READ: Skycatcher (in English, Sepedi, isiZulu, and 5 more official languages)

"We’re going to fly Skycatcher!" (Image: Rico/Nal’ibali)
"We’re going to fly Skycatcher!" (Image: Rico/Nal’ibali)

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.

This story was created by Ann Walton (Author), and Rico (Illustrator). 

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

Skycatcher (English) 

It was a rainy day and Josh was sitting at the kitchen table making a kite. He had some light strips of wood which he used to make the frame of the kite. He also had some blue and red and green and pink tissue paper. He covered the whole kite with blue tissue paper.

“This blue paper is the kite’s face!” decided Josh. He cut out red tissue paper to make happy smiling lips, green tissue paper for eyes, and pink tissue paper circles for cheeks. Then he made a long kite tail out of the blue, red, green and pink paper.

“Your tail looks like the clothes dancing in the wind on Gogo’s washing line,” said Josh to the kite. Then he wound a very long piece of string around a cardboard tube and tied the other end of the string to the frame of the kite, so that it wouldn’t fly away from him later when it was in the air.

“Your name is Skycatcher!” said Josh to the kite.

The next morning, Josh sat in his wheelchair outside his front door with Skycatcher in his lap. It was the right sort of day to fly a kite. He was waiting for Hope. She was going to push him along the pavement as fast as she could go, so that Skycatcher could catch the wind and fly. Where was she?

“Here I am!” said Hope. “I’m sorry I’m a bit late. Is your kite ready to fly?”

“Yes, I can’t wait to get it up into the sky!” said Josh.

“Let’s go then!” said Hope as she held the handles at the back of the wheelchair tightly. She started to walk fast, and then to run all the way along the pavement. The wheels went bumpity-bump, bumpity-bump, picking up speed as Hope ran. Josh let a little bit of the string unwind from the cardboard tube he was holding. Suddenly the kite took off! It fluttered about in the air just above their heads.

Josh and Hope raced past Neo who was in his front garden playing with Bella. He was wearing a newspaper pirate hat and he had a cardboard sword. Bella was wearing a witch’s hat.

“You’re not a very good pirate!” said Bella, waving her magic wand.

“Woof! Woof!” barked Noodle, but Neo wasn’t listening to him or Bella. Neo was watching Josh and Hope coming along the pavement at full speed. Then Bella forgot about their game too and she also watched Josh and Hope!

Nal'ibali Skycatcher book cover

“Can we come with you?” asked Neo.

“Yes, come! We’re going to fly Skycatcher!” said Josh as he went past.

“Come on, Bella, let’s go!” said Neo.

“Come on, Noodle,” said Bella.

“Woof! Woof!” barked Noodle.

So Hope and Neo and Bella and Noodle ran in a long line behind Josh, going bumpity-bump and woof! woof! all the way along the pavement.

When they got to the field next to some houses, Josh let out some more string and Skycatcher flew higher up into the air. And then higher. It glided gently over the rooftops and treetops with the blue sky around it. Josh and Hope and Neo and Bella watched the kite and wished they were flying up in the sky with it.

“Woof! Woof!” Noodle barked loudly. He was also looking up at the kite.

“Neo, do you want to try flying the kite?” asked Josh.

“Yes please!” said Neo, and he took the cardboard tube of string from Josh. But it was windy so Skycatcher pulled hard, and Neo dropped the cardboard tube. It whizzed round and round on the ground like a live, wild thing and it let more and more string out, so that the kite flew higher and higher. Soon it was just a small speck in the sky.

Nal'ibali Skycatcher book cover

Noodle pounced on the tube of string! He held it in his jaws and under his paws so that it couldn’t spin around. Then he jumped up with his paws on Josh’s knees and passed the tube to Josh. Finally, Skycatcher stopped flying away and stayed where it was, with its bright tail waving about in the sky below it.

“Noodle, you saved our kite!” said Josh. Noodle wagged his tail.

“Noodle, you’re the best kite catcher ever!” said Hope. Noodle wagged his tail.

“Noodle, you’re such a clever dog!” said Bella. Noodle wagged his tail.

Josh reeled in his kite. Tighter and tighter he wound the string around the cardboard roll until Skycatcher lay still in his lap after its great adventure in the sky. Hope turned the wheelchair around, and they all went bumpity-bump and woof! woof! all the way home.

When Josh lay in bed that night, he thought about what fun he had had with his kite and how he had nearly lost it. “Luckily I have the best friends in the world!” he sighed as he closed his eyes.

Download the English PDF here

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

Download the isiXhosa PDF here

Download the Sesotho PDF here

Download the Setswana  PDF here 

Download the Afrikaans PDF here

Download the Xitsonga PDF here 

Moswaraleratadima (Sepedi) 

Translated by Mpho Masipa

Pula e be e ena gomme Josh a dutše tafoleng ya ka moraleng a dira khaethe. O be a na le meseto ya bofefo ya kota ye a bego a e diriša go dira foreime ya khaethe. Gape o be a na le dipampiri tša thišu tše ditalalerata le tše hubedu le tše ditalamorogo le tše dipinki. O apešitše khaethe yohle ka pampiri ya thišu ye talalerata.

