Resources for Teaching About Africa.  The following document includes 4 different lists.


      1.     Teaching-Related Web Sites

      2.     Video Cassettes (South Africa)

      3.     Youth Literature (South Africa)

4.       Children’s Literature (South Africa)



1. TEACHING-RELATED WEB SITES  (African Studies Organizations and Programs throughout the USA and elsewhere) (Designated as the official site for "African Studies" in the World Wide Web Virtual Library (WWW-VL)  (African newspapers, associations, universities, and other web-based resources related to an individual region or countries inside Africa) reviews of K-12 materials, links to Africa-related homepages, includes a forum for those involved in teaching about Africa, and has plans for a 'Best Lessons' website) (Smithsonian's site describing the history and various themes of Africa, a comprehensive bibliography, a feature about women, and more)  – or call 1 888-838-4426 (background information on the cultures that use certain instruments; a search engine is also available to find geographically specific musical instruments)   – or call 677-353-7303/3673 (The outreach library offers curriculum guides, multimedia resources, handouts, maps, and posters)   (Extensive lesson plans and background essays relating to Africa for middle and high school teachers.  Videotape “Africa in Transition” and instructional guide available.) – Temporarily out of service.  (Good source for general information on Africa--reports and papers about networking in the region, connectivity and topology maps, and other relevant links)  (Africa Access Review--Annotations and critiques of over 800 youth materials on Africa written by librarians, university professors, and teachers, most of whom have lived in Africa and have graduate degrees in African Studies. This online journal aids educators in building quality, authoritative collections on Africa.



General Web Sites for Social Studies Teachers  (“Facing History and Ourselves” offers a model of professional development for educators, including training, support, and classroom resources through a national network of seven regional offices—of which Los Angeles is one.  Teachers master important skills of how to raise controversial topics and how to establish a classroom atmosphere of trust.)  (“Educators for Social Responsibility” provides a K-12 school-based program in conflict resolution and intergroup relations.)  (The “Anti-Defamation League”—ADL—offers materials and lesson plans for educators about diversity, equality, religious freedom, and other basic U.S. values.  The ‘World of Difference’ is an ADL-sponsored workshop offered in a wide variety of communities through the U.S.) (“Amnesty International” is a worldwide volunteer movement that works to promote all the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international standards.)


Catalogs: Social Studies School Services (wide variety of teaching aids):


                              Jackdaws (Primary Documents):



                  (South Africa)



A Chip of Glass Ruby.  (Gr. 9-12)


Films for the Humanities & Sciences, 1988.  20 min.  $149.


Clips from the film version of Gordimer’s story of a Muslim Indian family in South Africa in the 1950s are interwoven with comments by the author on her craft and on the political unrest in her country.



Maids and Madams.  (Gr. 10-12)


Filmakers Library.  1985.  52 min.  $195.


From comfortable white homes where black domestics work to the overcrowded dwellings where they live, the effects of apartheid are revealed through the eyes of the servants and the words of the women they serve.



Senzeni Na?  (Gr. 11-12)


Pyramid.  1990.  30 min.  $325.


A case of mistaken identity catapults a meek black worker into prison and leads to a decisive moment of truth in this taut drama that chillingly shows the casual, yet calculated, brutality visited upon political activists in South Africa.



Six Feet of the Country.  (Gr. 10-12)


Coronet .  1977; released 1980.  29 min.  $250.


A black hired man’s attempt to retrieve his brother’s body for burial underscores the harsh inhumanity of apartheid in this moving adaptation of Nadine Gordimer’s short story.



A Long Night’s Journey Into Day  (Gr. 9-12)


California Newsreel.  1998.  30 min.   $40


A segment of the 4-part video features an interview with Peter and Linda Biehl, the parents of Amy Biehl, the young U.S. freedom fighter who was killed near Cape Town. 



(Fiction and Non-Fiction)






Abrahams, Peter. (1948).  Mine Boy.  Heinemann Educational Books.  (Gr. 7-12)

        Young Xuma comes from the country to the slums of Johannesburg, where he finds work in the gold mines and manhood in resistance, and where the girl he loves is destroyed by self-hatred.  Abrahams’ powerful autobiography, Tell Freedom (1954), includes a joyful chapter about his discovery of black American writers like Langston Hughes and Countee Cullen and how much that helped him as a struggling ‘coloured’ (mixed race) writer.


