Read: The rainmaker (in English, isiZulu and 6 more official languages)
Once upon a time in the Kgalagadi, there was a powerful old man named Rapula. Rapula had one of the greatest gifts in the world. He had the power to bring the clouds close together when they were far apart. He had the power to make it rain. He was known all over the land as Rapula, the rainmaker. Read on...
The rainmaker (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 a PDF in English, isiZulu, isiXhosa, Sepedi. Sesotho, Setswana, Xetsonga and Afrikaans.

The rainmaker (English)

Once upon a time in the Kgalagadi, there was a powerful old man named Rapula. Rapula had one of the greatest gifts in the world. He had the power to bring the clouds close together when they were far apart. He had the power to make it rain. He was known all over the land as Rapula, the rainmaker.

Nalibali The rainmaker

For Rapula, making rain was a very painful process. It took all the energy he had, but it also gave him joy to see his people benefit from the water falling from the clouds. When it rained, the people would collect the water and use it for drinking and cooking. The rivers would fill up and so the animals had water to drink. The rain also fed the farmlands of the Kgalagadi.

After many years of making rain, Rapula, the rainmaker, became ill and his power weakened. The land of the Kgalagadi slowly started to dry up. The green grass and the trees started to disappear. Although the old man kept trying, he could only make small amounts of rain. And each time he tried, he became weaker and weaker.

Soon the old man became so ill and weak that he could not make any rain at all. When that happened, there was a great drought. The lands dried up and the crops failed. There was not enough food. Animals died, plants died, and people died.

The people of the Kgalagadi waited. They still hoped that the rainmaker would get well again. While they waited, they shared what little they had with each other and they gave the rainmaker the best food they had. “Maybe he will get back his strength soon,” they said.

Eventually the people realised that Rapula would never get better. The wise men of the village knew that all they could do now, was wait for Rapula to pass on his special power to someone else.

When Rapula, the rainmaker, died, the people of the Kgalagadi were sad. They had lost a valuable member of their community. However, the elders of the village took comfort in knowing that Rapula’s gift would not be lost. It would be passed on to a younger person.

There was a big funeral to honour the great rainmaker. People came from the faraway parts of the Kgalagadi to be there. They brought with them the little food and drink they had to share with everyone.

Before Rapula, the rainmaker, could be buried in the ground to rest forever, a strange thing happened – something that would show the people of the Kgalagadi who the new rainmaker would be. The colours of the rainbow left the old rainmaker’s body and entered into a young girl named Mapula, who was Rapula’s great-grandchild. This was the most amazing thing anyone had ever seen, but everyone knew that it was the way that rainmakers passed on their power. It happened very seldom because rainmakers lived for many, many years.

Nalibali The rainmaker

Mapula was now the new rainmaker of the Kgalagadi. For days after the funeral, the people celebrated the young girl’s new power. They celebrated with music and food. Everyone in the Kgalagadi brought her gifts of new clothing, flowers, special foods and other things.

It took a few days for Mapula to get used to her power, but soon they became stronger. Now she had to use her gift properly. If she was angry while making rain, she could create a thunderstorm or a flood. This could destroy her entire community.

Even though the Kgalagadi had been without rain for so long, Mapula had to learn slowly how to use her power. First, she learnt to make it rain a little by bringing small clouds together. She practised doing this once a week. Just like her great-grandfather, she became very tired after making the clouds rain. At times she had to sleep for two days to regain her strength.

The people of the Kgalagadi were clever. They learnt new ways to save the precious water. They learnt how to build dams and make big tanks to store water in.

After many months of practise, Mapula was finally able to bring good rains to the Kgalagadi again. Everyone celebrated the big rain with dancing and singing. It had been many years since they had seen that much rain and they knew that the drought was finally over. They were happy that there was a new rainmaker – a rainmaker who would make everyone’s life better.

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 Xetsonga pdf here

Download the Setwana pdf here

Download the Sepedi pdf here

Download the Afrikaans pdf here

Umenzi Wemvula (IsiZulu)

Kwesukasukela endaweni yaseKgalagadi, kwakukhona indoda endala enamandla. Igama layo kwakunguRapula. URapula wayenesinye sezipho ezinkulukazi emhlabeni. Wayenamandla okuhlanganisa ndawonye amafu uma eqhelelene. Wayenamandla okwenza ukuthi line. Wayaziwa yonke indawo njengoRapula, umenzi wemvula.

Nalibali The rainmaker


KuRapula, ukwenza imvula kwakuyinto ebuhlungu kakhulu. Kwakumqeda wonke amandla ayenawo, kodwa futhi kwakumnikeza injabulo ukubona abantu behlomula ngamanzi ayewa esuka emafini. Lapho lina, abantu babekha amanzi futhi bawasebenzisele ukuphuza nokupheka. Imifula yayigcwala ithi phama, ngakho izilwane zaziba nawo amanzi okuphuza. Imvula yayondla nezindawo zokulima zendawo yaseKgalagadi.

Ngemuva kweminyaka eminingi yokwenza imvula, uRapula, umenzi wemvula, wagula, amandla akhe ehla. Izwe laseKgalagadi laqala ukoma. Utshani obuluhlaza kanye nezihlahla kwaqala ukushabalala. Nakuba insizwa endala yayiqhubeka ilokhu izama, yayisikwazi ukwenza kuphela imvula engatheni nje. Futhi ngaso sonke isikhathi uma izama, yayilokhu iphelelwa amandla njalo. 

