Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE DAY GOGO WENT TO VOTE by Elinor Batezat Sisulu


South Africa, 1994

by Elinor Batezat Sisulu & illustrated by Sharon Wilson

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: April 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-316-70267-6
Publisher: Little, Brown

 The poignant story of a black South African gogo, or grandmother, who, after generations of struggle, votes in the historic democratic elections of 1994. Gogo shocks her granddaughter, who narrates, as well as the rest of the family when she expresses her wish to vote; exiled by the indignities of apartheid and the infirmities of old age (``Mandela is a young man compared to me!''), she hasn't left the house for years. The community rallies around her, and a local businessman sends his car and driver to take her to the polling station. The crowds applaud as she casts her ballot; once home, the narrator joins in the celebratory toyi-toyi (rhythmic dancing) that continues far into the night. Sisulu works information on voting into the narrative without overwhelming the fundamental story; through Gogo's determination, even readers who are unfamiliar with all the facts of South African apartheid will comprehend the significance of this historic event. Rich pastel illustrations illuminate the text, depicting with equal skill the landscapes of the country and the affection between a gogo and her granddaughter. An uplifting book. (Picture book. 4-8)