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Magozwe Magozwe

Written by Lesley Koyi

Illustrated by Wiehan de Jager

Translated by Lorato Trok

Language Tswana

Level Level 5

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Kwa toropo-kgolong e e pheteselang ya Nairobi, kgakala le botshelo jo bo bothito jwa kwa gae, go ne go dula basimane ba ba dulang kwa mebileng. Ba ne ba amogela letsatsi le lengwe le lengwe jaaka le ne le tlhaba. Moso mongwe basimane ba ne ba mena meseme ya bona fa ba tsoga. Ba ne ba robala mo fatshe mo samenteng se se maruru. Ba ne ba gotsa molelo ka matlakala go leleka serame. Mo setlhopeng se sa basimane, go ne go nale mongwe a bidiwa Magozwe. O ne a le monnye mo go bone.

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.


Batsadi ba ga Magozwe ba tlhokafetse a na le dingwaga tse tlhano fela. O ile a ya go dula le malomagwe. Monna yo o ne a sa kgathalele ngwana. O ne a sa fe Magozwe dijo sentle. O ne a mo berekisa jaaka lekgoba.

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.


Fa Magozwe a ne a ngongorega kgotsa a botsa dipotso, o ne a ntewa botlhoko. Fa Magozwe a ne a botsa gore a ka ya sekolong, malomagwe o ne a mo betsa mme a re, “O seeleele se segolo gore o ka ithuta sengwe.” Morago ga dingwaga tse tharo tsa tshotlakako e, Magozwe o ile a tshaba. O ile a tshimolola go dula kwa mebileng.

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.


Botshelo jwa mebila bo ne bo le thata mme go ne go le thata mo basimaneng go bona fela sa go ja. Ka matsatsi mangwe ba ne ba tshwarwa, matsatsi mangwe ba ne ba ntewa. Fa ba ne ba lwala, go ne go se kwa ba ka bonang thuso gona. Setlhopa se sa basimane se ne se tshela ka madinyana a ba neng ba a bona ka go kopa, le go rekisa dipolasetiki le go rekisa dilo tse di ka dirisiwang gape. Botshelo bo ne bo le bokete thata ka ntlha ya dintwa magareng ga basimane ba ba neng ba batla go laola dikarolo dingwe tsa toropo-kgolo.

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.


Ka letsatsi lengwe fa Magozwe a ntse a batlana le dijo mo matlakaleng, o ile a bona buka e e gagogileng ya dipadi. O ile a ntsha leswe mme a e tsenya mo mokotlaneng wa gagwe. Letsatsi le lengwe le lengwe morago ga moo, o ne a ntsha buka e mme a lebelela ditshwantsho. O ne a sa itse go buisa mafoko.

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.


Ditshwantsho tsa padi e di ne di bua ka ga mosimane yo o ileng a gola go nna mofofisi wa sefofane. Magozwe o ne ka gale a lora gonna mofofisi wa sefofane. Ka matsatsi a mangwe, o ne a ipona e le ena mosimane yo o mo pading.

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.


Go ne go le maruru thata mme Magozwe o ne a eme mo thoko ga tsela a kopa. Monna mongwe a tla kwa go ena. “Dumela, ke nna Tomase. Ke dira gaufi le mo, ko tulong e o ka bonang dijo teng,” ga rialo monna yo. A supa ntlo e e serolwane e e nang le marulelo a botala jwa legodimo. “Ke tshepa gore o tla ya moo go ya go batla dijo?’’ monna yo a botsa. “Ka gongwe,” a bua a tsamaya.

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.


Morago fa dikgwedi di ntse di tsamaya, basimane ba ne ba tlwaetse go bona Tomase moo. O ne a rata go bua le batho, bogolo-segolo batho ba ba dulang mo mebileng. Tomase o ne a reetsa dipadi tsa matshelo a batho. O ne a a le pelo-telele, ebile a le maitseo. Basimane ba bangwe ba ne ba tshimolola go ya kwa ntlong e e serolwane go ya go batla dijo tsa motshegare.

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 o ne a dutse mo thoko ga tsela a lebeletse buka ya ditshwantsho fa Tomase a tla go dula mo thoko ga gagwe. “ Padi e e bua ka eng? ” ga botsa Tomase. “ Ke ka mosimane yo o nnang mofofisi wa sefofane,” ga araba Magozwe. “Leina la mosimane ke mang?” ga botsa Tomase. “Ga ke itse, ga ke itse go buisa,” ga rialo Magozwe a buela kwa tlase.

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.


Fa ba kopana, Magozwe o ile a tshimolola go bolelela Tomase ka ga botshelo jwa gagwe. E ne ele ka ga malomagwe le gore goreng a tshabile. Tomase o ne a sa bue thata, ebile o ne a sa bolelele Magozwe gore a dire eng, mme o ne a reetsa ka tlhoafalo ka dinako tsotlhe. Ka nako tse dingwe ba ne ba bua fa ba ntse ba ja kwa ntlong ya marulelo a botala jwa legodimo.

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.


Go isa kwa matsatsing a botsalo jwa ga Magozwe jwa dingwaga tse lesome, Tomase o ne a fa Magozwe buka. E ne e le padi ka ga mosimane wa kwa magaeng o o golang go nna setshameki se se itsegeng sa kgwele ya dinao. Tomase o ne a buisetsa Magozwe padi eo makgetlo a mantsi, go fitlhela letsatsi lengwe a re, “Ke nagana gore ke nako ya gore o tsene sekolo o ithute go buisa.Wena o nagana eng?” Tomase a tlhalosa gore o itse tulo e bana ba ka dulang teng le go ya sekolong.

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 o ne a nagana ka tulo e ntšhwa e, le ka go ya sekolong. Ka gongwe malomagwe o ne a bua nnete mme ke motlapa fela o o sa kgoneng go ithuta sepe? Fa a ka fitlha a ntewa kwa tulong e ntšhwa? O ne a tshogile. “Ka gongwe go botoka ke nna gona mo mebileng,” a nagana.

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.


O ile a bolelela Tomase letshogo la gagwe. Ka dinako tsotlhe Tomase o ne a tshepisa mosimane gore botshelo bo tla tokafala kwa tulong e ntšhwa.

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


Jaanong Magozwe a ya go dula kwa phaposing ya ntlo ya marulelo a a serolwane. O ne a dula le basimane ba bangwe ba babedi. Palo ya bana ba ba neng ba dula kwa ba ne ba le lesome. Gammogo le mmangwane Puleng le monna wa gagwe, dintšwa tse tharo, katse le podi ya motsofe.

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 o ne a tshimolola sekolo mme go ne go le boima. O ne a saletse kwa morago thata. Ka dinako tse dingwe o ne a batla go ineela . Mme fela a nagana ka mofofisi wa sefofane le motshameki wa kgwele ya dinao mo dipading. Jaaka bona, o ne a seka a ineela.

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 o ne a dutse mo jarateng kwa ntlong ya marulelo a a serolwane, a buisa buka ya dipadi go tswa kwa sekolong. Tomase o ile a tla go dula mo thoko ga gagwe. “Padi e e bua ka eng?” ga botsa Tomase. “Ke ka mosimane yo o nnang morutabana,” ga araba Magozwe. “Leina la mosimane ke mang?” ga botsa Tomase. “Leina la gagwe ke Magozwe,” ga rialo Magozwe ka monyebo.

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: Lorato Trok
Language: Tswana
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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