The World Beneath

By Janice Warman

One boy's struggle for freedom during South Africa's anti-apartheid movement.

1970s South Africa. Eleven-year-old Joshua lives with his mother, who works as a maid for the Malherbes in a white middle-class area in Cape Town. We see this enclosed world through Joshua's eyes as we share his longing for his family and his past life in the rural Ciskei. When a boy enters the garden one night, Joshua offers him refuge. The stranger turns out to be a freedom fighter on the run. As riots sweep the country Joshua becomes more and more aware of the political situation around him and is determined to help bring about change for himself, his family and ultimately his country.

Categories: Fiction

For readers aged: 12+

  • Publication details:
  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781406337167
  • Published: 02 Oct 2014
  • Price: £6.99
  • Size: 198 x 129 mm
  • Pages: 176

More to explore...

  • The-World-Beneath

More books for age 12+

  • The-Good-Hawk-Shadow-Skye-Book-One
  • Helen-Oxenbury-A-Life-in-Illustration
  • Lou-Out-of-Luck
  • The-Goose-Road

Customer reviews


'A powerful and beautifully descriptive novel that brilliantly portrays apartheid in 1970s South Africa. . . This clever and insightful novel is an incredibly potent retelling through the eyes of a child' Books for Keeps

'Warman turns her journalistic talents to historical fiction in her debut novel about the struggle to end apartheid in South Africa and how it shapes a young boy's life. [...] Each chapter feels thoroughly researched, with details about Joshua's life at a training camp and his return to Cape Town. [...] A good complement to nonfiction about apartheid South Africa, a little-explored place and period in children's literature.' Kirkus

'...the work serves to address a critical aspect of world history and can be a valuable addition to school libraries. This book is recommended for use in the classroom as well as for libraries with larger collections and where historical fiction is popular.' School Library Journal

'Middle-schoolers who are intrigued by Joshua’s situation should have little difficulty finding material to make sense of this gripping drama.' Galleys

Write your own review

By submitting a review you grant us the right to display and use it in any way; please read our General Legal Notices for full details. If you are under 16, please obtain your parent/guardian’s permission before submitting or ask your parent/guardian to submit on your behalf.


Find your local bookshop:


Also available in:


Recently viewed