READ: Dirty Dassie (in English, isiZulu, isiXhosa, and download in 8 official languages)
Dumi smelled bad because he was dirty. He was dirty because he never washed, but nobody knew why. Read on...
Dirty Dassie (Supplied)
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This story is brought to you by Nal'ibali, which means Here's the story in isiXhosa. Nal'ibali is a storytelling initiative that aims to establish a culture of reading for enjoyment in children.

Scroll down to download the PDF story in English, isiZulu, isiXhosa, Sepedi, Sesotho, SeTswana, Xistonga and Afrikaans.

Dirty Dassie (English)

Dumi Dassie lay flat on his back, sunning his fuzzy tummy on a big, flat rock. He was nearly asleep when he heard loud giggles. Lazily, he opened one eye. Two little dassies were scampering by.

Dirty Dassie


“EWWWW!!!” said one of them to the other when they were safely past the rock. “That dassie smells BAD!” They giggled some more as they rushed off.

Dumi sighed, and flicked at a fly that was buzzing around his ear. “It’s not fair!” he thought to himself. “Nobody understands me.”

It was true. Dumi smelled bad because he was dirty. He was dirty because he never washed, but nobody knew why. The truth was, Dumi was scared of water. Once, when he was still a baby, he fell head first into a big muddy puddle. Dumi couldn’t swim, but luckily, his big brother fished him out by his hind legs. Ever since that day, Dumi couldn’t bear to be near water. When the other dassies went to the pool every morning to wash, Dumi slunk off and hid in the bushes. Nobody could get him to change his mind about water – not even his mother!

The days passed – the summer was very hot and there was no rain. Dumi grew dirtier and dirtier. His fur was greasy and matted, and he smelled horrible. Even worse, a swarm of flies followed him wherever he went. Dumi didn’t like this, of course, but he acted like he didn’t care.

One morning, the village elders came to talk to Dumi. They stood far away, and Dumi saw them holding their noses and gasping for air.

“We are sorry, Dumi,” they said, “but as you know it hasn’t rained for a long time. There are many flies around. Flies love dirt, and you are very dirty, so the flies love you! All these flies will make us sick … It is best that you leave this village.”

Poor Dumi! What could he do? Sadly, he slunk off. He walked and walked. The day grew hotter as the sun rose high into the bright blue sky. His head felt heavy, and his feet were so sore! Eventually, he felt he could not walk another step.

“I need some shade!” he said, looking around. There weren’t many trees in this part of the veld, but he saw a small thorn tree not far away. Slowly, Dumi limped over to this little tree. He lay down under it, and fell fast asleep.

Many hours passed. Dumi had been sleeping so soundly that he hadn’t seen the storm clouds gathering in the sky. The sun had disappeared. The sky grew dark. The air grew cooler and cooler, but still the tired dassie slept. At last, the rain began pelting down.

Dumi woke up. Fat raindrops were splashing all over his body! In the dassie village, all the dassies hid from the rain under the big rocks. But here, there was nowhere to hide! At first, when Dumi saw and felt the rain, he screamed and cried and rolled into a little furry ball. “Help!” he yelped. “Somebody help me!” But even the flies were gone, and Dumi was all alone.

Then a strange thing happened. As the cool rain ran over his body, Dumi realised that it felt good. Slowly, he calmed down and after a while, he even dared to open his eyes. “The rain looks pretty,” he said, “and it makes the veld smell fresh!” Then Dumi stood up, and opened his mouth to drink the raindrops. “It tastes good too!” he said in wonder. He was so happy that soon he began to tap his foot and click his fingers.

That was when Dumi turned around, and danced all the way back to the dassie village, singing as he went: “The rain! The rain! I love the rain! Imvula! Imvula! Imvula!”

Dumi arrived at the village at sunset. None of the other dassies saw him – they were all hiding from the rain under big rocks. Dumi didn’t care. He was used to being alone, and anyway, he felt so happy! He ate a few leaves for supper, crawled under a bush and fell fast asleep again.

