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Athol Fugard's play "Master Harold" and the Boys depicts life in South Africa during the apartheid era. It reveals how the inferior Black racial group differed from the dominating White race in terms of mentality, attitude, and social relationships. Throughout apartheid, racial prejudice was highly frequent and always present. The ramifications were immense for Black people, who were effectively imprisoned on their own land. Whites shaped their lives, educated them, and introduced legislation for Blacks. As a result, most of the time, the connection between the two divisive racial groups was strained, since the life of a Black native South African was repressed. Master Harold, a White man also known as Hally, the Black Sam, and a Black servant named Willy are the play's three major characters. Both Sam and Willy work for Harold's family as servants. The subsequent sections will explain Hally's connection with his servants, as well as Hally's childhood, White attitudes regarding Black society, and genuine friendship.
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During apartheid, the average connection between a Black and a White was strained. The dominating people were the Whites, who acted as masters, while the Blacks were considered inherently inferior and hence oppressed. The relationship between Hally and Sam, on the other hand, deviates from the norm. Theirs is a more amicable and open connection. Unlike Willy, who speaks to Hallly as "Master Harold," Sam refers to the White adolescent simply as Hally. Apparently, this was not very frequent during apartheid, with most Blacks finding themselves in Willy's shoes. Sam, like the majority of Black people, is uneducated. He is, nevertheless, curious about learning and gets his education via Hally's textbooks, which he brings home later school. Their cordial connection is illustrated by their discussions on a variety of educational topics and world luminaries. All through the conversation, both Sam and Hally present counter-arguments to each other, and both characters succeed in winning one reason over the other. Since Hally accepts Sam's choice of Alexander Fleming as a great guy, it exemplifies their friendship. First and foremost, most Black people have no idea who Alexander Fleming was or what he contributed to medical achievements, and it was only via Hally that Sam learned about him. This case highlights the enormous communication differences between Sam and Hally's partnership and other White-Black partnerships in apartheid rule.
Hally spent a lot of his childhood following school at the "servant's quarter," either because he was bored or because his parents didn't have time to entertain him. He also used to hide from his mother there. Both Sam and Willy used to amuse oneself with Hally in the "servant's quarter," entertaining and playing games with him. During this time, the three shared a variety of interests, including boxing, dancing, and checker activities. Hally joyfully recalls this time period and vividly describes the surrounding area. This demonstrates how much Hally enjoyed her stay with Sam and Willy. It is implied that Hally did not mind having Blacks as friends or that he did not regard them as his family's servants. Nevertheless, Hally's attitude changes during the play's plot, illustrating the White dominant racial thinking toward Blacks. The kite storey is the clearest example and description of the White mentality. Sam had created him a kite out of a Tomato-box, wood, brown paper, flour and water glue, and two of his mother's old socks for a tail while Hally was a young child spending quality time in the "servant's quarter" one day. Hally was ashamed and apprehensive about being spotted flying this kite created by a Black, despite their fraternal, loving, and open relationship. His concerns were straightforward. Noone would say anything when a White made a kite that didn't fly correctly. Nevertheless, if a Black kite fails to climb high in the sky and fly, White society will condemn the ignorant Black. Hally probably trusted Sam, but he didn't want to say that in front of the Whites and risk being humiliated because of his colour. Hally, on the other hand, chooses to fly the kite and so transcends the social divide that separates the White and Black races. As the play progresses, this theme becomes more important.
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Despite the fact that Hally discriminates against Sam and treats him unfairly near the end of the play, Sam emerges as a loyal friend and a champion of justice. Hally is confronted with reality by Sam's lesson, and he is offered Sam's true friendship. At the conclusion of the day, Sam wanted to keep Hally from feeling embarrassed about so many things, including his ailing father and himself. Sam never wanted Hally to be self-conscious. Hally sat down on a "Whites Only" bench while holding Sam's kite, which is eventually revealed to the viewer or reader. Hally used to like sitting on that seat as a child, with something given to him by a Black servant. This was not the case later in his life, and it was something Sam had always wanted to avoid. Sam restores harmony between himself and Hally by providing him another kite fly and promising him that he would be available for him whenever he wants. "You don't have to sit alone up there." You understand what that bench symbolises now, and you can leave it whenever you choose. All you have to do now is rise up and walk." This demonstrates that Hally cannot be classified as a member of the "Whites Only" group in reality. Hally admires Sam, who has, at the end of the day, given the White child a lesson as a Black man.
Hence, it can be said that it is a powerful play about the damage of apartheid and the corrosive nature of shame. There is no "action" per se, all the dialogue takes place in one setting, the St. George's Park Tea Room, and is spoken by only three characters - two adult black men (Sam and Willie) who work at the tea room and the white seventeen-year-old son of the owner (Hally/Master Harold). It's 1950, and the relationship between the boy and the two men is impressively complicated. They, especially Sam, are the fathers he grew up with but also the "boys" of the play. Hally's own father is a cripple and a drunk, but Hally ends up directing all his anger onto Sam by the end of the play, changing forever the nature of their bond. He is an awful boy, lacking in compassion but deserving ours because we understand what has perverted his heart. What a sorrowful drama.
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