Now Is the Time for Running

by Michael Williams

Fifteen-year-old Deo and his older, developmentally disabled brother Innocent barely... read more

Fifteen-year-old Deo and his older, developmentally disabled brother Innocent barely survive a massacre by government soldiers in their Zimbabwe village. In the aftermath, they head for South Africa, making the dangerous crossing into that nation with a guide and a handful of other refugees. They eventually end up in Johannesburg, where they are taken in by a small group of refugees living inside a bridge. Deo’s world is shattered a second time when anger and xenophobia explode in a series of violent attacks against refugees. Jump ahead two years, and Deo is living on the streets of Cape Town, getting high as often as he can to keep memories at bay, when he’s spotted by a coach of the South African Street Soccer Team. Soccer had been one of the joys of Deo’s life in Zimbabwe. Now he is given a chance to train with and try out for the team that will represent South Africa in the Homeless World Cup. But in order for this group of young men and women comprising native South Africans and refugees from other African nations to become a South African team, they must revisit their painful pasts together, sharing their stories as a means of understanding how much they have in common. Told in Deo’s compelling voice, author Michael Williams’s gripping and ultimately uplifting story illuminates the strength and vulnerability of the human spirit while skillfully navigating and ultimately challenging xenophobia in South Africa. Williams provides additional information about xenophobia in South Africa and the Homeless World Cup in author’s notes. (Ages 12–15)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2012

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