When Dumi woke up, the rain had stopped and the village looked beautiful and fresh. As the sun rose, a carpet of bright pink flowers burst into bloom.

“Wow!” he said, looking around.

Just then, all the other dassies came walking towards him. They were on their way to the pool to wash. How surprised they were to see the new, clean, sweet-smelling Dumi!

“Dumi! What happened?” they all asked, crowding around him. But instead of speaking, Dumi began to click his fingers and tap his foot … soon he was dancing and singing again. All the dassies joined in, as they made their way to the pool: “The rain! The rain! We love the rain! Imvula! Imvula! Imvula!”

Dirty Dassie

To read the story in another language, download a pdf below:

Download the English pdf here

Download the isiZulu pdf here

Download the isiXhosa pdf here

Download the Sesotho pdf here

Download the Sepedi pdf here

Download the Xitsonga pdf here

Download the SeTswana pdf here

Download the Afrikaans pdf here

Imbila engcolile (isiZulu)

Translated by  Dumisani Sibiya

UDumi Mbila wayelele ngomhlane, efudumeza isisu sakhe edwaleni elikhulu eliyisicaba. Wayesecishe wazunywa wubuthongo ngenkathi ezwa umsindo omkhulu wokugigitheka. Ngokuvilapha, wavula iso elilodwa. Izimbila ezincane ezimbili zazidlula ngelikhulu ijubane.

Dirty Dassie

“EWUUU!!!” kwasho enye yazo kwenye ngenkathi sezedlule ngokuphepha edwaleni. “Leya mbila inuka KABI!” Zaphinda zagigitheka kakhudlwana zishesha.

UDumi waphefumula kakhulu, wayesephunga impukane eyayilokhu ibhuza izungeza indlebe yakhe. “Akunabulungiswa!” ezicabangela. “Akekho ongiqondisisayo mina.”

Kwakuyiqiniso. UDumi wayenuka kabi ngoba wayengcolile. Wayengcolile ngoba wayengalokothi ageze, kodwa akekho owayazi ukuthi kungani. Iqiniso wukuthi, uDumi wayewesaba amanzi. Ngelinye ilanga, eseyingane, wawa ngekhanda kuqala ewela obhukwini lodaka. UDumi wayengakwazi ukubhukuda, kodwa ngenhlanhla, umnewabo wamkhipha ngemilenze yakhe yangemuva. Ukusukela ngalelo langa, uDumi wayengasakwazi ukumela ukuba seduze kwamanzi. Lapho ezinye izimbila ziya echibini njalo ekuseni ukuze ziyogeza, uDumi wayenyonyoba ayocasha ezihlahleni. Akekho owakwazi ukumguqula ingqondo yakhe mayelana namanzi – ngisho unina imbala!

Izinsuku zedlula – ihlobo lalishisa kakhulu kungekho mvula. UDumi wayelokhu engcola kakhulu. Uboya bakhe babugcwele amafutha futhi busongene, enuka kabi. Okubana futhi, ukuthi iqulu lezimpukane lalimlandela noma kuphi lapho eya khona. UDumi, vele, wayengakuthandi lokhu kodwa wayenza sengathi akanandaba.

Ngelinye ilanga ekuseni, abantu abadala bendawo beza bazokhuluma noDumi. Bama kude, uDumi wababona bebambe amakhala abo becinana befuna umoya. 

“Siyaxolisa, Dumi,” kusho bona, “kodwa nawe uyazi ukuthi selokhu lingani isikhathi eside. Kukhona izimpukane eziningi lapha. Izimpukane ziyakuthanda ukungcola, kanti wena ungcole kakhulu, ngakho izimpukane ziyakuthanda! Zonke lezi zimpukane zizosigulisa … Kuhle kakhulu ukuthi uwushiye lo muzi.”

