The Power of One

by: Bryce Courtenay

Geel Piet

Characters Geel Piet

Geel Piet (Yellow Peter) is a Cape Colored man who works at the Barberton prison. He becomes Peekay's boxing coach and teaches Peekay his famous egiht- punch combination. Geel Piet is most important, however, in that he teaches Peekay how to box rather than fight and Peekay calls him an "artist." Geel Piet is the only non-white character in the novel whom Peekay does not romanticize. Peekay sees Geel Piet for what he is-a criminal, a conniver, a generous friend, and a stellar boxing coach. Geel Piet introduces Peekay to the shadowy world of prison black markets and together they keep the prisoners with a supply of tobacco, letters, and sugar. Geel Piet acts as a foil to Peekay in that he is described as a "limbo man"-the man between white and black, the true man of Africa, liked by no one, despised by all. Peekay, too, represents all sides. He is the mediator between the English and Afrikaans boys at school in Barberton; the Afrikaans boxers call him a "proper boer" while his hordes of black supporters believe that he is one of their chiefs, come to avenge them and challenge the white government. Geel Piet is brutally murdered by one of the prison warders, Borman, and thus becomes Peekay's first direct experience with the horrors of pre-apartheid racism.