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It’s 1976 in South Africa.
Written from the points-of-view of four young people living in Johannesburg and its black township, Soweto—Zanele, a black female student organizer, Meena, of South Asian background working at her father’s shop, Jack, an Oxford-bound white student, and Thabo, a teen gang-member or tsotsi—this book explores the roots of the Soweto Uprising and the edifice of Apartheid in a South Africa about to explode.
In the black township of Soweto, Zanele, who also works as a nightclub singer, is plotting against the apartheid government. The police can’t know. Her mother and sister can’t know. No one can know.
On the affluent white side of town, Jack Craven plans to spend the last days of his break before university burning miles on his beat up Mustang, and crashing other people’s parties.
Their chance meeting changes everything.
Already a chain of events are in motion; a failed plot, a murdered teacher, a powerful police agent with a vendetta, and a secret network of students across the township. The students will rise. And there will be violence when morning comes.
Introducing readers to a remarkable young literary talent, When Morning Comes offers an impeccably researched and vivid snapshot of South African society on the eve of the uprising that changed it forever.
2016 Indian Summer Festival Jubulile Maju performed at our book launch
“Raina is equally adept at seamlessly integrating information on the cause of the uprising—a policy to use Afrikaans in schools—and at building an accelerating human drama. Readers . . . will recognize parallel themes from youth involvement in the American civil rights movement, and historical fiction fans will find common ground with teens who favor dramatic thrillers”
“Readers . . . will recognize parallel themes from youth involvement in the American civil rights movement (and) historical fiction fans will find common ground here with teens who favor dramatic thrillers.”
Elizabeth Bush the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Is South Africa having a moment in North American publishing? This year I read 4 books set in South Africa and know of 2 more that are forthcoming in 2017 and 2018. My favourites were Born a Crime by Trevor Noah and When Morning Comes by Arushi Raina. I am always curious about how Blackness is shaped and experienced in different contexts and Noah’s memoir is an excellent portrayal of his experience. The language around race in South Africa is very different from what I know and I was fascinated to learn more. Raina’s book is YA historical fiction but, man oh man, it read like a dystopian novel. Zanele is the badass-give no fucks-take down the oppressor black girl protagonist I have been waiting for all these years. If I could, I would press this book into peoples’ hands like a grandma slipping you birthday money. It’s that good.
In her debut novel, Raina applies the now-familiar “teenage girl takes on the government” trope to the Soweto uprising of June 1976.
”The novel presents an excellent starting point to inspire curiosity, and serves as a bold and dignified testament to a struggle that shouldn’t be forgotten.”
The Soweto Uprising in June 1976 proved to be a seminal event that cracked the structure of apartheid in South Africa. The protest by 20,000 black schoolchildren against the enforced teaching of the Afrikaans language sparked mounting protests and actions that finally caused the race-based system to crumble in 1990……………………
Books for Kids: When Morning Comes vividly recalls apartheid regime
It’s a fairly safe bet that young readers have heard of Nelson Mandela and are, at least superficially, aware of South Africa and its former regime of apartheid. But it’s not often a book comes along to bring that regime to life in print.
“… an utterly convincing picture of the social, physical and emotional horrors of this volatile era.”
“This book illustrates so beautifully and heartbreakingly what it is like for a child who is forced to flee for one’s life.”
Resource Links (April 2017)