Winning Year: 2000 Author: Beverly Naidoo Title: The Other Side of Truth
Puffin Current Publisher:
9780141304762 In Print
This is a moving and topical story of a Nigerian brother and sister fleeing oppression and seeking asylum in the UK. It was written at the time of the killing of the radical journalist Ken Saro-Wiwa by General Sani Abacha. It skilfully blends fact and fiction to leave a lasting impression of real issues at work (political injustice, racism and fear) but with tangible emotional involvement through the eyes of its child characters. The writing is gripping, powerful and evocative, the characters realistic and sympathetic. This is an important book which challenges the notion of 'truth' itself.
Beverley Naidoo was born in South Africa. She grew up under apartheid laws that gave privilege to white children. Black children were sent to separate, inferior schools and their families were told where they could live, work and travel. Apartheid denied all children the right to grow up together with equality, justice and respect.
As a student, Beverley began to question racism and the idea that white people were superior. At 21 she was arrested for taking part in the resistance movement.
In 1965 Beverley came to England. She married another South African exile. Apartheid laws forbade marriage between white and black people and barred them living together with their children in South Africa.
As a child Beverley always loved stories but only started writing when her own children were growing up. Her first book, Journey to Jo'burg, won The Other Award in Britain. It opened a window onto children's struggles under apartheid. In South Africa it was banned until 1991, the year after Nelson Mandela was released from jail. A few years later, when the parents of all South African children had the right to vote for the first time, Nelson Mandela was elected president.