cover image Journey to Jo'burg: A South African Story

Journey to Jo'burg: A South African Story

Beverley Naidoo, Eric Velasquez. J.P. Lippincott, $14.95 (80pp) ISBN 978-0-397-32168-1

Naledi, 13, and her younger brother Tiro live with their grandmother and their aunt while their mother works in far-away Johannesburg. When Dineo, their baby sister, gets sick, Naledi and Tiro decide to find Mma (mother in Tswana) and bring her home. The trip takes several days, carrying them into a world that is both larger than they imagined, and more restricted for blacks than they ever thought possible. Mma is located; she goes home with them, even though her white employer threatens to hire a new maid in her absence. Mma takes Dineo to the hospital, and the baby lives. Naledi has begun her own journey: she has witnessed an innocent black youth's arrest; she met Grace, who has lost family in the struggle for freedom. And she gains a new understanding of her country. There are many viewpoints in this story: Mma is trying to survive; Grace struggles for dignity. But the author's gift is in translating violent TV images into a provocative, eloquent story about the human spirit, from its first flicker to full flame. (912)