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Journey to Jo'burg: A South African Story

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  1,300 Ratings  ·  136 Reviews
If only Mma was here, Naledi wished over and over. . .

Mma lives and works in Johannesburg, far from the village thirteen-year-old Naledi and her younger brother, Tiro, call home. When their baby sister suddenly becomes very sick, Naledi and Tiro know, deep down, that only one person can save her. Bravely, alone, they set off on a journey to find Mma and bring her back. It
Paperback, 96 pages
Published December 24th 2002 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 1986)
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Nov 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
This story is about two children who live in a poor village in South Africa. Their mother works far away in Johannesburg and their father died from a disease caught in the mines. Their little sister is desperately ill and the two children decide to walk to the city to bring their mother home. The story tells of their awakening to the situation in their country of the appalling treatment of blacks by the rich white people. The children finally find their mother, but their troubles are not yet ove ...more
Carli Vallance
Feb 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book humbling and heartwarming. It is written from the viewpoint of two young children in South Africa who struggle to understand the injustice they and their families face. When their baby sister falls gravely ill they courageously decide to travel 300km from their small village to Johannesburg to summon their mother from work. The physical journey is symbolic of their awakening to the wider realities of apartheid; they face danger and experience prejudice, but also meet kind stran ...more
Dec 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this moving story by Beverley Naidoo. Set against the dangerous landscape of Apartheid South Africa, Journey to Jo'burg is an inspiring story of two young courageous children, a brother and sister called Naledi and Tiro. The story follows their journey from their small village in South Africa to Jo'burg, about 300 miles away, in search of their mother. Their younger sister, Dineo, is very ill and Naledi decides that they need to travel to Jo'burg to bring their mother ba ...more
Clare O'Beara
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, africa
If you have read The Help, this is an equivalent book for children. The period is South Africa's apartheid years, and while I'm rating four for writing, I'm rating another star for the depiction of tendencies towards popular activism and bringing about change. I also like that there is a simple map.

Two kids see their little sister getting very ill but the lady who cares for them doesn't have money for a hospital. So the pair bravely decide to walk to their mother who works as a housekeeper and
Erin Reilly-Sanders
While this short little novel was an interesting peak into living conditions in South Africa, I found it to be a little didactic. 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 lack of consideration for how to get home again and the costs of eating and lodging in the city is maybe explained by the country upbringing of the children, but the story also suggests that the hospital was so outrageously ...more
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reading the class reader for year 6, this is a good book to start the conversation on what segregation is and to help kids to be deeper thinkers - i think the teacher says for them to be introspective. This was a banned book in SA a while back.. let the conversation begin.
Mar 24, 2009 rated it liked it
Naidoo, B. (1986). Journey to Jo’Burg: A South African Story. New York: HarperTrophy.


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
Sam Hopper
Mar 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Journey to Jo’Burg is set in South Africa during the apartheid and tells the story of Naledi and Tiro who, frightened that their baby sister Dineo will die, take a 300km journey to find their mother who works there as a maid. On their journey they experience the oppressive and harsh realities of the apartheid including the segregation by colour, the Pass laws that require all black people to carry a passbook at all times and the extreme poverty alongside so much wealth.

Naledi and Tiro are expose
Don't underestimate this short and easy read.I actually almost have up on it because this first time I tried reading it I got confused by the characters and went to sleep! I tried again tonight and I read the whole thing in one sitting!

What's great about this book is that on the surface it's a simple story. A couple of black South African kids travel to the city in search of their mom because their younger sister is sick. Seems simple enough, right? Well, you get to know and begin to care about
Summary: A short, but engrossing journey of two siblings Naledi and Tiro, who journey from Johannesburg to Jo'Burg because their baby sister has become very ill. In Jo'Burg, they find their mother, who works for a white family. The brother and sister mature very quickly from their trip to and from Jo'Burg because they learn more about the world around them, what their peers are fighting for, and the realities that are forced upon them. The reading level is S (guided reading level), but the conte ...more
Jun 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Journey to Jo'burg: A South African Story, written by Beverley Naidoo , is about the journey a brother and sister, Naledi and Tiro, have to take to Johannesburg to try and find there mother as the little sister has become ill. Mma, the children's mother, works in Johannesburg which is 300km from their village. The book is set in the time of the Apartheid in South Africa and goes through the different things which are different today for black people.

I used this book within my Year 4 literacy le
May 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Set in South Africa, Naledi, a thirteen year old girl and her younger brother travel from their small village 300 km to get their mother (who works in Johannesburg) because their baby sister is very ill. They get help along the way from a number of people. In the process, Naledi learns about Apartheid from first hand experiences and stories from her friends. The book ends with her determined to speak with the older children at school and learn more. I think the book was a bit unrealistic in that ...more
Sara Darr
Oct 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book but wish it could have been longer!

It is set in South Africa at the time of the Apartheid and tells the story of two courageous young children Naledi and Tiro who are worried that their baby sister Dineo will die. So they set off from their village and travel to Jo'burg, determined to bring their mother back to care for their baby sister. It deals with the main theme of prejudice and racism as well as family, love and empathy. It is a really simple and heartfelt story
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Jul 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Spell binding story about the journey two children undertake to find their mother and bring her home. It focuses on their expereiences and the courage and determination they show. At its core is a prevading sense of an apartheid South Africa. It is moving, sad and exhilirating, all at the same time.Banned at the time by the government in South Africa, it also educational and contains lots of information about the author and her experiences, apartheid and a glossary of African words.

