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Journey to Jo'burg: A South African Story Paperback – December 24, 2002

3.8 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Journey to Jo'Burg Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A sister and brother's journey through Johannesburg to find their mother becomes an awakening to the sufferings of the people living under the system of apartheid. Ages 9-12.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"This well-written [story] has no equal. Evocative and haunting." (Starred review) --"School Library Journal""A provocative, eloquent story about the human spirit." ?- "Publishers Weekly"
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 760L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (December 24, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064402371
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064402378
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.2 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #176,642 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michelle Llewellyn on February 22, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a copy/paste from my Goodreads review
I was introduced to this book through the International Children's Literature course I'm taking this semester. It's a wonderful class providing me with many opportunities to read books published in other countries in order to learn more about the people who live in those countries which is something all us self-centered Americans need to do. For American children, this may be one of the only books out there describing what life is like for non-whites in a country outside the United States.

I really liked this story, it was published in 1986 and in the wake of Nelson Mandela's death last year it can definitely be classified now under historical fiction as most realistic fiction being published today contains too many graphic details while this book is refreshingly innocent and full of hope in a country divided by apartheid. The characters are real and they deal with their problems in a realistic way. Their dialogue is also sprinkled with words from their own native language so the reader can better understand this culture.

The 3rd person narrative allows the reader to share the exciting journey about a thirteen year old big sister and her little brother. They decide to travel to the city of Johannesburg, South Africa in search of their mother who works for a rich white family because their baby sister is deathly ill. The village hospital could provide the proper care and treatment but their family is very poor and "Mma" (mother in the Tswana language) is the family's only source of income since their father died in a mine accident.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A quick read filled with many short chapters that tend to leave one wanting to read more. Lots of cliffhangers and gives you many things to reflect on. Our sons could really relate to the plight of the children and as a family we were very moved by the story. It gave us a great opportunity to talk about apartheid and relate it to the struggles that Nelson Mandela fought to end. Read this along with other books that match this same theme and it really added another dynamic to our studies. I would recommend this book whole heartedly as it seems to really capture the attention of children on a topic that is very important to understand. It creates a face to a reality that is different than our own.
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Format: Paperback
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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By A Customer on July 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
I found this a good book. When Naledi and Tiro's baby sister Dineo, gets sick, they decide to leave their small village and go to Johannesburg to call their mother to help Dineo. They discover so much about their country, about the way their skin colour changes their future and start to ask questions about why life is so unfair. Though readers found it very uninformative, at the time this book was written people were not allowed to write about how unfair the situation in South Africa was. This book said so much that it was banned for many years! It is designed to tell CHILDREN about the situation, so it can't be very gory, its just to give them an idea of the apartheid. I lived in South Africa and have studied the apartheid, this book gives the basic idea. Read it, its good.
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Format: Paperback
Mma is given only a week from her employment, so they hurry back to the village. Mma took Dineo to the hospital; the doctor kept Dineo until her fever was broken. Mma was told to be sure that the baby had plenty of milk, fruits, and vegetables. However, they rarely have money for any of these things.
On their journey to Johannesburg, Naleda learned about the older students who were trying to change the unfair practices of apartheid. She is determined to find out about this and become part of the change. They are going on the bus and they did not read the sign it was a white sign they had to walk to the black sign because they was that the white sign. The mom wanted to see her girl because see was sick. The owner was going to a dinner and the owner said that you can see your little girl tomorrow. A woman said that it is not right that they have to but kids in jail. Grace had a passport but her friend didn't. when they went home two boys ran out the house. One of the girls was splashing water and the girl said do not do that because she remenber when she had to buy water. The mom said that the kids need schools and but the black and white tougher. On the banner that Dumi and his friends carried, they had written on the back of a paper they wrote BLACKS ARE NOT DUSTBINS.
Dineo the baby is very sick; Naledi was afraid because so many babies have died from this sickness. She and her brother Tiro traveled to Johannesburg to get Mma. Mma was a maid in a white lady's home, and the lady grudgingly allowed Mma to return home to help Dineo.
On their trip to Jo'burg, both Naledi and Tiro learn about the things that happen to black people under the white government called apartheid. They discover that they could be shot for picking and eating an orange just because they are hungry.
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