Four Books to Read Before Going to University in South Africa


Four Books to Read Before Going to University in South Africa

With the term zooming by faster than ever and the school holidays fast approaching, now is a great time to catch up on your reading. Whether you’re getting ready for a new grade or approaching the crossroads of choosing a major for university, it’s crucial to have a wide and varied reading list.

Literature is an integral part of human society. Books can give us new insights, expose us to new concepts, and equip us to push forth in the modern world. And while you’re in high school, there are certain books that you cannot skip over.

Below are a couple of books that every student needs to read before going to university. These works are thought-provoking, entertaining, and most importantly, something you can relate to as you traverse the wild world of high school.

Books You Need to Read Before Going to University

From incredible dystopian fiction to historically important works, all the way to non-fiction pieces great for high school reading, here are a couple of books to read before you graduate high school.

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs Climate – Naomi Klein

This book won the Hilary Weston Writer’s Trust prize back in 2014 and takes a deep dive into the current climate crisis. It shows how modern capitalism and neoliberalism affect our climate and how we cannot address the issues until changing the system. The climate crisis is one of the biggest issues humanity faces today, and understanding what needs to be done at a young age is crucial to helping the world heal. This is one of the most important books that high school students need to read as it clearly lays out issues and problems that the younger generation will have to face in the future.

Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell

A masterpiece in dystopian fiction, George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” is one of the most important works of literature in modern history. This novel shows the potential threats of totalitarianism, surveillance, and the invasion of privacy. It was written over 70 years ago and presents the threat of a totalitarian government through science fiction, which is as captivating as it is thought-provoking. If you’re in high school and just starting to slowly understand how the world works, this novel shows you a new perspective, especially in the current political climate around the world.

The Unfamous Five – Nedine Moonsamy

A very important piece of South African literature, Nedine Moonsamy’s “The Unfamous Five” details the story of five South African Indian teenagers navigating through the next decade of their life. The novel is a direct subversion of Enid Blyton’s, “The Famous Five” and sets the story in South Africa, where there is a different political and social climate. This story tackles traditional values, sexuality, money, love, and even ancestry as these teenagers navigate through their youth.

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

In today’s political climate, dystopian fiction is usually used as a point of comparison. And when you read books such as Margaret Atwood’s, “The Handmaid’s Tale”, it’s easy to see why. The Handmaid’s Tale is rhetoric on women’s rights and oppression. This book is crucial in helping young people develop the necessary critical thinking skills indeed in university and life in general. It also provides a whole new perspective on the world in general, which is crucial in developing a proper and comprehensive worldview as you move forward in your life.


These books are far from the only pieces of literature you need to read in high school. However, they are some of the most important pieces of literature out there. Before going into university, it’s important to have a comprehensive view of the world and develop proper critical thinking skills. And by reading thought-provoking works like the ones mentioned above, you’ll be entering university or the new school year more equipped than ever!