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Journey to Jo'burg: A South African Story

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Journey To Jo'burg

Another baby has died in Naledi's village and Naledi knows that if she doesn't get help,her little sister Dineo will die too.But what can she do? She has no money, and there are no doctors in her village.Doctors in South Africa are a luxury for blacks,not a right!
<...
Another baby has died in Naledi's village and Naledi knows that if she doesn't get help,her little sister Dineo will die too.But what can she do? She has no money, and there are no doctors in her village.Doctors in South Africa are a luxury for blacks,not a right!

Naledi must get to her mother in Johannesburg;it's Dineo only hope.Yet she has no money,no car,and Johannesburg is over 250 Kilometers away.She and her brother Tiro decide there's only one thing to do:they must walk.If they don't,Dineo might die!

posted by 919416 on January 30, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Journey to Jo'Burg

Naidoo, B. (1986). Journey to Jo'Burg: A South African Story. New York: HarperTrophy.

0064402371

Set in historical South Africa during the time of apartheid, Naledi and her brother Tiro worry about their sick younger sister. Certain that their sister needs a...
Naidoo, B. (1986). Journey to Jo'Burg: A South African Story. New York: HarperTrophy.

0064402371

Set in historical South Africa during the time of apartheid, Naledi and her brother Tiro worry about their sick younger sister. Certain that their sister needs a doctor, they decide to disobey their grandmother's wishes and leave their small town to journey to Johannesburg where their mother works as a servant to get her help.

While on their journey the children are helped by several other black people along the way, but are cautioned about the rules of apartheid that are strictly enforced in the city. They also are exposed to the class and power relations and learn of the hope and rebellions for social change, most notably the Soweto Uprising of 1976.

While the narrative is both short and fast-paced there are some plot holes. For example, at the very beginning of the story, Naledi and Tiro decide that because they would get in trouble for asking for money to pay for a telegram, they should walk to Johannesburg, a city over 300 kilometers away. Now call me crazy, this could be my own cultural background speaking, but wouldn't Grandma be a little more upset that you go on a journey to a strange and dangerous city without help or money than ask for some money to send a telegram? Maybe it's just me. I don't know.

Published during the height of Apartheid in the mid-1980s, this book was banned in South Africa until 1990. This would be a wonderful book to use to help students think globally about issues of power and class. It could also be the basis for doing a comparison between Apartheid and segregation in the U.S.

Activities to do with the book:

In a social studies or history class, Journey to Jo'Burg could be used to compare and contrast the history of South Africa with that of the U.S.A. Similar themes include class divisions by race, segregation and apartheid, police abuse and brutality, the fight for civil rights, protests, etc. It could specifically trigger a lesson on protests like the Soweto Uprising, in which students protested the structurally racist and oppressive education system and were killed.

Favorite Quotes:

"Naledi and Tiro were worried. Their baby sister, Dineo was ill, very ill" (p. 1).

"Why shouldn't we use the bus? When our buses are full, their buses are half empty. Don't you be sorry!" (p. 26).

"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."
Naledi had never thought about it before tonight, but never, never, had she written about wanting to be.say, a doctor. Yes, that's what she'd like to be. Image how useful it would be if she became a doctor, especially in their own village. She could even look after her own family." (p. 72)

For More of my reviews, visit sjkessel.blogspot.com.

posted by SJKessel on March 30, 2009

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  • Posted March 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Journey to Jo'Burg

    Naidoo, B. (1986). Journey to Jo'Burg: A South African Story. New York: HarperTrophy.

    0064402371

    Set in historical South Africa during the time of apartheid, Naledi and her brother Tiro worry about their sick younger sister. Certain that their sister needs a doctor, they decide to disobey their grandmother's wishes and leave their small town to journey to Johannesburg where their mother works as a servant to get her help.

    While on their journey the children are helped by several other black people along the way, but are cautioned about the rules of apartheid that are strictly enforced in the city. They also are exposed to the class and power relations and learn of the hope and rebellions for social change, most notably the Soweto Uprising of 1976.