Beake, Lesley. (1993).  The Song of Be. Holt.   (Gr. 6-12)

        Be is a Ju/Hoan girl of eastern Bushmanland in Namibia, and, like all the people in this short, beautiful novel, she is caught between two changing worlds.


Brink, Andre. (1980).  A Dry White Season.  Penguin.  (Gr. 9-12)

        A liberal Afrikaans novelist writes of a white teacher who thinks that apartheid hasn’t much to do with him until the experience of a black family in the Soweto riots draws him into confrontation with the regime and with his own family.  This was made into a fine feature film.


Case, Dianne. (1995).  92 Queens Road. Farrar.  (Gr. 6-10)

        Drawing on her personal experience, Case tells a story of vitality and sorrow about a ‘Coloured’ (mixed race) child in Cape Town in the 1960s. 


Dangarembga, Tsitsi. (1989).  Nervous Conditions.  Seal Press.  (Gr. 9-12)

        A frank, compelling novel of a young woman growing up in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in the 1960s and 1970s, trying to escape poverty, sexism, and repressive authority in her family and in the racist society.


Gordimer, Nadine.  (1990).  My Son’s Story.  Orchard//Bantam.  (Gr. 10-12)

        A searing story told from the point of view of a “Coloured” teenager who sees how apartheid experience brings out love, betrayal, and courage in his family.`


Gordon, Sheila. (1987).  Waiting for the Rain. Orchard and Bantam Paper.   (Gr. 7-12)

        A novel about two boys who grow up on a South African farm.  White Frikkie, nephew of the farm owner, joins the army.  Black Tengo, son of the farm foreman, goes to the city, desperate to get an education, and he’s drawn into the struggle against the white government.


Lessing, Doris. (1992).  African Laughter.  HarperCollins.  (Gr. 8-12)

        Lessing grew up in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, but was exiled from her home for 25 years by the white racist regime.  In this memoir, she describes four journeys back to Zimbabwe since independence in 1982.  Despite the country’s huge problems, she finds enormous optimism, growth, and commitment in a multiracial society that seems to be working.  Also by Lessing is African Stories, her magnificent collection of short fiction.


Maartens, Marita. (1991).  Paperbird. Clarion.  (Gr. 5-9)

        Translated from the Afrikaans version, this is a moving story of 12-year-old Adam growing up in poverty in a black township, threatened by violence from the police and from the local thugs.  His younger sisters and pregnant mother rely on him for support.  On a dangerous journey to earn money in the city, he finds companionship and courage.


Naidoo, Beverley. (1990).  Chain of Fire.  HarperCollins.  (Gr. 6-10)

        Through the experiences of 15 year-old Naledi, this novel by South African exile Naidoo dramatizes the apartheid atrocity that made blacks foreigners in their own country: the forced removal of more than three million blacks to barren, overcrowded “homelands” many of them had never seen.


Naidoo, Beverley. (1997).  No Turning Back. HarperCollins.  (Gr. 5-9)

        On the eve of South Africa’s first democratic elections, a contemporary child is striving to survive on the cold, dangerous city streets. 


Rochman, Hazel. (Ed.).  (1988).  Somehow Tenderness Survives: Stories of Southern Africa.  HarperCollins.  (Gr. 7-12)

        Ten adult stories and autobiographical accounts by southern African writers, including Nadine Gordimer.  Mark Mathabane, and Doris Lessing, vividly evoke what it means to come of age under apartheid.  The title is from a poem by Deniis Brutus that begins “Somehow we survive/ and tenderness, frustrated, does not wither.”


Sacks, Margaret. (1989).  Beyond Safe Boundaries. Dutton/Lodestar and Penguin/Puffin paper. (Gr. 6-12)

        Growing up in a Jewish liberal home in South Africa, teenage Elizabeth disapproves of apartheid, but she thinks it doesn’t have much to do with her—until prison and murder invade the intimacy of her family.  A powerful novel that raises troubling moral questions, this is one of the bet stories about the white liberal experience.


