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Journey to Jo’Burg (HarperCollins Children’s Modern Classics) (Journey to Jo'Burg Series Book 1)

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The story seemed somewhat unbelievable, as if the author wanted to show us about South Africa and this was simply the method she chose to use.

The story tells of their awakening to the situation in their country of the appalling treatment of blacks by the rich white people. What makes this book an international piece of literature is that it is about another country, South Africa, written and published in English. This was a brilliant read and a great introduction to children in KS2 about life in South Africa for black people, the Apartheid and segregation. The physical journey is symbolic of their awakening to the wider realities of apartheid; they face danger and experience prejudice, but also meet kind strangers who help to keep them safe and tell them stories about the uprising of students in Soweto. But at university, Naidoo became increasingly outraged at the South African government and joined Nelson Mandela’s anti-Apartheid movement, with Beverly Naido being arrested and jailed in 1964, for anti-government activities.At each turn they face the grim realities of apartheid – the pass laws, Bantustans, racism and injustices. Originally written in 1985, this book was not historical fiction but a description of life as it was in South Africa at the time. And on their journey to Johannesburg, Naledi and Tiro are shown by Beverley Naido as making many unexpected friends out of strangers and who all help them not only with their travels but to also stay out of reach of the police, sometimes perhaps a bit too easily and a bit too quickly, but well, considering the intended age age group for Journey to Jo'burg this does not really all that much bother me, as indeed, and much importantly, much appreciatively, Naidoo has Naledi and Tiro soon learning that in Apartheid-infested South Africa, as Black South Africans, they do not have a right to get on the bus or walk about freely without a pass, and they do not even have a right to their own mother (who works as a maid, as a servant to an arrogant and ignorant White family in Johannesburg). Everyone knows this and instinctively hides from the police, known for throwing people in jail ”just because”.

You could incorporate drama too, perhaps focussing on journeys and the people/experiences they encounter. They are portrayed as not exactly horrible people but somewhere near there - "I can't possibly let you go today. When their baby sister falls seriously ill, two young South African siblings set out from home to make the 200+ mile journey to Johannesburg to find their mother, who works as a housekeeper for a rich, white family. It's possible I'm overreading these elements, because I was aware going into it that the book was written by a white woman from South Africa. As a student, she began to question the apartheid regime and was later arrested for her actions as part of the resistance movement in South Africa.

Set in historical South Africa during the time of apartheid, Naledi and her brother Tiro worry about their sick younger sister. Thirteen-year-old Naledi lives with Nono (her grandmother), Tiro (her brother), and Dineo (her baby sister) in a small South African village 300 kilometers from Johannesburg. And for children, Journey to Jo'burg is therefore a gentle but also a firm and authentic feeling (with regard to factuality) introduction to this reality (not strictly own voice of course, but considering Beverley Naidoo's biography, I do still consider Journey to Jo'burg to be pretty much from an African perspective and from the pen of a White South African author who actively fought against Apartheid and was also jailed for this).

Ebooks fulfilled through Glose cannot be printed, downloaded as PDF, or read in other digital readers (like Kindle or Nook). Similar themes include class divisions by race, segregation and apartheid, police abuse and brutality, the fight for civil rights, protests, etc. Growing awareness of the sufferings of South Africa’s black children brings renewed point to Beverley Naidoo’s Journey to Joburg, a story for young readers, the more searing for its gentleness, that makes them ask questions we must learn to answer. The book is set in the time of the Apartheid in South Africa and goes through the different things which are different today for black people. Reading for enjoyment and writing for enjoyment are two of the most powerful ways of getting children interested in books.

All those lesson on writing letters…for jobs as servants…always writing how good they were at cooking, cleaning, washing, gardening…always ending with “Yours obediently. The wealth was all in the hands of the 'Whites', while the labour was done by the 'Blacks' who worked long hours for little pay and lived under apalling conditions. This book also helps readers to learn more about history as it is told through the characters' story.

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