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Magozwe Magozwe

Written by Lesley Koyi

Illustrated by Wiehan de Jager

Translated by Georgette McGlashen

Language Jamaican Creole

Level Level 5

Narrate full story The audio for this story is currently not available.

Inna di bizi siti a Nairuobi, faar fram a laif a uom kier, yu did av wahn gruup a bwaai pikni we no liv no we. Dem tek evridie jos az it kom. Pan wan a di maanin dem di bwaai pikni dem did a pak op dem mat dem fram aafa di kuol kangkriit we dem did a sliip. Fi fait aaf di kuol dem kech op faiya wid gyaabij. Mongs di gruup a bwaai pikni dem a did Magozwe. Im a did di liklis.

In the busy city of Nairobi, far away from a caring life at home, lived a group of homeless boys. They welcomed each day just as it came. On one morning, the boys were packing their mats after sleeping on cold pavements. To chase away the cold they lit a fire with rubbish. Among the group of boys was Magozwe. He was the youngest.

Wen Magozwe pierens dem did ded, im a did onggl faiv iez-uol. Im did go liv wid im ongkl. Di man neva bizniz bout di pikni. Im neva gi Magozwe inof fuud. Im mek di bwaai pikni du uol iip a aad wok.

When Magozwe’s parents died, he was only five years old. He went to live with his uncle. This man did not care about the child. He did not give Magozwe enough food. He made the boy do a lot of hard work.

Ef Magozwe komplien ar aks no kwestiyan, im ongkl biit im. Wen Magozwe aks ef im kuda go skuul, im ongkl biit im an se, “Yu tuu fuul-fuul fi lorn notn.” Afta chrii ierz a da chriitment de Magozwe ronwe fram im ongkl. Im did staat liv pan di schriit.

If Magozwe complained or questioned, his uncle beat him. When Magozwe asked if he could go to school, his uncle beat him and said, “You’re too stupid to learn anything.” After three years of this treatment Magozwe ran away from his uncle. He started living on the street.

Schriit laif did aad an nof a di bwaai pikni dem did fain it aad evridie jos fi get fuud. Somtaim dem get lak op bai poliis, somtaim dem get biitn. Wen dem get sik, nobadi no de fi elp dem. Di gruup a bwaai pikni dipen pan di likl moni we dem get fram wen dem beg, an fram wen dem sel plaskit an ada tingz we yuuz agen. Laif di iivn muor aada kaaz a faitin wid kantenshos piipl uu waahn kantruol a som paat a di siti.

Street life was difficult and most of the boys struggled daily just to get food. Sometimes they were arrested, sometimes they were beaten. When they were sick, there was no one to help. The group depended on the little money they got from begging, and from selling plastics and other recycling. Life was even more difficult because of fights with rival groups who wanted control of parts of the city.

Wan die wen Magozwe did a luk chuu di gyaabij pan dem, im fain wahn uol tier op stuoribuk. Im kliin di dort aaf a it an put it inna im bag. Evridie afta dat im wuda tek out di buk an luk pan di picha dem. Im neva nuo ou fi riid di wod dem.

One day while Magozwe was looking through the dustbins, he found an old tattered storybook. He cleaned the dirt from it and put it in his sack. Every day after that he would take out the book and look at the pictures. He did not know how to read the words.

Di picha dem did a tel di stuori bout wahn bwaai pikni we gruo op an ton wahn pailat. Magozwe wuda diejriim bout se im a wahn pailat. Somtaim, im imajin se im a did di bwaai pikni inna di stuori.

The pictures told the story of a boy who grew up to be a pilot. Magozwe would daydream of being a pilot. Sometimes, he imagined that he was the boy in the story.

It did kuol an Magozwe did a stan op pan di ruod a beg. Wahn man waak op tu im. “Eluo, mi a Tamas. Mi wok nier ya so, a wahn plies we yu kyahn get sopm fi nyam,” di man se. Im paint pan wahn yelo ous wid wahn bluu oustap. “Mi uop se yu wi go de go get som fuud?” im aks se. Magozwe luk pan di man, an den pan di ous. “Miebi,” im se, an waak we.

It was cold and Magozwe was standing on the road begging. A man walked up to him. “Hello, I’m Thomas. I work near here, at a place where you can get something to eat,” said the man. He pointed to a yellow house with a blue roof. “I hope you will go there to get some food?” he asked. Magozwe looked at the man, and then at the house. “Maybe,” he said, and walked away.

Uova di neks kopl a monts dem, di bwaai pikni dem we no liv no we get yuuz tu si Tamas roun di plies. Tamas did laik taak tu piipl, espeshali piipl we liv pan di schriit. Tamas wuda lisn tu di stuori dem bout ou piipl liv. Im did siiros, an pieshent, neva ruud ar shuo no disrispek. Som a di bwaai pikni dem did staat go a di yelo an bluu ous inna di migl a di die fi get fuud.