    While the narrative is both short and fast-paced there are some plot holes. For example, at the very beginning of the story, Naledi and Tiro decide that because they would get in trouble for asking for money to pay for a telegram, they should walk to Johannesburg, a city over 300 kilometers away. Now call me crazy, this could be my own cultural background speaking, but wouldn't Grandma be a little more upset that you go on a journey to a strange and dangerous city without help or money than ask for some money to send a telegram? Maybe it's just me. I don't know.

    Published during the height of Apartheid in the mid-1980s, this book was banned in South Africa until 1990. This would be a wonderful book to use to help students think globally about issues of power and class. It could also be the basis for doing a comparison between Apartheid and segregation in the U.S.

    Activities to do with the book:

    In a social studies or history class, Journey to Jo'Burg could be used to compare and contrast the history of South Africa with that of the U.S.A. Similar themes include class divisions by race, segregation and apartheid, police abuse and brutality, the fight for civil rights, protests, etc. It could specifically trigger a lesson on protests like the Soweto Uprising, in which students protested the structurally racist and oppressive education system and were killed.

    Favorite Quotes:

    "Naledi and Tiro were worried. Their baby sister, Dineo was ill, very ill" (p. 1).

    "Why shouldn't we use the bus? When our buses are full, their buses are half empty. Don't you be sorry!" (p. 26).

    "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."
    Naledi had never thought about it before tonight, but never, never, had she written about wanting to be.say, a doctor. Yes, that's what she'd like to be. Image how useful it would be if she became a doctor, especially in their own village. She could even look after her own family." (p. 72)

    For More of my reviews, visit sjkessel.blogspot.com.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Journey To Jo'burg

    Another baby has died in Naledi's village and Naledi knows that if she doesn't get help,her little sister Dineo will die too.But what can she do? She has no money, and there are no doctors in her village.Doctors in South Africa are a luxury for blacks,not a right!<BR/><BR/>Naledi must get to her mother in Johannesburg;it's Dineo only hope.Yet she has no money,no car,and Johannesburg is over 250 Kilometers away.She and her brother Tiro decide there's only one thing to do:they must walk.If they don't,Dineo might die!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2006

    ' The book was very factual about real life.'

    When I first read this book, it was very interesting to see that this is probably true. Also, the book had alot of true life facts in it and I liked that. If this book had been written any other way, I think the author wouldn't have made any money on the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2006

    Journey to Jo'burg: A South African Story

    i read this book back in elementary school and i didnt like it back then but i thought that i was young and didnt know alot and thought that i might like it more as a younge adult. but boy was i wrong!!!!!!! i still didnt like the book but the book has a ending that is very common in books and movies. it is always a happy ending. i was hoping that the ending would still be happy but end alittle different

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 13, 2006

    Miguel (MLC STUDENT)

    I thought this book was extremely dissapointing. I didn't like the plot at all their little sister is sick and they need to go find their mother to make her better. I don't think it gives enough detail at all. It shouldn't be a school book because you don't learn anything. I think most people know that 50 years ago the South was segragated and black people had a very hard time. This book was more about Naledi and Tiro finding their mother so she can make their sister better. I think it was also a little unrealistic. Nono and Mmangwane didn't send for mother because they didn't want to worry her. How does that make any sense? Dineo may die and they are just concerned with keeping Mma stress free. What happens when she comes to visit and Dineo is dead? The characters were making really immature choices and the plot wasn't the greatest. Beyond that, the book was like a short story. It could have given more detail, and something other than a sick little sister to make Naledi get their mother, then I would have appreciated it a little more.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2006

    My Review

    I think this book was very well written. It displayed characterization well and had a strong plot. I think this book was very interesting because it taught many lessons. This book was about how a thirteen year old and her younger brother walk to a white town to inform their mom that their baby sister is sick. Along the way, they learn about rascim and the disadvantages they have just because they are black. This story shows our history and in some cases the present. Overall, I liked this book because it taught lessons that everyone needs to learn.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2006

    Sad Story

    I thought that this book was not that great but was not that bad either. I thought it was sort of boring until the end when the baby was taken to the hospital. The most important part of the book to me was the ending. This is because the whole adventure that Nadedi just went on really comes down on her and she realizes that it is important for her to work hard and stay out of trouble so that she can have a good future.This might also help her get away from the racism that is displayed in the generation she lives in.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2006

    I did not like the book

    I thought that the book was really bad. My teacher said that it was a good book but i definately disagree. It was way to short and it didn't have any point to it at all. I don't get why the girl looked like a man either.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2006

    Journey to Jo'burg: A South African Story

    i thought that the book could definetly have been writen better.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2006

    Journey to Jo'burg: A South African Story

    Even though the book was okay i've read better. I liked it and i would recomend it to many younger students because it sort of explains the apartheid and expliains the tradgey that occured in South Africa. A lot of the thing in the book were important although i was kinda dissapointed because the book was 75 psged. But hey i'm not complaining.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2006

    A very short read.