Silver, Norman.  Silver’s teenage protagonists all share a common experience — a slow, painful realization; their rite of passage is one that allows them to view the ironies and iniquities of adult South African society with increasing clarity and abhorrence. Among books by Silver are three listed below. (Gr. 9-12)

                1)    No Tigers in Africa. (1991).  Puffin.  Selwyn’s restoration after a mental breakdown.

        Selwyn Lewis, a white teenager newly arrived in England from Johannesburg, denies his racism.  But he’s haunted by guilt that he caused the death of a black teenager.  He didn’t pull the trigger, but he feels it was his fault.  This novel is uneven, but what will haunt readers is the universal moral issue, the connections made between this ordinary family and those ordinary people who went along with slavery and with the Holocaust.  In a mad world that seems normal, Selwyn comes to realize that the system is to blame.  And so is he.

                2)    An Eye for Colour. (1992).  Dutton.  Basil’s entry into or avoidance of national service

2.       Python Dance. (1993).  Ruth’s decision to study speech therapy at Witwatersrand University.


Slovo, Gillian. (1990).  Ties of Blood.  Morrow.  (Gr. 9-12)

        This very long, dramatic, fast-paced docu-novel about two anti-apartheid families——one black, one white——blends fiction, current history, and autobiography with a strong focus on the conflict and idealism of individual young people over four generations.  The best part is about the schoolchildren’s uprising in Soweto.  Slovo’s mother, Ruth First, was killed by a letter bomb.  Another daughter, Shawn Slovo, made the exquisite film, A World Apart, about her childhood conflict with a mother who was fighting for a righteous cause but was unable to be there for her own children. 


William, Michael. (1992).  Crocodile Burning.  Dutton/Lodestar. (Gr. 7-12)

        For Sowetan teenager Seraki Nzule, getting a role in a township musical is a chance to escape from the shambles of school, the poverty, the thugs, the weakness of his parents; and he can block out his fear for his older brother, detained in jail for months without trial. Then the musical moves to Broadway and Seraki finds himself in New York.  The first-person narrative conveys the vitality as well as the sorrow of the dusty township streets.  Also, the Sowetans’ homesickness and their disappointment in America produce a compelling reversal. 



See Nonfiction below.










Africa Fund. (1980).  Women Under Apartheid.  (Gr. 7-12)

        These 100 heartbreaking photographs, combined with informative text, depict the lives of black women, focusing on the migrant labor system and resettlement laws and their devastation of home and family life.  The book is derived from a UN exhibition prepared by the International Defense and Aid Fund for Southern Africa.  A set of black-and-white photographs is available for exhibition.  Children Under Apartheid is a companion volume. 


Benson, Mary.  (1986).  Nelson Mandela: The Man and His Movement.  Norton.  Gr. 9-12)

        This is not only a fine political biography of the great South African leader, but also a history of black struggle in his country and of the long outlawed (now unbanned) resistance movement, the African National Congress. 


Beyond the Barricades: Popular Resistance in South Africa. (1989).  Aperture.  (Gr. 7-12)

        Documentary photographs by 20 leading South African photographers take the reader to the barricades and reveal widespread protest and suffering, including the detention and torture of children.  With background notes and personal accounts, and with a foreword by the Reverend Frank Chikane.


Biko, Steve. (1979).  I Write What I Like.  HarperSan Francisco.  (Gr. 8-12)

        Articles by the young leader of the Black Consciousness Movement, who was murdered in 1977 while under interrogation in prison, demonstrate clearly why the white power structure feared him enough to kill him.


Bradley, Catherine. (1995).  End of Apartheid. Raintree/Steck-Vaughan.  (Gr. 7-12)

        Bradley’s clear history ends with the triumph of multiracial democracy and a discussion of the problems facing a country having to undo centuries of oppression.


du Boulay, Shirley. (1988).  Tutu: Voice of the Voiceless. Eerdmans.  (Gr.  6-12)

        This moving biography of the defiant, outspoken archbishop of Cape Town and Nobel Peace Prize winner integrates Desmond Tutu’s personal story and his liberation theology with a strong sense of what it was like to live under apartheid.


