Anti-Apartheid Theme in "Master Harold"...and the Boys

Well aware of the dehumanization, devastating and harrowing consequents of color discrimination in South Africa, Fugard in his play Master Harold….. and the boys uses kites and dance as symbols to appeal for harmony and co-existence and presents characters whose emotional attachment, restraint regarding violence and moral guidance of others brings home the message of the need to end segregation and live in peace and harmony.

Athol Fugard (11 June 1932)

Though Hally has been culturally and psychologically conditioned and trained to think of himself as a master superior to the black characters, the time he spends in their company has helped develop his emotional attachment with them. He is in friendly terms with Sam and Willie. With his father absent for most of the time Hally finds Sam as a moral teacher. Though a black character, Sam provides the white boy sincere and responsible parenting. Though the title of the play is hierarchy, creating Fugard's intention is to help do away with such mentality. Hally and Sam fly kites together, which supports the idea of the Whites and Blacks working together. The kite flying in the sky suggests that both of them should rise above the walls and barriers resulting from racist thinking. It symbolically stands for working together and transcending race barriers. Dancing is a symbol as well. A dance doesn't look beautiful if the dancer doesn't move all the parts of the body harmoniously. There should be a balance in the movement of the parts of the whole. Society as a whole doesn't look beautiful and harmonious until and unless all of its units function in unison with each other. Though insulted by Hally's spitting Sam maintains restraint and extends the hand of friendship urging to live in harmony and peace. Sam teaches Hally how to do his homework, carries Hally's drunken father on his back and loves Hally the way a teacher loves his student.

Thus, by presenting the characters who work together and assist others despite racial difference Fugrad is sending out an anti-apartheid message. Giving symbolic significance to dance and kite flying he suggests living together as friends and brothers saying no to the practice of racial segregation which had so badly paralyzed South Africa.