UDumi bandla! Wayezokwenzenjani? Wanyonyoba eshiya kabuhlungu. Wahamba, wahamba. Usuku lwaluya ngokushisa njengoba nelanga laliphakamela esibhakabhakeni esikhanyayo esiluhlaza. Ikhanda lakhe lalizwakala lisinda, nezinyawo zakhe zazibuhlungu! Ekugcineni, wezwa ukuthi ngeke esakwazi ukuhamba athathe esinye isinyathelo.

“Ngidinga umthunzana!” kusho yena, eqalaza ngapha nangapha. Kwakungekho zihlahla eziningi kule ngxenye yesiganga, kodwa wabona isihlahla sameva esincane esingekude kakhulu. Kancane kancane, uDumi watotobela kulesi sihlahlana. Walala phansi ngaphansi kwaso, wayeselala wathi zwi.

Kwedlula amahora amaningi. UDumi wayelele kahle ngendlela yokuthi akawabonanga ngisho namafu eqoqana esibhakabhakeni. Ilanga lase linyamalele. Isibhakabhaka saqhubeka nokuba mnyama. Umoya waya ngokuya uphola, uphola, kodwa imbila ekhathele yayisalele. Ekugcineni, imvula yaqala ukuthi chapha, chapha.

UDumi wavuka. Amaconsi amakhulu ayethela wonke umzimba wakhe! Emzini wezimbila, zonke izimbila zacashela imvula ngaphansi kwamadwala amakhulu. Kodwa lapha, kwakungekho lapho ayengacasha khona! Ekuqaleni, ngesikhathi uDumi ebona futhi ezwa imvula, wamemeza, wakhala, wagingqika eseyibhola elincane elinoboya. “Sizani!” enswininiza. “Sizani bakithi!” Kodwa ngisho izimpukane zazingasekho, uDumi wayeyedwa.

Kwase kwenzeka into engejwayelekile. Njengoba imvula epholile yayigobhoza phezu komzimba wakhe nje, uDumi wezwa ukuthi sekumnandi. Kancane kancane, wehlisa umoya, emva kwesikhathi, waze wathi ukuwavula amehlo akhe. “Imvula ibukeka iyinhle,” kusho yena, “futhi yenza esigangeni kunuke ngokuqabulayo!” Emva kwalokho uDumi wasukuma, wavula umlomo ukuze aphuze amaconsi emvula. “Iyanambitheka nayo bo!” esho ngokumangala. Wayejabule kakhulu ngendlela yokuthi ngokushesha waqala ukushaya unyawo phansi nokushaya izithupha zakhe.

Kungalesi sikhathi lapho uDumi aphenduka khona, wadansa indlela yonke ebuyela emzini wezimbila, ecula njengoba ehamba nje: “Imvula! Imvula! Ngiyayithanda imvula! Imvula! Imvula! Imvula!”

UDumi wafika emzini wezimbila ilanga selishona. Azikho izimbila ezambonayo – zonke zazicashele imvula ngaphansi kwamadwala amakhulu. UDumi wayengenandaba. Wayesekwejwayele ukuba yedwa, noma kunjalo, wayezizwa ejabule kabi! Wadla amacembe ambalwa njengesidlo sakusihlwa, wakhasela ngaphansi kwesihlahla futhi waphinde wazumeka, walala futhi.

Lapho uDumi evuka, imvula yayisinqamukile nomuzi usubukeka kahle, uqabulekile. Lapho ilanga liphuma, ukhaphethi wezimbali eziphinki ngokugqamile waqhakaza.

“Yoyoyo!” kwasho yena, eqalaza ngapha nangapha.

Ngaso leso sikhathi, zonke ezinye izimbila zeza kuye. Zaziphikelele echibini ziyogeza. Zamangala nje ukubona uDumi omusha, ohlanzekile, onuka kamnandi!

