and cattle, the policemen on horseback, a white policemen ... when they come to us boys, herdboys, they would get off their horsebacks, and demanded to see our kieries [knob-sticks]. If any one of us would be carrying a knobkierie[knob-stick with a large knob at the top] they would demand that that boy put the head of the kierie into his mouth, in order to determine whether it's dangerous or not. If it couldn't fit into his mouth, he would be arrested for carrying a dangerous weapon. So that is the way the whites were seen by those days by the black people.

Carlin:  Was that the same experience that Nelson Mandela had?

Chief J. Mtirara: Definitely so, because he also grew up as a herdboy. He must have experienced that.

Pictured with Chief Joyi are Chief Ndaba Mtirara (on the left) and Chief Jonginyaniso Mtirara (on the right).

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5183stories and lessons created

Original Release: Oct 07, 2013

Updated Last Revision: Sep 19, 2019

Media Credits

Image online, courtesy FRONTLINE and PBS.

Quoted passage from John Carlin's interview of Chiefs Joyi, N. Mtirara and J. Mtirara.  Online, courtesy FRONTLINE.


To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"Mandela Childhood - Chief Joyi" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Sep 19, 2019.
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