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Magozwe Magozwe

Written by Lesley Koyi

Illustrated by Wiehan de Jager

Translated by Bether Mwale Moyo

Language Nyanja

Level Level 5

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Mu tauni ya Nairobi, kutali nama banja, kunali kunkala anyamata analibe mabanja. Anangonkala mwa siku pa siku.    Kuseni kwina, anyamata anali kulonga mpasa zao pambuyo pogona pampepo mumbali mwa museu. Kusewenzesa vinyalala, anayasa moto kuti asangenewe mpepo.    Pagulu la anyamata ili panali Magozwe. Iye ndiye anali wamung’ono.

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.


Pomwe makolo ake Magozwe anamwalila, iye anali na zaka cabe kumi. Ndipo anayenda kunkala na amalume ake. Amalume ake sanatayeko nzelu kwa mwana. Sanali kumupasa cakudwa cokwanila Magozwe. Ndipo anali kugwilisa ncito zambili.

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.


Ngati Magozwe wafunsa mwina wadandaula, amalume ake anali kumumenya. Pomwe anafunsa kuti ayende kusukulu amalume ake anamumenya nanena nati “Ndiwe cisilu kwambili sungapunzile kalikonse.” Patapita zaka zitatu zosungiwa mozuzindwa, Magozwe anataba kucoka pa nyumba pa amalume ake. Ndipo anayamba kunkala pa museu.

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.


Kunali kovuta kunkala kwa pa museu ndipo anyamata ambili anali kuvutika masiku onse kupeza cakudya. Masiku ena anamenyedwa, ntawi zina anagwilidwa na apolisi. Akadwala kunalibe muntu owatandiza.    Ndalama zomwe anapeza mukupempa pempa, kugulisa ma pulasitiki na zina, ndiye ndalama zomwe zinali kuwatandizila. Umoyo unavutilako cifukwa magulu ena a anyamata anali kufuna kulanda malo osiyana siyana mu tauni.

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.


Siku lina pamene Magozwe anali kusakila-sakila muvinyalala, anapeza buku lina losila long’ambika. Anacosako madoti ndipo analiika mu saka.    Siku lililonse lokonkapo, anacosa buku ndipo anayamba kulangana vitunzi tunzi mu buku. Sanali kuziwa kuwelenga mau.

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.


Vitunzi tunzi vinalangiza munyamata omwe anakula kunkala oyendesa ndeke. Magozwe analota na muzuba momwe, kunkala oyendesa ndeke. Ntawi zina anaziona kuti ndiye wamene anali munyamata wamubuku.

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.


Kunali kozizila ndipo Magozwe anaimilila pa museu kupempa-pempa. Muzibambo wina anabwela pafupi naye. “Bwanji, ndine Thomas. Nisewenza pafupa napano, pamalo pamene ungapeze cakudya,” anakamba. Anasonta nyumba yacikasu, ya malata yobilibila. “Niziwa uzayenda kuti utengeko cakudya?” anafunsa. Magozwe analangana muzibambo nalangana nyumba. “Kapena nizayenda,” anayanka, ndipo anacokapo.

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.


Panapita Mwezi, ndipo anyamata alibe mabanja anali kuonana na Thomas. Thomas anali kukonda kukamba na antu makamaka antu onkala pa museu.    Thomas ananvesela nkani za antu awa. Anali wacidwi ndipo wonkazikika mutima, ndiponso sanataye ulemu.    Anyamata ena anayamba kuyenda kunyumba yacikasu ya malata obilibila, kutenga cakudya muzuba.

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 anali nkale mumbali mwa museu alangana vitunzi tunzi mu buku yake pamene Thomas anabwela nankala pafupi naye. “Ikamba cani nkani?” anafunsa Thomas. “Ikamba pali munyamata amena anankala oyendesa ndeke,” anayanka Magozwe. “Nindani zina munyamata?” anafunsa Thomas. “Kaya, siniziba kuwelenga,” anayanka Magozwe mwacisinsi.

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.


Pomwe anakumana, Magozwe anayamba kuuza Thomas, nkani za umoyo wake. Anamuuza za mwamene anatawila kucoka kwa amalume ake. Thomas sanakambe kwambili, ndipo sanauze Magozwe vocita koma anamvesela mwacidwi. Ntawi zina Magozwe na Thomas anakambilana pamene anali kudya munyumba ya malata obilibila.

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.


Pomwe Magozwe anali pafupi nakukwanisa zaka kumi, Thomas anamupasa buku. Buku inali pali munyamata wa mumunzi wamene anakula kunkala womenya bola wozibika kwambili.    Thomas anamuwelengela Magozwi kwambili, mpaka siku lina anakamba nati,  “Niganiza kuti uyambe kuyenda ku sukulu, kuti ukapunzile kuwelenga. Uganizapo bwanji?” Thomas anakamba kuti anali kuziba malo kumene ana angayende kunkala ndiponso kupunzila kwameneko.

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 anaganizila za kumalo uko ndiponse zoyenda ku sukulu. Nanga kapena amalume ake anakamba zoona kuti anali cisilu kwambili ndipo sangapunzile kalikonse? Nanga ngati bamumenya uku kumalo kwinangu? Anayopa. “Kapena cilibwino kupitiliza kunkala pa museu,” anaganiza.

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.


Anamuuza Thomas kuti anali na manta. Thomas anamusimikizila kuti, azankala na umoyo wabwina uku kumalo.

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


Ndipo Magozwe anapita kunkala mu cipinda mu nyumba ya malata amusipu. Anankala na anyamata ena awili mu cipinda.    Pamozi anali anyamata kumi amene anali kunkala pamozi mu nyumba. Pamozi na a Anti Cissy na amuna ao, magalu atatu, ka kiti na mbuzi yokalamba.

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 anayamba sukulu ndipo inali yovuta. Nivambili vamene anali kufunikila kuziwa kuti alingane na anzake. Ntawi zina anali kufuna kuleka. Koma anaganizila oyendesa ndeke na omenya bola a muma buku ake. Monga aja anyamata amumabuku, sanaleke.

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 anali nkale panja panyumba ya malata a musipu, awelenga buku lake lakusukulu, pamene Thomas anabwela nonkala pafupi pake. “Ikamba cani nkani?” anafunsa Thomas. “Ikamba pali munyamata amene anankala mupunzisi,” anayanka Magozwe. “Nindani zina munyamata?” anafunsa Thomas. “Zina lake ni Magozwe,” anayanka Magozwe mosekelela.

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: Bether Mwale Moyo
Language: Nyanja
Level: Level 5
Source: Magozwe from African Storybook
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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