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The Power Of One Summary

5 min read ⌚ 

The Power Of One PDFThe book is basically the heart of South Africa, as it covers both sides of the story. The racial intolerance is spreading, and the apartheid era is going in history.

Now, an independent state, the South Africans can look back, and see how these ethnic prejudices hampered the technological and industrial progression of South Africa.

Without further ado, let’s jump into the plot!

Who Should Read “The Power of One”? And Why?

A novel translated into dozens of languages stands to reason why this novel is labeled as one of the greatest in the late 20th century.

The Power of One is best-suited for all people, especially for those living in mixed-ethnic environments and society. It helps you see the big picture, and refrain from judgment.

Don’t delude yourself with hatred, and open your eyes!

Bryce Courtenay Biography

Bryce CourtenayBryce Courtenay was a South African novelist, and a renowned advertising director who left a legacy of memories, and compelling work.

He died at the age of 79 in Australia.


The Power of One is a compelling novel which revolves around the life of a South African Boy named Peekay, as he trains to beat the odds and become a world boxing champion. He is guided by the fire burning inside him to “return the compliment” to school bullies who made his life miserable.

On the brink of the largest clash in human history, Peekay is living on a farm with his mother and nanny. It’s 1939; the world is preparing for a clash followed by egregious violence and crimes against humanity. He starts attending a boarding school and is frequently bullied by other African kids because he is English-boy.

They find a suitable nickname for him – Piskop, which can be roughly translated into “piss-head.” The mastermind behind the bullying is a bad-tempered boy with a swastika tattoo on its arm. He provokes Peekay by saying that Hitler will defeat England in next to no time, and drive England away from their land. South Africa will no longer be just a satellite state of the mighty United Kingdom.

The oppression he suffers there makes Peekay vulnerable, and he begins to wet his bed occasionally. Upon his arrival, he asks for help from Zulu (his nanny), to show him how to get rid of the “wetting” problem.

Peekay is miraculously cured by a medicine man, who comes to his aid and gives him a magic chicken. The doctor also instructs Peekay on how to summon up his strength and courage – named “the power of one.”

Peekay feels equipped and ready to face his school bullies. Nonetheless, things take a turn for the worse, as the bullies continue to give him a hard time, and beat him up on a regular basis. He is even forced by Judge to kill his chicken.

Peekay can’t stand it anymore, and can barely sit still. He counts on the doctor to help him, and psych him up once more. Despite the early enthusiasm, he doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to cross that bridge. In the last moment, he is instructed to go to his grandfather’s house by train instead of returning to the small farm.

On this trip, Peekay bumps into Hoppie Groenewald, a boxer who shares his viewpoints and encourages him to become a boxing champion. Upon his arrival in Barberton, Peekay hears the disconcerting news – his mother had fired the nanny because she refused to convert into a born-again Christian.

While staying at his grandfather’s home, he lays eyes on a German Professor, who helps Peekay with his piano lessons. When the two superpowers collided, Hitler’s Germany and Churchill’s England; Doc (the German Professor) gets arrested and sent to prison.

Peekay becomes a frequent visitor in prison, and he even enrolls in the prison-boxing program. He receives first-class instructions and training from an experienced boxer named Geel Piet. Geel is half white and half black; the embodiment of South Africa that shall emerge in years to come.

After practicing with Geel, Peekay decides to provide support for the prison-boxing team in all regards. He starts to smuggle cigarettes and exchange letters for the prisoners, which helps him to earn the nickname Tadpole Angel. The guards have a sneaking suspicion about activities that are flying under the radar.

One of the guards catches Geel carrying letters and beats him to death with an intention to reveal the name of the rat. He refuses to double-cross Peekay and faces the cruel destiny.

In the meantime, Peekay is accredited as being the best boxer under-twelve with prowess to go for big scores. He is also a highly-talented pianist forged under the guidance of Doc. After the war, Doc is released from prison, and he alongside a local librarian urges Peekay to undergo academic tutoring to win a scholarship.

He obtains a scholarship to a prestigious University located in Johannesburg and enrolls in the school boxing team. Peekay leads his team to victory for the first time in its history, helped by his right-hand man Morrie, who is also his manager. At the time, he receives his first professional training from Solly Goldman, who is a renowned boxing coach and a prominent figure.

In the ring, he faces Gideon Mandoma. After a while, he discovers that he was fighting his former nanny’s son. Peekay once again pulls out a miracle and defeats the older and more experienced fighter in a stunning match.

Peekay is now determined to teach Gideon and other Africans to read and write English, but his idea doesn’t live up to its expectations, because the local police shut down the school.

They explain that under the new apartheid regime, all black teenagers must not leave their houses because nightly curfew is enforced. The kids continue their teaching through letters and other methods.

The Power of One Epilogue

Peekay makes his last final push to earn a Rhodes Scholarship to go to Oxford University in England. Demoralized by this failure, but not disheartened entirely, Peekay decides to raise money for college. While working as a miner, he rubs eyeballs with Rasputin, with whom he acquainted.

When Rasputin died, Peekay is amazed to know that his old friend has left him enough money to study at Oxford.

A sudden twist of fate delays his voyage to Oxford when he bumps into Judge. Peekay as a person no longer to be messed with, wallops Judge, and ends the fight prematurely. He then lays the English Flag over the Swastika Tattoo and ends the match!

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“The Power of One PDF Quotes”

Always listen to yourself... It is better to be wrong than simply to follow convention. Click To Tweet I learned that in each of us there burns a flame of independence that must never be allowed to go out. That as long as it exists within us we cannot be destroyed. Click To Tweet Winning is a state of mind that embraces everything you do. Click To Tweet You've got to be quick on your feet in this world if you want to survive. Though once you know the rules, it is not too hard to play the game. Click To Tweet Pride is holding your head up high when everyone around you has theirs bowed. Courage is what makes you do it. Click To Tweet

Our Critical Review

As one can already conclude – the novel covers bullying, revenge, loyalty, creativity, endurance, suffering, inner power, etc. In our opinion, this is a mix of qualities that we all experience in a lifetime.

Although Peekay’s intentions were not revolving around revenge, somewhere deep inside him; vengeance was filling his heart with motivation.

From top to bottom, this is one of those classic you wouldn’t want to miss.

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