Bunn, David and Taylor, Janet (1988).  From South Africa: New Writing, Photographs, and Art.  University of Chicago.  (Gr. 8-12)

        Written by those fighting at the barricades, this collection of poems, speeches, articles, stories, novel excerpts, and graphics expresses a people’s sorrow and protest as well as a vision of nonracial liberation.   The editors’ introduction points out how far this post-Soweto culture is from the mysterious, primitive stereotypes in Out of Africa.


Cochrane, James, De Gruchy, John, and Martin, Stephen (Eds.) (1999).  Facing the Truth: South African Faith Communities and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  Ohio University Press.  (Gr. 11-12)

        In this most candid of studies, we have the historical notes that report the difficult process of South Africa’s faith communities coming to terms with their role I the injustices of the recent past.  Includes extracts of verbatim testimonies of faith communities to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.


Finnegan, William (1986).  Crossing the Line: A Year in the Land of Apartheid.  HarperCollins.  (Gr. 8-12)

        Finnegan, a California surfer, went to South Africa for personal adventure, but when he took a job in a “Coloured” (mixed race) high school in the throes of boycott and violence, he learned what apartheid was like for young people——the suffering and the commitment.


Fugard, Athol.  (1982).  “Master Harold . . .” and the Boys.  Penguin.  (Gr. 7-12)

        A famous play about a white South African teenager (“the master”) who lashes out at two older black men (“the boys”) who have long treated him as a younger brother: he takes out on them his anger and frustration and reveals the inherited hatred that poisons their world.  An Afrikaner from the rural Cape, Fugard says that he first woke up to the evil of apartheid when, as a young boy, he spat in the face of a black man. 



Gordimer, Nadine and Goldblatt, David. (1986).  Lifetimes Under Apartheid.  Knopf.  (Gr. 7-12)

        With both arms in casts above the elbow, a teenager, released from detention, stares at the camera: opposite is a quote from a Nadine Gordimer novel: “It’s about suffering . . . .  It’s strange to live in a country where there are still heroes.”  Prose excerpts from one of South Africa’s greatest writers accompany 60 searing photographs.

Gray, Stephen. (Ed.) (1989).  The Penguin Book of Southern African Verse.  Penguin.  (Gr. 8-12)

        Dennis Brutus, Mazisi Kunene, Mongane Serote, and Jeremy Cronin are among the wide range of contemporary poets collected here.  There are translations, classics, poetry from the oral tradition, and contemporary pieces.


Harrison, David (1982).  The White Tribe of Africa: South Africa in Perspective.  Univ. of California Press. (Gr. 8-12)

        Harrison’s sympathetic exploration of the attitudes of Afrikaners makes use of many personal anecdotes and photographs.  The author describes their travails of the past in the Great Trek and the Boer War, their rise to power, and their efforts to consolidate that power and ensure the survival of their culture.


Holland, Heidi.  (1990).  The Struggle: A History of the African National Congress.  Braziller.  (Gr. 7-12)

        This lively popular history of South Africa’s leading protest movement integrates crucial events (at Sharpeville, Rivonia, Soweto, etc.) and biographies (Mandela, Luthulli, Tambo, etc.) with a historical account of the black struggle against apartheid.  Author Holland finds hope in the ANC’s unwavering commitment to nonracial democracy. 


Hoobler, Dorothy and Hoobler, Thomas.  (1992). Mandela: The Man, the Struggle, the Triumph. Watts. 

        (Gr. 6-12)

        The Hooblers’ biography sets the great leader’s personal story within the politics of his country.  The authors discuss his early life, his struggle, and his imprisonment, as well as the details of his release, Winnie Mandela’s trial, and the tour of the United States.  Contemporary problems of internal violence and the transition to democratic rule are also addressed.