“Dumi! Kwenzekeni?” zabuza zonke, zimzungeza. Kodwa esikhundleni sokuthi akhulume, uDumi waqala ukushaya izithupha zakhe nokushaya phansi ngonyawo lwakhe … ngokushesha wayesegida, ecula. Zonke izimbila zahlanganyela naye, ngenkathi seziphikelele echibini: “Imvula! Imvula! Siyayithanda imvula! Imvula! Imvula! Imvula!”

Dirty Dassie

UDumi imbila (isiXhosa)

Translated by Kholisa Podile

UDumi iMbila ucambalele ngomqolo, ugcakamele ilanga ejongise phezulu isisu sakhe esimpukumpuku phezu kweliwa elikhulu, elimcaba. Wayesozela seleza kubiwa bubuthongo xa wayesiva intsini ithulwa phezulu. Uvule iliso elinye, ecubhukile. Iimbila ezimbini ezincinane zazizama ukubaleka zikufutshane kuye.

Dirty Dassie



“PHU-UUUU!!!” yatsho enye kwenye xa zazidlula ngononophelo zigqitha kwelo liwa. “Yhu! Laa mbila inevumba ELIBI!” Zagigitheka kakhulu xa zikhawuleza zigqitha.

UDumi wabefunyeka, ephekuza impukane eyayibhuza ijikeleza ngasendlebeni yakhe. “Akulunganga oku!” wacinga. “Akukho mntu undamkelayo.”

Kwakuyinyaniso oko. UDumi wayenevumba elibi ngenxa yokungcola. Wayengcole kuba wayengahlambi kwaphela, kodwa akukho mntu owayesazi isizathu. Inyaniso yayikukuba, uDumi wayewoyika amanzi. Kwaba kanye eselusana, apho wawa ngentloko esadungeni esasinodaka oluninzi. UDumi wayengakwazi kuqubha, kodwa ngethamsanqa, umkhuluwa wakhe wamkhupha ngemilenze yakhe yangasemva. Ukususela ngaloo mini, uDumi wayengafuni kwaphela ukuba kufuphi namanzi. Xa ezinye iimbila zisiya echibini qho kusasa ukuya kuhlamba, uDumi wayenyamalala aye kuzimela ematyholweni. Akukho mntu wayenokukwazi ukuguqula ingqondo yakhe malunga namanzi – nkqu nomama wakhe!

Zadlula iintsuku – ihlobo lalishushu kakhulu futhi imvula yayingani. UDumi waya ngokungcola waze wangcola. Uboya bakhe babunentsila enamafutha futhi bunebala elimfiliba, kanti wayenuka kakubi kakhulu. Eyona nto yayimbi, wayelandelwa ligquba leempukane naphi apho akhoyo. UDumi wayengakuthandi oku, tu kwaphela, kodwa wayesenza ngathi wayengakhathali.

Ngenye intsasa, abadala belali beza kuthetha noDumi. Babemi kude kuye, waze uDumi wababona bevale iimpumlo zabo ngezandla bemana ukutsala umoya. 

“Sicela uxolo, Dumi,” batsho, “kaloku njengoko usazi kudala ingani imvula. Iimpukane sezininzi kakhulu. Iimpukane zikuthanda kakhulu ukungcola, kanti wena ungcole kakhulu, ngoko ke wena uthandwa ziimpukane! Zonke ezi mpukane ziza kusigulisa … Into eya kusinceda kukuba wena uhambe kule lali.”

Usizana olunguDumi! Wayeza kwenza ntoni? Usizi lwaba kukuba, wasuka wanyamalala. Wahamba waze wahamba. Lwaya ngokuba shushu usuku xa ilanga seliphezulu lidlula esibhakabhakeni esiqaqambe ngombala obhlowu. Waziva esindwa yintloko, iinyawo zakhe ziqaqamba! Ekugqibeleni, waziva ngathi akanakuphinda akwazi ukuya phambili.

