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Journey to Jo'burg: A South African Story

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Ah, I went to Oxfam again yesterday and got Born A Crime, Trevor Noah (3 euro, excellent condition). This would be a wonderful book to use to help students think globally about issues of power and class. The opulence of the white "Madam's" house contrasts starkly with the reality that Naledi and Tiro face - that their baby sister is suffering from starvation, not an incurable disease. 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.

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. I had the privilege of ‘meeting’ Beverley Naidoo in a Zoom lecture recently and was so inspired by her and her story I knew I had to pick this book up immediately. Racism: South Africa, at this time, had a system set up through legislation to keep its society racially segregated.It is not included in promotions available to our main range products, as stated in our terms of service. 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 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 dangers and massive injustices inherent in that system are mentioned and then, weirdly, glossed over quickly, and the ending is a little too pat and trite. Michael Rosen's introduction to this recent edition provides an insight into the global political context at the time of its release in 1985. I think the book was a bit unrealistic in that one would expect a thirteen year old to know a bit about Apartheid.Naledi convinces Tiro to walk with her to Jo'burg to get their mother, who would have money to take Dineo to the doctor. The author was a white girl who knew she would have suffered under Nazi Germany, but just did not realise how her black servants had to live. I will recommend this book to any young reader and not forgetting older ones who would be able to learn about hardships non whites were facing. Trading Address (Warehouse) Unit E, Vulcan Business Complex, Vulcan Road, Leicester, Leicestershire, LE5 3EB. My father is from South Africa originally and I still have family there, so I was interested in seeing how whites were portrayed in this book.

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