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Amos Mubunga Kambere
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Omumbesa mulere yowatsuka erilhangira ekithikithiki embere.
It was a little girl who first saw the mysterious shape in the distance.
Neryo ekitsutsu kyamabya kikaseghera hakuhi, kyamabya ngomukali omukule.
As the shape moved closer, she saw that it was a heavily pregnant woman.
Nobuba bunene, omumbesa mwaseghera hakuhi nomughole. “Tumwimaye, kandi tubye nayo”. Tukendimubika nomwanawiwe.
Shy but brave, the little girl moved nearer to the woman.
“We must keep her with us,” the little girl’s people decided. “We’ll keep her and her child safe.”
Neryo omughole amahika eributha. “Sukuma!” “Mulethe esyabbulangiti syeriyiswika!” “Amaghetse!” “Sukumaaaaaaaa!!!”
The child was soon on its way.
Omwana amabya akayalhwamo, bulimundu amayitsiada nerihunerera. “E’punda?!”
But when they saw the baby, everyone jumped back in shock.
Bulimundu amatsuka erithera esyampaka. “Muthukabugha thuthi thukendibika omwana nanyinya, neryo kwabithya” owindi amabugha. “Ikwa ibwa eki kanikisirani, kyanganathulethera mughisa mubi” abandi bathya omwampaka.
Everyone began to argue.
“We said we would keep mother and child safe, and that’s what we’ll do,” said some.
“But they will bring us bad luck!” said others.
Neryo omughole amayisanga inyamabirisighalha eyowene. Neryo amayibulha bulha ngakoleki nomwana oyuthemundu. Ibbwangakoleki?
And so the woman found herself alone again.
She wondered what to do with this awkward child.
She wondered what to do with herself.
Okwiwunzerera mwabya isiawithe ekyerikolha okwihaho iriyisinga omwanawiwe. Abiributha epunda.
But finally she had to accept that he was her child and she was his mother.
Neryo ibwa epunda yamatsuka erikula kula. Kuyanakulha lyolho obundi ebindu byanganabere ndeke, kusangwa neryo muyabya isiyikihika emughongo y’amama wayo. Omughole nomwanalengeseya erilemberayo ngomundu, muyithathoka eribya ngabandu. Mamawayo amatsuka erilhuha neriyibulhabulha.
Now, if the child had stayed that same, small size, everything might have been different. But the donkey child grew and grew until he could no longer fit on his mother’s back.
And no matter how hard he tried, he could not behave like a human being. His mother was often tired and frustrated. Sometimes she made him do work meant for animals.
Akatabanguko nerithendiyitheghererania mubyabanika omwa nyumba n’epunda. Isiangakolha eki nakirya. Isangasosa atia kutse atia. Neryo amatsuruma. Kiro kighuma mwasamba mama wiwe yomulasi, neryo amayihumba ahisi.
Confusion and anger built up inside Donkey. He couldn’t do this and he couldn’t do that. He couldn’t be like this and he couldn’t be like that.
He became so angry that, one day, he kicked his mother to the ground.
Epunda neryo muyayiswekera. Yamathibitha hali omwirungu.
Donkey was filled with shame. He started to run away as far and fast as he could.
Ahayimanira, omwirimya inyamabiribyayo. Epunda neryo yamathalhira omwamwirimya. “Hee haaa?” yamalhakira omwamwirimya. “Hee haaa?” yamamwithaba. Epunda yamayisanga omwamwirimya iyiyene, neryo yamawotsera.
By the time he stopped running, it was night, and Donkey was lost.
“Hee haw?” he whispered to the darkness.
“Hee Haw?” it echoed back. He was alone.
Curling himself into a tight ball, he fell into a deep and troubled sleep.
Eribuka yikalhangira omulhume inyanasamalireyo omwameso. Neryo yamahumulikana erilhangira omutsuniri.
Donkey woke up to find a strange old man staring down at him. He looked into the old man’s eyes and started to feel a twinkle of hope.
Epunda yamayikalha nomulhume oyo, nayo amasomesyayo bindu binene. Epunda muyahulikirira neriyitheghererya. Muhabya erikolhangana neriseka haima.
Donkey went to stay with the old man, who taught him many different ways to survive.
Donkey listened and learned, and so did the old man. They helped each other, and they laughed together.
Kiro kighuma, omulhume mwasaba w’apunda erimuheka erimuthwalha okwa kithwa.
One morning, the old man asked Donkey to carry him to the top of a mountain.
Neryo erihika okwa mwiso wekithwa omwabithu, omulhume na w’apunda bamawotsera. Neryo Epunda yamalhotha mama wayo inyabirilhwalha, kandi inyanimubirikira. W’apunda abere akabuka…
High up amongst the clouds they fell asleep.
Donkey dreamed that his mother was sick and calling to him.
And when he woke up…
… ebithu ibyabiribulirana, n’omulhume wiwe nayo inyabiribulirana.
… the clouds had disappeared along with his friend, the old man.
W’apunda neryo mwaminya ekyerikolha.
Donkey finally knew what to do.
W’apunda amasangana mama wiwe inyane omwakiriro ky’omwana wiwe iya Punda. Mubasamalirana nebitsange.
Donkey found his mother, alone and mourning her lost child. They stared at each other for a long time.
And then hugged each other very hard.
Erilhwiraho, W’apunda na mamawayo mubakulha haima nerikalha omwabuholho. Neryo lyolholyolho ebindi bihanda byamatsuka erikalha haima nabo.
The donkey child and his mother have grown together and found many ways of living side by side.
Slowly, all around them, other families have started to settle.
Written by: Lindiwe Matshikiza
Illustrated by: Meghan Judge
Translated by: Amos Mubunga Kambere