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No Turning Back: A Novel of South Africa.
Naidoo, Beverley; No Turning Back: A Novel of South Africa.. New York: HarperCollins, 1997. $14.95, ISBN 0-06-027505-7.

Note: Beverley Naidoo has written many books about adolescents growing up in South Africa. No Turning Back addresses the problems of post-apartheid South Africa. It is one of a few novels about adolescents in the new South Africa. (CABA Winner)

Beverley Naidoo has written many books about adolescents growing up in South Africa. Her own experience as a privileged youth in apartheid South Africa led her to re-evaluate her own values and to become involved in anti-apartheid activities that led to exile in England. No Turning Back addresses the problems of post-apartheid South Africa. Although a new regime governs the country, changes in the economy, society, and education have not filtered down to the poor as quickly as anticipated. Young adolescent boys still find that poverty and crime in the townships are too much to endure. Sipho like other boys flees Soweto and goes to middle class neighborhoods in Johannesburg where he can live with a group of young sidewalk entrepreneurs. To stave off the cold temperatures, Sipho begins to smoke "iglue." Sipho's second job involves advertising T-shirts in front of "Danny's Den." His payment is in kind (food, lodging, and schooling) rather than money. Despite his improved lifestyle, this arrangement keeps him still dependent. Finally, Sipho goes to a shelter where he can live and attend school, he returns to Soweto only to visit his mother. No Turning Back contains a hopeful message for South African youth. As one of the few novels about adolescents in new South Africa, it portrays Nelson Mandela's vision through Sipho for a more tolerant country. Sipho feels confident that he will land a good job and contribute to the racial and economic integration of the country.


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Rating: HR Grade: M Type: Book

Reviewed by: Patricia S. Kuntz, Madison, Wisconsin

Subject: South Africa / Fiction / CABA Winner