Over the months that followed, the homeless boys got used to seeing Thomas around. He liked to talk to people, especially people living on the streets. Thomas listened to the stories of people’s lives. He was serious and patient, never rude or disrespectful. Some of the boys started going to the yellow and blue house to get food at midday.

Magozwe did a siddong pan di kangkriit a luk pan im picha buk wen Tamas kom siddong bisaid a im. “We di stuori bout?” Tamas aks se. “A bout wahn bwaai pikni we ton a pailat,” im ansa se. “We di bwaai pikni niem?” Tamas aks se. “Mi no nuo, mi kyaahn riid,” Magozwe wispa se.

Magozwe was sitting on the pavement looking at his picture book when Thomas sat down next to him. “What is the story about?” asked Thomas. “It’s about a boy who becomes a pilot,” replied Magozwe. “What’s the boy’s name?” asked Thomas. “I don’t know, I can’t read,” said Magozwe quietly.

Wen dem di miit, Magozwe did staat tel Tamas di stuori bout imself. A did di stuori bout im ongkl an wai im ron we. Tamas neva taak nof, an im neva tel Magozwe wa fi du, bot im alwiez lisn gud tu evriting. Somtaim dem wuda taak wentaim dem a nyam a di ous wid di bluu oustap.

When they met, Magozwe began to tell his own story to Thomas. It was the story of his uncle and why he ran away. Thomas didn’t talk a lot, and he didn’t tell Magozwe what to do, but he always listened carefully. Sometimes they would talk while they ate at the house with the blue roof.

Roun wen Magozwe a go bi ten iez-uol, Tamas gi’im wahn nyuu stuori buk. A did wahn stuori bout wahn bwaai pikni fram di vilij we gruo op fi bi wahn fiemos futbaala. Tamas riid di stuori tu Magozwe uol iip a taim, so til wan die im se, “Mi tingk a taim nou yu go a skuul an lorn fi riid. We yu tingk?” Tamas tel im se im nuo bout wahn plies we pikni kuda stie, an go a skuul.

Around Magozwe’s tenth birthday, Thomas gave him a new storybook. It was a story about a village boy who grew up to be a famous soccer player. Thomas read that story to Magozwe many times, until one day he said, “I think it’s time you went to school and learned to read. What do you think?” Thomas explained that he knew of a place where children could stay, and go to school.

Magozwe did tingk bout di nyuu plies, an bout fi go a skuul. Wa’apm ef im ongkl did rait an im did tuu fuul-fuul fi lorn notn. Wa’apm ef dem giim biitn a di nyuu plies? Im di fried. “Miebi a did beta fi stie an liv pan di schriit,” im tingk tu imself.

Magozwe thought about this new place, and about going to school. What if his uncle was right and he was too stupid to learn anything? What if they beat him at this new place? He was afraid. “Maybe it is better to stay living on the street,” he thought.

Im tel Tamas di tingz dem we im di fried a. Likl bai likl di man kanvins di bwaai pikni se laif kuda beta a di nyuu plies.

He shared his fears with Thomas. Over time the man reassured the boy that life could be better at the new place.

So Magozwe did muuv iihn a wahn ruum inna di ous wid di griin oustap. Im shier di ruum wid tuu ada bwaai pikni. In aal a did ten pikni a liv a di ous. Inkluudn anti Sisi an ar osban, chrii daag, wahn kyat, an wan uol guot.

And so Magozwe moved into a room in a house with a green roof. He shared the room with two other boys. Altogether there were ten children living at that house. Along with Auntie Cissy and her husband, three dogs, a cat, and an old goat.

Magozwe did staat skuul an it di aad. Im did afi kech op. Somtaim im did waahn gi op. Bot im did tingk bout di pailat an di futbaala inna di stuoribuk dem. Laik dem, im neva gi op.

Magozwe started school and it was difficult. He had a lot to catch up. Sometimes he wanted to give up. But he thought about the pilot and the soccer player in the storybooks. Like them, he did not give up.

Magozwe did a siddong inna di yaad a di ous wid di griin oustap, a riid wahn stuoribuk fram skuul. Tamas kom op an did siddong bisaid a im. “Wa da stuori ya bout?” Tamas aks im se. “A bout wahn bwaai pikni uu ton wahn tiicha,” Magozwe ansa se. “We di bwaai pikni niem?” Tamas aks se. “Im niem Magozwe,” Magozwe ansa wid a smail.

Magozwe was sitting in the yard at the house with the green roof, reading a storybook from school. Thomas came up and sat next to him. “What is the story about?” asked Thomas. “It’s about a boy who becomes a teacher,” replied Magozwe. “What’s the boy’s name?” asked Thomas. “His name is Magozwe,” said Magozwe with a smile.

Written by: Lesley Koyi
Illustrated by: Wiehan de Jager
Translated by: Georgette McGlashen
Language: Jamaican Creole
Level: Level 5
Source: Magozwe from African Storybook
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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