“Ndidinga umthunzi!” watsho, ephunguza. Yayingamininzanga imithi kule ndawo yeli thafa, kodwa wabona umthi omfutshane wameva owawungekudanga kuye. Ecothoza, uDumi waqhwalela esiya kulo mthi mncinane. Wangqengqa phantsi kwawo, wabiwa bubuthongo obunzulu. 

Kudlule iiyure ezininzi. UDumi wayelele kamnandi kangangokuba zange awabone namafu emvula esithi fingi esibhakabhakeni. Ilanga lalingabonakali. Isibhakabhaka sasimnyama. Umoya waya uphola ngokuphola, kodwa imbila ediniweyo yayisalele. Ekugqibeleni, imvula yaqalisa ukuna ngamandla.

Wavuka uDumi. Amaqabaza amakhulu emvula ayegaleleka phezu kwawo wonke umzimba wakhe! Elalini yeembila, zonke iimbila zazimela imvula phantsi kwamawa amakhulu. Kodwa apha, kwakungekho khusi lokuzifihla! Ekuqaleni kwemvula, uthe xa uDumi eyiva emzimbeni, watsho ngesikhalo esikrakra, wakhala eziqengqa ezenza ibhola encinane yoboya. “Ncedani bo!” ekhala okwenja. “Khanindincedeni bo!” Kodwa neempukane zazibalekile, uDumi eyedwa jwi.

Kwasuka kwenzeka into engaqhelekanga. Yathi xa imvula iqengqeleka emzimbeni wakhe, uDumi wafumanisa ukuba uziva kamnandi. Engangxamanga, wazola waze emva kwexesha, wade wavula amehlo akhe. “Kuthe kanti imvula yinto entle,” watsho, “futhi ilenza libe nevumba lokuhlaziyeka ithafa!” Wasukuma uDumi, wavula umlomo wakhe ukuze asele amaqabaza emvula. “Amnandi nawo!” watsho emangalisiwe. Wayechwayite kangangokuba waqala wangqisha ngonyawo lwakhe enqakrazisa iminwe yakhe.

Wajika wajonga ngasemva uDumi, waza wabuyela elalini yeembila exhentsa engayeki, ehamba ecula: “Imvula! Imvula! Ndiyayithanda imvula! Imvula! Imvula! Imvula!”

UDumi wafika ngorhatya elalini. Zange zimbone ezinye iimbila – zazizifihle emvuleni zonke phantsi kwamawa amakhulu. UDumi wayengakhathali. Wayekuqhelile ukuba yedwa, kwaye, wayeziva echwayite kakhulu! Watya amagqabi ambalwa njengesidlo sakhe sasebusuku, wakhasela phantsi kwetyholo waphinda wabiwa bubuthongo kwakhona.

Akuba evukile uDumi, wabona ukuba imvula ayisani kodwa yayishiye ilali ibukeka intle kwaye ihlaziyekile. Lathi lakuphuma ilanga, iqela leentyatyambo zombala opinki oqaqambileyo zasuka zadubula. 

“Wowu!” watsho, ephunguza.

Kanye ngelo xesha, zonke ezinye iimbila zazihamba zisiya ngakuye. Zazisendleleni eya echibini zisiya kuhlamba. Indlela ezazimangaliswe ngayo ukubona uDumi omtsha, ococekileyo, nonuka kamnandi! 

“Dumi! Kwenzeke ntoni?” babuza bonke, bemngqongile. Kodwa endaweni yokuthetha uDumi waqala wanqakrazisa iminwe yakhe engqisha nangonyawo lwakhe … kungekudala wayexhentsa ecula kwakhona. Zonke iimbila zangenelela, xa zazihamba zisiya echibini: “Imvula! Imvula! Siyayithanda imvula! Imvula! Imvula! Imvula!”

Dirty Dassie

This story was created by Joanne Bloch and Heidel Dedekind (illustrator).

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