Hope, Christopher. (1988).  White Boy Running.  Farrar.  (Gr. 9-12)

        After 12 years in London, this talented novelist returns home to observe the whites-only 1987 election; he weaves together his family’s and his country’s history in an account that brings out the absurdity as well as the terror of apartheid.  Hope is also the author of A Separate Development, a sardonic novel about Harry Moto, who finds himself branded as “Coloured” and forced to live apart from his family.


James, Wilmot and van de Vijver, Karol. (Eds.) (2001).  After the TRC: Reflections on Truth and Reconciliation in South Africa.  Ohio University Press.  (Gr. 11-12)

        The testimonies that emerged during the hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as important as they were, nevertheless do not tell the whole story of this wrenching episode of South Africa’s past.  By necessity, the Commission limited its work to a time period (from 1960 to 1994) and to “gross violations” of human rights.  The narratives, then, are a part of a much larger picture——of apartheid, racial history, colonial settlement, genocide, and war. The essays examine the effects of the Commission’s work and the amnesty process within the larger context of South African society and identify new directions for a nation that still confronts enormous social and political challenge.


Lelyveld, Joseph. (1985).  Move Your Shadow: South Africa, Black and White.  (Times Books.  (Gr. 8-12)

        Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this in-depth personal profile by a New York Times correspondent lets the white racists convict themselves through their own words and actions.  Lelyveld emphasizes the gap between superficial concessions and legalized brutality. 


Magubane, Peter. (1986).  Soweto: The Fruit of Fear.  Eerdmans/Africa World Press.  (Gr. 7-12)

        The 1976 Soweto uprising of schoolchildren is dramatically documented by an acclaimed South African photo-journalist I pictures of violent confrontation and sorrow.  The photos show street battles with heavily armed police and soldiers facing teenagers using sticks, stones, and ash-can lids.  Magubane is also the author/photographer of Black Child, winner of the Coretta Scott King Award.


Makeba, Miriam and Hall, James. (1988).  Makeba: My Story.  NAL/Plume.  (Gr. 8-12)

        In a colloquial, present-tense narrative, the popular South African singer, Miriam Makeba, tells her story with warmth and candor, beginning with her childhood and coming-of-age under apartheid.  She goes on to describe her international success after arriving in the U.S., her relations with the famous, including Harry Belafonte; her marriage to the radical Stokely Carmichael; and her unsuccessful attempt to make a home in Guinea.  Makeba’s story rings with authenticity, whether she’s describing her bewilderment as a UN delegate, the suffering of her people and her bitter sense of exile from them, or her unashamed pride and delight in her music. 


Malan, Rian. (1990).  My Traitor’s Heart: A South African Exile Returns to Face His Country, His Tribe, and His Conscience.  Atlantic Monthly Press.  (Gr. 9-12)

        Afrikaans journalist, Malan, great-nephew of apartheid’s first prime minister, returns to his country after years of living in the U.S.  He investigates a number of murders——in Soweto, in the police torture chambers, on the farms, in the gold mines, in the “homelands”——and relates the tangled stories of why people kill each other to politics, history, culture, myth, and to his own quest for home.


Mallaby, Sebastian. (1992).  After Apartheid: The Future of South Africa.  Times Books  (Gr. 9-12)

        In accessible, journalistic style, Mallaby conveys the excitement of a country where people are talking about such basics as how to make a constitution and build an economy.  He ridicules the crude rhetoric that a black government in South Africa would mean communism and chaos, and he also argues that the fear of a right-wing backlash is exaggerated. 


Mandela, Nelson (1994). Long Walk to Freedom:The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela. Little, Brown (Gr. 11-12)

        Mandela’s book epitomizes the struggle between the oppressor and the oppressed.  It captures all that Nelson Mandela stood for and is a legacy of struggle, a source of inspiration for the freedom fighters to come.  Much of the text was written secretly while Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years on Robben Island during the apartheid regime.


Mandela, Nelson. (1996).   Mandela: An Illustrated Autobiography. Little, Brown.  (Gr. 6-12)

        With 200 photographs, this adult title is an accessible and dramatic account of President Mandela’s life and the history of the anti-apartheid struggle.