    After finishing this book in about four days, of reading during class,I thought that it could've been a lot better. First of all, the story was really short. I think some of the themes and main ideas would've been more understandable if they were more detailed in a longer version of the story. Secondly, if some of the events in the story were more detailed, it would be a lot eaiser to understand some major parts of the story such as the raid that the police did to check people's passes, and the discussion that the children had with Grace. were detailed more.In conclusion, the book overall sent the right message, but if the story had been a little bit more descriptive it would have been easier for any group of people to understand the books themes and main ideas throughout the development of the story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2006

    I really didn't like the book

    I didnt enjoy this book at all. i thought it was point less. it didnt appeal to me at all. this was a required for me to read. if i had saw this book in the store i wouldnt even look twice at it. even though some people might think that it is a good peice of literature i didnt like it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2006

    Typical Read

    I would have to say that the short story 'Journey to Jo' Burg' was a great read. It's not typically something that I would read ,but it gives me more insight as to what African Americans had to go through. It's always interseting to read about the adventures that others had to go through and this is just on more example of it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2006

    Review of Journey to Jo'burg.

    I thought that Journey to Jo'burg was okay. It was not something I would have chosen to read on my own because of the whole concept of the story. I am more into books like Looking for Alaska, Things Change, Heavy Metal and you, ect. It was an okay book, but I personally did not enjoy it. Another thing I didn't like about Journey to Jo'burg was the use of a different language. That sometimes made the book difficult to understand.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2006

    Great but not to Great

    I enjoyed this novel Journey to Jo'burg. There were just a few things that I didn't like. The novel didn't really capture my attention. Sometimes when I read a chapter it was boring and when I read another chapter it was pretty interesting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2006

    Journey to Jo'burg: A South African Story

    Even though the book was okay i've read better. I liked it and i would recomend it to many younger students because it sort of explains the apartheid and expliains the tradgey that occured in South Africa.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2006

    must read before you buy the book

    I belive this book was ok but it was nothing special. it was too forward. There wasn't much symbolism. That made the book vary bland and boring. What I did like about the book is the visulizations. it painted a very clear image in your mind.that was a nice feature to this story. Another thing I did not like was how it was not very well elaborated. It told you the part of the story that needed explanation. Then it did not explain it very well. Those were my likes and dislikes of this particular book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2006

    Dissapointing

    I thought this book was extremely dissapointing. I didn't like the plot at all their little sister is sick and they need to go find their mother to make her better. I don't think it gives enough detail at all. It shouldn't be a school book because you don't learn anything. I think most people know that 50 years ago the South was segragated and black people had a very hard time. This book was more about Naledi and Tiro finding their mother so she can make their sister better. I think it was also a little unrealistic. Nono and Mmangwane didn't send for mother because they didn't want to worry her. How does that make any sense? Dineo may die and they are just concerned with keeping Mma stress free. What happens when she comes to visit and Dineo is dead? The characters were making really immature choices and the plot wasn't the greatest. Beyond that, the book was like a short story. It could have given more detail, and something other than a sick little sister to make Naledi get their mother, then I would have appreciated it a little more.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2006

    Journey To Jo'burg review

    I think that this book was interesting, but confusing. It did give good information about apartheid, but the story didn't go into what the 'pass' was. Also, it seemed very unlikely that they got a ride almost all of the way to Jo'burg. Plus, the story deviated from the main part of the plot, helping Dineo, when they talked about the schoolchildren marching. Besides these faults, though, Journey to Jo'burg is a very good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2006

    It was a good book

    Journey to Jo'burg was a good book. it showed the struggles that many people go through in South Africa everyday. This book is also one I recommend because it is very suspenseful and it is good literature.

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