Because their baby sister, Dineo, is ill, Naledi (13) and her brother Tiro (9) must travel 300 miles to fetch their mother, servant to a white family; apartheid makes the journey difficult and dangerous. For all its brevity and simplicity of language, this is an angry book, full of injustices. ""Mma"" is a widow because her husband, a miner, died of lung disease. Her children are undernourished and prone to disease because she earns very little in her menial position, where her affluent employer has little compassion. Dineo is cured at the meager, overcrowded hospital, but another baby dies. Police conduct a brutal ""pass raid"" on the train to Soweto. Naidoo has written not so much a story as a dramatization of the issues affecting the daily life of black South African children. Her style is commonplace and characterization minimal, but the events she narrates are powerful enough to engross the reader, as are the realistic black. and-white illustrations.