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4.7 out of 5 stars58
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 30 July 2001
Having read "The Other Side of Truth" and "No Turning Back" I went on to read "Journey to Jo'Burgh." Like her other novels once you start reading it you cannot put it down. This is a very moving account of life for a typical black family living in the country in South Africa during the apartheid years.The baby gets a fever and the older sister and brother, realising the baby is very ill, set off on foot to find their mother in Jo'burgh over 300km away. What happens to them on the journey and subsequently makes a very gripping story. I could not read the book quickly enough as I became so concerned for the welfare of the children. It gives an excellent insight into what an apartheid meant and I would encourage any child as they become aware of human rights to read this. Any adult who like me was too young to realise what was happening in South Africa in the apartheid times needs to read it. I would like to visit South Africa now.
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on 25 March 2008
My Dad bought me this book, and i really enjoyed it.Finished it in an hour! I only rated it 4 stars because i thought that it just stopped.If there was a follow up, of what the girl did with her life it would be great! Still, the book had a gripping story line and gives you a taste of what it was and is like, for Coloured people in White community's,and how fortunate we are to live in a country, with all the modern appliances and running clean fresh water.
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on 3 April 2009
This is a really empathetic book that I have used with children aged 9 and 10. It gives them a great feel for racism and the horrific prejudice that people have faced, and in some cases, still do face. I thoroughly recommend this book...
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VINE VOICEon 1 February 2011
Originally written in 1985, this book was not historical fiction but a description of life as it was in South Africa at the time. The author wanted to teach young children about the unacceptable policy of Apartheit that separated Africans from Caucasians purely by colour.
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.

Naledi and her brother Tiro are just 13 and 9 when their baby sister Dineo falls seriously sick with fever and malnutrition. Their mother is working hundreds of miles away in Johannesbug but this does not deter these brave young children from deciding to make the journey to bring their mother back to save Dineo.
On the way they experience many of the realities of Apartheit that they had been shielded from in their small isolated village - the segregation by colour, the Pass Card that must be carried at all times and the poverty in the face of so much wealth. This is where the strength of this book lies; as a learning tool for today's children.
Probably best suited for 9 to 10 yr olds it provides plenty of opportunity for learning about this era in history and perhaps ensuring that such inhumanities are not repeated.
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on 11 November 2001
This book is a can't put down book .It gives the reader an insight into the lives of many black south african Familys.I Advise you to go out and buy this book before its too late .
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on 4 September 2010
My son was eight when his teacher read this book to his class. He was completely captured by the book and the issues that it deals with. The whole class loved it, including the teacher...a friend of mine! Wonderful book!
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on 16 July 2011
Bought the book because the class i work with work were working on part of this story and we all wanted to know the whole story. Very good. The children enjoyed it and were interested to know if the endings they had written to the story matched the book.Well worth buying.
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on 30 May 2010
In common with many schools, we are teaching about South Africa, on the run up to the World Cup. I shared this book with my year 3/4 class and was amazed at how involved the children were with the story and the maturity of their comments about the apartheid system. Careful research into the "Time of Fire" led all of us into a deeper understanding of the terrible injustices suffered by black people. Can't recommend the book highly enough.
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on 16 July 2009
A beautiful story. I read it and study it with my class of year4 and they loved it. They liked learning about the arpatheid. The story is filled with dilemmas. A must have in the classroom as this is brilliant for drama. They enjoyed re-enacting the chapters as well as writing letters to offer advice to the characters.
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on 2 October 2010
A short chapter book that was written in the 1980s by an exile from South Africa who wanted to tell children, through a story, what apartheid really meant for black children growing up under its sway.

Like Alan Paton in "Cry, the Beloved Country", Naidoo uses the device of a simple country person travelling to the city to depict the condition of South Africa. In her case, the innocent abroad is Naledi, a girl travelling with her younger brother to find their mother, who works as a maid for a rich white family, to call her back to her village to attend to her sick baby.

For Naledi, this is a journey from ignorance to adult knowledge as she encounters, blow after hammer-blow, the realities of racial segregation, pass laws, police brutality and the huge disparity in wealth separating rich whites from the black majority.

The central section of the book offers some relief to all this through friendship and family reunion, while filling in some of the political background to the story. But Naledi must face one more shocking truth before we leave her reflecting on her new understanding of her political situation and nurturing a hard-won hope for the future.

A fine children's book, all the more powerful for its plain, direct, understated style. This simplicity suggests a book for younger children, but with its tough subject matter it is clearly aimed at older readers, perhaps 8 or 9 upwards.

The 1999 edition is bracketed with a foreword and postscript by Naidoo setting the story in its context. Apartheid is no more, but the damage it has done to South Africans will take a long time to heal, while the story carries many echoes of other times and places where people are segregated by wealth, caste, race or religious allegiance.
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