Mandela, Nelson (1965).  No Easy Walk to Freedom.  Heinemann.  (Gr. 8-12)

        A collection of Mandela’s speeches and articles, this includes accounts of his court trials and writing from

        his time underground, as well as his famous speech to the court before he was sentenced to life imprisonment.


Mathabane, Mark. (1986).  Kaffir Boy:  The True Story of a Black Youth’s Coming of Age in South Africa.  NAL.  (Gr. 8-12)

        Kaffir means nigger in South Africa.  This searing autobiography, a best seller in the U.S., was banned in South Africa until recently.  Mathabane tells of growing up in poverty and fear in the ghetto of Alexandra township near Johannesburg and of the near miracle by which he came to college in the U.S. on a tennis scholarship.  In Love in Black and White, he and his white American wife, Gail, talk about their marriage and the taboos that still surround interracial relationships, even in the U.S.


Mattera, Don.  (1989).  Sophiatown: Coming of Age in South Africa.  Beacon.  (Gr. 9-12)

        In a painful story, Mattera describes his growing up in the vital, multiracial Johannesburg ghetto of Sophiatown in the 1950s, his change from murderous gang leader to political activist, and his anguish at watching the razing of his home and community by bulldozers of the apartheid authorities. 


Meer, Fatime. (1990).  Higher Than Hope: A Biography of Nelson Mandela.  HarperCollins.  (Gr. 8-12)

        This authorized biography by a longtime family friend and fellow activist describes the Mandelas’ personal lives (“I felt I was more or less raised by the police,” says daughter Zindzi) and also the history of the anti-apartheid struggle and the role of the ANC. 


Mermelstein, David (Ed.) (1987).  The Anti-Apartheid Reader: South Africa and the Struggle Against White Racist Rule.  Grove.  (Gr. 7-12)

        A large collection of newspaper articles, speeches, interviews, book excerpts, and statistics provides a broad introductory resource on the apartheid society and resistance to it.  Included are famous texts, such as the Freedom Charter, Mandela’s court statement, Tutu’s Nobel Peace Prize speech, as well as summaries of the racist laws, detailed accounts of the various uprisings, and discussions of issues like health, education, forced removals, and the role of women.  There’s also a section on U.S. foreign policy.


Modisane, Bloke. (1990).  Blame Me on History.  Simon & Schuster.  (Gr. 9-12)

        Less graphic and more analytic than Kaffir Boy, but just as candid, this autobiography is the cry of a brilliant, vital man who grows up black in the slums of Johannesburg and tries to resist the apartheid view of him as less than human. 

Mphahlele, Ezekiel. (1959).  Down Second Avenue: Growing Up in a South African Ghetto.  (Gr. 9-12)

        The author, now a university professor, describes his childhood and youth in the country and city slums, where his education, his sense of community, and his pride in himself helped him to survive vicious racism and his own bitterness.


Paton, Jonathan. (1990).  The Land and People of South Africa.  HarperCollins. .  (Gr. 6-12)

        The son of the late Alan Paton, author of the classic Cry, the Beloved Country (1948), attacks white versions of history (that show courageous whites fighting off hordes of fierce, heathen black warriors) and discusses his country as a multicultural community in all its vitality and terrible conflict.


Peace, Judy Boppell.  (1986).  The Boy Child Is Dying: A South African Experience.  HarperSan Francisco.  (Gr. 6-12)

        Written from the viewpoint of a liberal Christian American who spent eight years in South Africa, these vignettes of the dailiness of cruelty and suffering vitalize the statistics and rationalizations and show the price both whites and blacks pay for living under apartheid.


Reader’s Digest. (1995). Illustrated History of South Africa: The Real Story, 2nd ed. Random House.  (Gr. 6-12)

        Originally published in Cape Town, this handsome, authoritative, large-size volume is an excellent in-depth reference source of history from the point of view of all the peoples of South Africa.


Russell, Diana.  (1989).  Lives of Courage: Women for a New South Africa.  Basic.  (Gr. 8-12)

        Interviews with 60 women who have been actively involved in the anti-apartheid struggle give a direct account of their experiences, which range from life in Soweto to forced removals to the “homelands,” and from marriage across the color bar to civil disobedience.


