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.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.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.Get creative!After you have read The rainmaker, suggest that your children create rain pictures. They could use cotton wool for the clouds and then cut out raindrops from blue paper. Or, they could finger paint the clouds and the rain. They might even want to add rainbows to their pictures! Kudala-dala kwindawo yaseKgalagadi, kwakukho ixhego elalinamandla elalibizwa ngokuba nguRapula. URapula wayenesinye seziphiwo ezizezona zikhulu ehlabathini. Wayenamandla okuyondelelanisa amafu xa ebeqelelene. Wayenamandla okwenza imvula. Wayesaziwa kuwo wonke loo mmandla njengoRapula, umenzi wemvula.KuRapula, ukwenza imvula kwakuyinkqubo ebuhlungu kakhulu. Kwakumtheza onke amandla anawo, kodwa kwakumvuyisa ukubona abantu befumana amanzi awa emafini. Xa inile, abantu babesikha amanzi ukuze bawasebenzisele ukusela nokupheka. Imilambo yayizalisa nezilwanyana zifumane amanzi okusela. Imvula yayisondla amasimi aseKgalagadi.Emva kweminyaka emininzi yokwenza imvula, uRapula, umenzi wemvula, wagula waze wabuthathaka. Ummandla waseKgalagadi waqalisa ukoma. Yatsha ingca nemithi laphela ibala eliluhlaza. Nangona ixhego lingazange liyeke ukuzama, lalisenza amathontsana nje amancinane emvula. Kwixesha ngalinye lizama, lalisiba buthathaka ngokuba buthathaka.Kungekudala ixhego lagula laba buthathaka kakhulu lade alakwazi kwaphela ukwenza imvula. Kuthe kwakuba njalo, kwaqala imbalela enkulu. Amasimi oma zatsha nezityalo. Ukutya kwakungasanelanga. Izilwanyana zafa, izityalo zafa, kwade kwasweleka nabantu.Abantu baseKgalagadi balinda. Babesenalo ithemba lokuba umenzi wemvula uza kuphinda aphile kwakhona. Ngexesha lokulinda kwabo babesabelana ngokuncinane abanako futhi baphe nomenzi wemvula okona kutya kuncomekayo ababenako. “Mhlawumbi azakuphinda abuye amandla akhe,” babesitsho.Ekugqibeleni abantu bafumanisa ukuba uRapula akasayi kuphinda aphile. Amadoda anobulumko elali ayesazi ukuba inye into awayenokuyenza ngoku, kukulinda ukuba uRapula agqithisele amandla akhe komnye umntu.Wathi akusweleka uRapula, umenzi wemvula, baba lusizi abantu baseKgalagadi. Babelahlekelwe lilungu elibalulekileyo loluntu lwabo. Nangona kunjalo, abadala belali bathuthuzelwa kukwazi ukuba isiphiwo sikaRapula asisayi kulahleka. Nakanjani sasigqithiselwe emntwini omncinane kunaye.Kwabakho umngcwabo omkhulu wokunika imbeko kumenzi wemvula wodumo. Abantu baseKgalagadi babephume ngendlu ukuza kuzimasa. Abaninzi babephethe iintwana zokutya neziselo ababeza kwabelana ngazo nabanye.Phambi kokuba uRapula, umenzi wemvula angcwatywe emhlabeni ukuze aphumle unaphakade, kwenzeka into engummangaliso – into eyayifanele ukubonisa abantu baseKgalagadi ukuba ngubani ozakuba ngumenzi wemvula omtsha. Imibala yomnyama yasuka emzimbeni kamenzi wemvula omdala yangena kwintombazana encinane egama linguMapula, owayengumzukulwana kaRapula. Oku kwaba ngummangaliso omkhulu owawungazange wakhe wabonwa nguye nabani na, kodwa wonke umntu wayesazi ukuba leyo yayiyindlela abenzi bemvula abagqithisa ngayo amandla abo. Asiyonto yayifane yenzeke kuba abenzi bemvula babephila iminyaka emininzi kakhulu.UMapula yayinguye ngoku umenzi wemvula waseKgalagadi. Kwiintsuku eziliqela emva komngcwabo, abantu babhiyozela amandla amatsha entombazanana. Babhiyoza ngomculo nangokutya. Wonke umntu waseKgalagadi wayemphathele izipho zeempahla ezintsha, iintyatyambo, iintlobo zokutya kodidi nezinye izinto.Kwahamba iintsuku ezimbalwa uMapula eziqhelanisa namandla akhe, kodwa wakhawuleza womelela. Ngoku wayesele ekulungele ukusisebenzisa ngendlela efanelekileyo isiphiwo sakhe. Xa esenza imvula equmbile, wayenokubangela isichotho okanye izikhukhula. Oku kungabulala uluntu lwakhe lonke.Nangona iKgalagadi yayiseyinethuba elide kangako ingafumani mvula, uMapula wayefanele ukuyifunda ethe chu indlela yokusebenzisa amandla akhe. Okokuqala, wafunda ukuba ayinise kancinane imvula ngokuyondelelanisa amafu amancinane kunye. Waziqhelanisa nokwenza oku kanye ngeveki. Njengokhokho wakhe, wayedinwa kakhulu emva kokwenza ukuba amafu athobe imvula. Ngamanye amaxesha kwakufuneka ukuba alale iintsuku ezimbini ukuze aphinde aqwebe amanye amandla.Abantu baseKgalagadi babelumkile. Bafunda iindlela ezintsha zokulondoloza amanzi ayexabiseke kakhulu. Bafunda ukwakha amadama okugcina amanzi.Emva kweenyanga ezininzi zokuziqhelanisa, ekugqibeleni uMapula wakwazi ukuzisa iimvula ezintle kwakhona eKgalagadi. Wonke umntu wabhiyozela imvula enkulu ngokuxhentsa nangokucula. Kwakudlule iminyaka emininzi bengayiboni engako imvula kwaye babesazi ukuba ekugqibeleni idlulile imbalela. Babenovuyo ngokuba kwakukho umenzi wemvula omtsha – umenzi wemvula owayeza kwenza ubomi bomntu wonke buphucuke.Sebenzisa ubugcisa bakho!Emva kokufunda Umenzi wemvula, xelela abantwana bakho ukuba benze imifanekiso yemvula. Basenokusebenzisa uboya bomqhaphu njengamafu bandule ukusika bakhuphe amaqabaza emvula ephepheni elibhlowu. Okanye, basenokupeyinta ngomnwe amafu nemvula. Basenokunqwenela ukufakela neminyama emifanekisweni yabo! – Translated by Kholisa Podile This story was provided courtesy of the Nal’ibali national reading-for-enjoyment campaign which works with schools, partners, and community members to nurture a love for reading among children in the Western Cape and across the country. To read the story in another South Africanlanguage, or for literacy activities, reading tips and more stories to enjoy with your children, visit www.nalibali.org or nalibali.mobi. You can also find Nal’ibali on Facebook and Twitter: @nalibaliSA.