Ngokushesha insizwa endala yagula kakhulu, yaphelelwa ngamandla ngangokuthi yayingasakwazi nhlobo ukwenza imvula. Lapho kwenzeka lokhu, kwaba nesomiso esikhulu kabi. Izwe loma nezitshalo zafa. Kwakungasekho ukudla okwanele. Izilwane zafa, izitshalo zafa, nabantu bafa.

Abantu baseKgalagadi babelindile. Babesethembile ukuthi umenzi wemvula uzophila futhi. Ngenkathi belindile, bababelana ngalokho okuncane ababenakho, benikeza umenzi wemvula ukudla okuphambili ababenakho. “Mhlawumbe azobuya futhi amandla akhe ngokushesha nje,” kusho bona. 

Ekugcineni abantu babona ukuthi uRapula ngeke aphinde abe ngcono. Amadoda ahlakaniphile esigodini ayazi ukuthi konke osekumele akwenze manje, wukulinda ukuthi uRapula awedlulisele komunye amandla akhe akhethekile. 

Kwathi lapho uRapula, umenzi wezulu, eseshona, abantu baseKgalagadi baphatheka kabi. Babelahlekelwe yilungu lomphakathi elibaluleke kakhulu. Nokho, abadala bendawo baziduduza ngokwazi ukuthi isiphiwo sikaRapula sasingeke sona silahleke. Sasedluliselwe kumuntu omncanyana.

Kwaba khona umngcwabo omkhulu wokuhlonipha umenzi omkhulu wemvula. Abantu babephume ezigodini ezikude zaseKgalagadi ukuze babe khona. Babefike nokudla neziphuzo okuncane ababenakho ukuze babelane nabo bonke abantu. 

Ngaphambi kokuthi uRapula, umenzi wemvula, angcwatshwe emhlabathini ukuze aphumule ingunaphakade, kwenzeka into engajwayelekile – into eyayizokhombisa abantu baseKgalagadi ukuthi ngubani owayezoba wumenzi wemvula omusha. Imibala yothingo lwenkosazana yasuka emzimbeni womenzi wemvula omdala yazongena entombazaneni esencane egama layo uMapula, eyayiwumzukulwane kaRapula. Lokhu kwaba yinto emangazayo engakaze ibonwe muntu, kodwa wonke umuntu wabe azi ukuthi leyo kwakuyindlela abenzi bemvula ababedlulisela ngayo amandla abo. Kwakuyinto engavamisile ukwenzeka ngoba abenzi bemvula babephila iminyaka ngeminyaka.

Nalibali The rainmaker


Manje uMapula wayesengumenzi wemvula omusha wendawo yaseKgalagadi. Kwaba yizinsuku emva komngcwabo, abantu bebungaza amandla amasha entombazanyana. Bagubha ngomculo kanye nokudla. Wonke umuntu waseKgalagadi wayeza nezipho okuyizimpahla zokugqoka ezintsha, izimbali, ukudla okukhethekile kanye nezinye izinto.

Kwamthatha izinsuku ezimbalwa uMapula ukujwayela amandla akhe amasha, kodwa kungekudala aba makhulu kunakuqala. Manje kwasekumele asebenzise isiphiwo sakhe ngendlela efanele. Uma wayezothukuthela ngenkathi esenza imvula, wayezokwenza kube nokuduma noma izikhukhula. Lokhu kwakuzocoboshisa wonke umphakathi wakubo.

Nakuba iKgalagadi yayikade ingenamvula isikhathi eside kakhulu, uMapula kwakufanele afunde kancane, kancane indlela yokusebenzisa Amandla akhe. Okokuqala, wafunda ukwenza ukuthi line kancane ngokuhlanganisa ndawonye amafu amancane. Wazejwayeza ukwenza lokhu kanye ngesonto. Njengaye nje ukhokho wakhe, wayekhathala kakhulu ngemuva kokwenza amafu ukuthi abe yimvula. Ngesinye isikhathi kwakumele alale izinsuku ezimbili ukuze abuyise amandla akhe.

Abantu baseKgalagadi babehlakaniphile. Bafunda izindlela ezintsha zokonga amanzi ayigugu. Bafunda ukuzakhela amadamu nokwenza amathange amakhulu ukuze bagcine amanzi kuwo.

Ngemuva kwezinyanga eziningi zokuzejwayeza, uMapula wagcina esekwazi ukuletha izimvula ezinhle futhi eKgalagadi. Wonke umuntu wayekubungaza ukuza kwezimvula ezinkulu ngokusina nokucula. Kwase kuphele iminyaka eminingi begcinile ukuba nemvula eningi kangaka futhi babazi ukuthi ekugcineni isomiso sabe sesiphelile. Babejabule ngokuthi kwase kukhona umenzi wemvula omusha – umenzi wemvula owayezokwenza impilo yawo wonke umuntu ibe ngcono.

The story was created by Kgosi Kgosi (author), Magriet Brink and Leo Daly (illustrators) and translated to isiZulu by Dumisani Sibiya.

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