Sachs, Albie.  (1990).  Running to Maputo.  HarperCollins.  (Gr. 9-12)

        A terrorist bomb took his right arm and blinded him in one eye, but South African lawyer-activist Sachs recovered to continue his fight for a non-racist South Africa. With humor and spirit, he describes his first year of recovery and his struggle to come through without hatred or self-pity.


Sparks, Allister.  (1990).  The Mind of South Africa.  Knopf.  (Gr. 9-12)

        Writing as personal witness, political analyst, and historian, a leading Johannesburg liberal journalist looks at his country’s history, past and present, focusing on daily life and how people see themselves.


Thompson, Leonard.  (1990).  A History of South Africa.  Yale.  (Gr. 10-12)

        Scholarly, authoritative, and highly readable, this history of South Africa includes a lot about pre-colonial societies and points out that indigenous southern Africans were not blank stereotypes for white invaders to civilize or victimize. 


Williamson, Sue.  (1990).  Resistance Art in South Africa.  St. Martins Press.  (Gr. 7-12)

        From T-shirts and banners to sophisticated paintings, drawings, and sculpture, this contemporary collection blends politics and art.


Woods, Donald. (1983).  Biko.  Holt.  (Gr. 7-12)

        White journalist Woods was a close friend of Biko, the leader of the Black Consciousness Movement who was murdered in prison.  This biography (which provided the background for the movie Cry Freedom) is both a personal testimony to Biko and a fierce indictment of the apartheid system. 



Rochman, H. (1993).  Against Borders: Promoting Books for a Multicultural World.  Chicago, Ill.: American Library Association.

Rochman, H. (1997, June 1 & 15).  Apart from Apartheid.  Booklist.  93, 1724.

Thomas, R. (1996).  Connecting Cultures: A Guide to Multicultural Literature for Children.  New Providence, N.J.: R.R. Bowker. 





Angelou, Maya. (1994).  My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me. Crown.  (Gr. 3-4)

        Thandi is a Ndebele girl in South Africa.  She describes her family and their activities, including painting their houses, making beaded clothing, going to the city, and keeping a pet chicken.


Case, Dianne. (1994).  92 Queens Road.  Farrar.  (Gr. 5-6)

        In Cape Town, South Africa, in the 1960s, Kathy and her ‘coloured’ family endure the hardships of apartheid, including watching homes destroyed when the government forces families to relocate.  Kathy also copes with her own family’s problems. 


Daly, Niki. (1984).  Not So Fast Songololo.  Macmillan.  (Gr. K-2)

        Malusi lives with his family near a big city in South Africa.  On a trip into the city, Malusi helps his grandmother, and she buys him a new pair of shoes.


Gordon, Sheila. (1990).  The Middle of Somewhere: A Story of South Africa.  Orchard.  (Gr. 5-6)

        In South Africa, a new suburb for whites is being planned and the black families in one village face relocation to a distant area.  Rebecca, nine, and her family challenge the government’s decision.  As the story evolves, Nelson Mandela is released. 


Haarhoff, Dorian. (1992).  Desert December.  Clarion.  (Gr. K-2)

        Set in the desert of Namibia, this evokes a strong sense of the place, and it universalizes the Christmas story.


Isadora, Rachel. (1991).  At the Crossroads.  Greenwillow.  (Gr. K-6)

        For millions of black children, the central horror of apartheid was the breakup of family life.  The simple text with glowing double-page spread watercolor paintings tells a story of joyful reunion that also reveals its wrenching opposite——the pain of famlies separated by migrant labor. (Booklist’s Top of the List Award as the best picture book of 1991.)


Isadora, Rachel. (1992).  Over the Green Hills.  Greenwillow.  (Gr. K-2)

        Zolani lives in a village by the sea on the east coast of South Africa.  He and his mother travel inland to visit Zolani’s grandmother.  Included are details about the Transkei homeland of South Africa. 


Lewin, Hugh. (1994).  Jafta: The Homecoming.  Kopf.  (Gr. K-2)

        Told from the point of view of a small child, Jafta, this is a simple, moving story of what a father’s return means to a family separated by apartheid.  Lewin is also the author or the following books.

