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A South African Writer
The Other Side of Truth
In The Other Side of Truth, Beverly Naidoo skillfully introduces young readers to the serious topics of political terror and political asylum through the wanderings of two young African refugees. Life for Sade and Femi radically changes when their mother is assassinated following their father’s writing against the Nigerian regime. The two children are smuggled to England, where they have to cope with the police, social and immigration services, foster families, ordinary racism and schoolyard bullies, together with their own pain and suffering and worry for their father. This is a novel whose language is easy enough – because it is intended for children — and written in clear English, however complex its subject is.
OBJECTIVES ■ Culture: Introducing pupils to a prominent South African contemporary writer – political refugees and asylum seekers – bullying FINAL PROJECT
MATERIAL ■ The Other Side of Truth, Beverley Naidoo (page numbers here refer to the Harper Trophy edition, 2003) ■ Copies of the Worksheet ■ Internet access or printed copies of the web pages CEFR
In groups, after considering a book review or an interview with the author as a preliminary approach, pupils will read and study a few selected chapters of the novel, corresponding to some of the key themes and events of the book. The final task will encourage them to recap those and develop more autonomous presentations for their final oral examination.
Reading C1: studying a literary text in order to recognise key features of characterisation and theme Speaking: Interaction B2 – C1: a role-play interview Production B2 – C1: reporting on a narrative, commenting on graphs
PROCEDURE ACTIVITY 1. A FIRST APPROACH TO THE NOVEL – GROUP WORK In order to help pupils acquire a global view on the story, and to ensure their general understanding of the plot, provide them with a book review of the novel and an extract from an interview with the author. This should make them aware of the main themes of the novel and reassure less confident pupils, by giving them an insight into the story and get an understanding of the plot prior to their reading. Divide the class into two groups. Group A reads the book review from The New York Times dating from when The Other Side of Truth was first published (go to www.nytimes.com then type “The Other Side of Truth” — with quotation marks — on the search engine; click on the “all results since 1851” option to access the page; click on the headline). You can print out copies for pupils, or send them to read it on line. Meanwhile, Group B focuses on three questions from an interview with Beverley Naidoo available on her website (www.beverleynaidoo.com/ ASK 1 (A theother_interview. html). Both groups complete T or B accordingly) and get ready to report on what they have done. are smuggled to England and then abandoned by Mrs Bankole. T ASK 3 refers to Chapters 11 and 18, when the two children
face the police and immigration services. Based on Chapters ASK 4 focuses on how Sade copes with bullies 21 and 25, T in her new school.
The final activities suggested here aim at boosting pupils’ confidence by giving them an opportunity to re-use what they have learnt throughout the narrative. It must be considered a step towards autonomy and an opportunity to orally recap many elements from the novel, bearing in mind the format of their Baccalauréat oral exam. T ASK 5 A provides some complementary information about refugees and asylum seekers, with official data and figures to be commented upon.
A South African Writer
ACTIVITY 2. READING SOME KEY PASSAGES
Three passages have been selected. T ASK 2 refers to Chapters 4 and 8, when Sade (pronounced Sha-day) and Femi
In Chapter 32, Sade and Femi manage to meet “Mr Seven O’Clock” and convince him to talk about their father’s situation...
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