I loved explo
Juliet Jarrett
We are reading this book as an in-class novel but it's read independently. It is actually pretty good so far! This book is about to siblings, Naledi and Tiro, and their baby sister Dineo is very sick. Now they must go and tell their mother this, but there is one small problem. Their mother lives and works 300 miles away in Johannesburg. This book is about their trip to Jo'burg to rescue their sister. They go through all these obsticales to get there. They get caught stealing food, they loose the ...more
Maram qafishah
Nov 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
كنت في الصف السادس.. حينما دخلت معلمة اللغة العربية علينا لتسألنا من منكن تحب القراءة.. لأرفع يدي فتناديني وتعطيني هذه الرواية..
الرواية الأولى التي أقرأها..
معظم ما قرأته قبلها كان مجموعات قصصية حيث كنت أحب الجلوس في قسم القصص في المكتبة
أذكر أنني تأثرت بها جداً فظلم بهذا الحجم كان بمثابة صدمة لطفلة في الحادية عشر من عمرها لم تتصور أن في عالمها هذا الحجم من الظلم
Bossy Kiya (Jakiya)
Aug 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I like it it was good so far i like that theyre tring to go on a misson to save there little sister. They're taking a risky chance to met up with their mother . And so far on the way there people are helping them.
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Reminded me of The Help. Was really sad and yet powerful. You really understand and feel for the characters who did not realize that simply because they were born a certain color that they will have struggles. Loved how it was told through a childs perspective. <3
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a great, short read, for anybody who wants to learn more about the Apartheid in South Africa. The story was written by a white South African, who was raised in a privileged family, and learned only later of the injustice and horrors of the Apartheid. From then on she became an activist for the cause and wrote this short novel which is accessible for children as well as adults. The book was actually forbidden in South Africa upon it's publication in Great Britain in 1985.
The edition that re
Mary Norell Hedenstrom
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Themes: apartheid, racism, poverty, migrant workers, sickness, death.

A brother and sister go to the big city to get their mother because their young sister is sick.
Oct 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
‘Journey to Jo’burg’ narrates the story of Naledi and Tiro who are cared for by their grandmother in the small village whilst their mother works in Jo’burg as a maid in order to earn enough money for her precious family to survive. However, when their little sister falls ill, the family have no means of acquiring medicine or help for her. Naledi and Tiro therefore determine to travel to the city in order to find their mother and thereby save their sister.

Their precarious journey takes them acros
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Simple and profound exploration of the divisive South African culture of the 1950's. I was thankful for a witness of the atrocities from a relatively non graphic view point of a 13 year old girl. Her eyes were opened after visiting a big city for the first time and she suddenly questioned everything about how things ran and why things were the way they were. I loved this basic introduction to South African history as it was easy to read and digest.
Kyra (Blog of a Bookaholic)
This is a children's book but don't let that allow you to underestimate the devastation you'll witness whilst reading this. Told in a beautifully simple way, there are no implicit meanings laying partially uncovered between sentences laden with metaphors and musings, instead the sickening, heartbreaking struggle non-whites of Apartheid South Africa endured is told simply, making the brutal truth a punch to the gut. It had me in tears that my country has such a dark, racist past but it made me re ...more
Michelle Llewellyn
Feb 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
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 rea
Feb 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s, 2011
A children's book about Apartheit.

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 ar
Aliyah Inge-hanif
Journey to Jo'burg: A South African Story by Beverley Naidoo, Eric Velasquez is a contemporary realistic fiction. It is intended for the ages of nine through twelve years old. It is about two South African siblings with a sick younger sister. They go on a journey to the city get their mother from work to take care of their sister. They then face the struggles, dangers and racism of their country.

While I feel the story seemed a little rushed it written in a short manner to not lose the attention
Phoebe Colvin Oehmig
Journey to Jo’burg: A South African Story by Beverley Naidoo takes place in the 1970’s in Apartheid South Africa. The protagonist thirteen-year-old Naledi, and her younger brother, Tiro, live with their aunt and baby sister. Their father is dead and Mma works as a maid to a white family five hundred kilometers away in Johannesburg.
The story begins with Dineo, the baby sister, falling terribly ill. Naledi and Tiro know that Dineo desperately needs Mma, so they head off on an eye-opening journey
Anna Scott
Jul 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book tells the story of two young children who travel across South Africa in search for their mother who is working away from home. When their younger sibling is taken ill, they decide that only a doctor can save the baby. However, they also know that doctors charge fees that they cannot afford. They decide to walk to their mother's place of work, hundreds of miles away, to ask her to return to their home town to pay the doctor's fees and save the baby.

It is not until they reach their mothe
Charlotte Jones
Sep 13, 2016 rated it liked it
I read this for the DiverseAThon, a readathon promoting diverse literature, and I chose it from my library's online catalogue.

This children's book was written by a South African author and discusses the segregation experienced throughout the Apartheid. This is a topic that I knew nothing about going into this book so it was great to get an introduction through a book meant for younger readers.

This book also has a lot of notes before and after the main story discussing the author's own experienc
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Beverley Naidoo was born in South Africa on 21 May 1943 and grew up under apartheid. As a student, she began to question the apartheid regime and was later arrested for her actions as part of the resistance movement in South Africa. In 1965 she went into exile, going to England. She married another South African exile; they have two children.
More about Beverley Naidoo...

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