        (1981).     Jafta.  Carolrhoda

        (1981).     Jafta and the Wedding.  Carolrhoda.

                (1981).     Jafta’s Father.  Carolrhoda. 

        (1983).     Jafta––Journey, The.  Carolrhoda

.       (1981).     Jafta’s Mother.  Carolrhoda.

        (1983).     Jafta––Town, The.  Carolrhoda. 


Maartens, Maretha. (1991).  Paper Bird: A Novel of South Africa.  Houghton.  (Gr. 5-6)

        In his village, Adam and his family face violence from policemen riding in Casspirs.  On the road to the city, there are marauders who attack travelers.  Adam must face this violence and his own fear to

        provide for his family. 


Mennen, Ingrid & Daly, Niki. (1992).  Somewhere in Africa.  Dutton  (Gr. K-4)

        In a delightful overthrow of stereotypes, Mennen and Daly’s story of a Malay boy in Cape Town shows him reading about wild, untamed Africa­­—in a book borrowed from the big-city library.


Naidoo, Beverley.  (1990).  Chain of Fire.  HarperCollins.  (Gr. 5-6)

        Naledi, 15, and her family are removed from their homes and exiled to “homelands” in South Africa.  Naledi becomes involved in the political and social unrest in South Africa.


Naidoo, Beverley. (1986).  Journey to Jo’burg: A South African Story.  HarperCollins.

        Naledi, 13, and Tiro, 9, travel to Johannesburg to bring their mother back to their village.  When all three return, they take the baby, Dineo, to the hospital.  Throughout these events, the children experience prejudice and inequity.


Sacks, Margaret. (1992).  Themba.  Dutton.  (Gr. 4-5)

        Themba’s father has been working in the gold mines.  After three years there, he is coming home.  When his father does not arrive, Themba goes to look for him. 


Schermbrucker, Reviva. (1991).  Charlie’s House.  Viking.  (Gr. K-3)

        From the mud and flotsam around him in a crowded township near Cape Town, Charlie Mogotsi builds his own world with ingenuity and make-believe.  Daly’s bright dancing watercolors make us feel for Charlie’s poverty, while we sense the loving family bonds in his home and also the laughter and anger bursting out of the rows of house around him.


Seed, Jenny. (1989).  Ntombi’s Song.  Beacon.  (Gr. Pre-school/Kindergarten)

        Ntombi, a young Zulu girl, spills the sugar she is carrying home.  She must find a way to buy more sugar.  She picks plums, but no one buys them.  When she sings and dances, tourists give her money.


Seeger, Pete. (1986).  Abiyoyo: Based on a South African Lullaby and Folk Song.  Macmillan.  (Gr. 4-5)

        A boy and his father are outcasts until they find the way to trick Abiyoyo, the giant.


Sisulu, Elinor Batezar. (1996).  The Day Gogo Went to Vote.  Little, Brown  (Gr. K-3)

        Thembi, a child in Soweto, tells the story of the amazing day in April 1994 when South Africa held its first democratic elections.  The story and strong pastel pictures personalize those unforgettable news pictures of people in long lines waiting for hours to vote for the first time in their lives. 


Stewart, Dianne., (1993).  The Dove.  Greenwillow.  (Gr. K-2)

        After their land is flooded, Lindi and her grandmother worry about planting crops and having enough money.  A dove comes to their home and they feed it.  Lindi then makes a beaded dove, which they find they can sell.


Stock, Catherine.  (1990).  Armien’s Fishing Trip.  Morrow.  (Gr. K-2)

        Armien is visiting his aunt and uncle in Kalk Bay, on the southern tip of Africa.  Armien stows away on his uncle’s fishing boat.  He comes out of his hiding place to help a fisherman who is swept overboard — to prove that he is not a little boy any more.  Quietly muted watercolor paintings fashion busy scenes both at dockside and at sea. 


Source: Thomas, R.L.  (1996).  Connecting cultures: A guide to multicultural literature for children.  New Providence, N.J.: R.R. Bowker.