“Pampiri ye talalerata ye ke sefahlego sa khaethe!” gwa akanya Josh. O ripile pampiri ya thišu ye hubedu go dira dipounama tša go myemyela ka lethabo, pampiri ya thišu ye talamorogo go dira mahlo, le didiko tša pampiri ya thišu ye pinki go dira marama. Gomme a dira mosela wa khaethe o motelele ka pampiri ye talalerata, hubedu le talamorogo le pinki.

“Mosela wa gago o swana le diaparo tša go bina moyeng mothalading wa diaparo wa Koko,” a realo Josh a botša khaethe. Gomme a tata seripa sa lenti se setelele kudu go dikologa tšhupu ya khatepote gomme a e bofelela mafelelo a mangwe a lenti mo foreiming ya khaethe gore e se fofele kgole le yena ge e le moyeng.

“Leina la gago ke Moswaraleratadima!” a realo Josh go khaethe ya gagwe.

Mesong ya go latela, Josh o be a dutše godimo ga setulo sa gagwe sa batho ba go se itekanele ka ntle ga lebati la ka pele a beile Moswaraleratadima seropeng sa gagwe. E be e le letšatši le lebotse la go fofiša khaethe. O be a emetše Hope. O be a tlo mo kgorometša go bapela le pheibemente ka lebelo ka fao a ka kgonago, gore Moswaraleratadima a sware moya a fofe. O be a le kae?

“Ke fa!” a realo Hope. “O ntshwarele ge ke latetšwe. Khaethe ya gago e loketše go fofa?”

“Ee, ke fela pelo ya go e fofišetša leratadimeng!” a realo Josh.

“Areye!” a realo Hope a swere mekgoko ya setulo sa batho ba go se itekanele ka tiišetšo. O ile a thoma go sepediša, ka morago a kitima go bapela le pheibimente. Maotwana a ile a re, kgwehle-kgwehle, kgwehle-kgwehle, a swara lebelo ge Hope a kitima. Josh a tatolla lenti gannyane tšhupung ya khatepote ye a bego a e swere. Gateetee, khaethe ya fofa! E be e fofa moyeng ka godimo ga dihlogo tša bona.

Josh le Hope ba kitima ba feta Neo yo a bego a bapala le Bella ka tšhengwaneng ya gabo ya ka pele. O be a apere mongatse wa lehoduwatle wa kuranta a swere le lerumo la khatepote. Bella o be a apere mongatse wa moloi.

“Ga o lehoduwatle la botse kudu!” a realo Bella, a emiša patla ya gagwe ya maleatlana.

“Hauu! Hauu!” gwa goba Noodle, efela Neo o be a se a mo theeletša goba go theeletša Bella. Neo o be a bogetše Josh le Hope ba etla ka lebelo le legolo go bapela le pheibemente. Gomme Bella le yena a lebala ka moraloko wa bona gomme a bogela Josh le Hope!

Nal'ibali Skycatcher book cover

“Re ka ya le lena?” gwa botšiša Neo.

“Ee, areyeng! Re ya go fofiša Moswaraleratadima!” Josh a realo a feta.

“Etla, Bella, areye!” a realo Neo.

“Etla, Noodle,” a realo Bella.

“Hauu! Hauu!” gwa goba Noodle.

Gomme Hope le Neo le Bella le Noodle ba kitima ba dirile mothaladi o motelele ka morago ga Josh, e le kgwehle-kgwehle le hauu! hauu! tseleng ka moka go bapela le pheibemente.

Ba rile go fihla lepatlelong la kgauswi le dintlo tše digwe, Josh a tlogela karolo ye nngwe ya lenti gomme Moswaraleratadima a fofela godingwana moyeng. Gomme a ya godingwana gape. E fihlile ka go iketla marulelong a dintlo le dintlhoreng tša mehlare e dikologile ke leratadima le letalalerata. Josh le Hope le Neo le Bella ba bogela khaethe ba duma eke nkabe ba fofela le yona leratadimeng.

“Hauu! Hauu!” Noodle a goba a hlaboša lentšu. Le yena o be a lebeletše khaethe kua godimo.

“Neo, o nyaka go leka go fofiša khaethe?” gwa botšiša Josh.

“Ee hle!” a realo Neo, gomme a tšea lenti la tšhupu ya khatepote go Josh. Efela go be go na le moya ka fao Moswaraleratadima a goga ka maatla. Gomme Neo o ile a wiša tšhupu ya khatepote. E ile ya tswinya e dikologa dikologa fase bjalo ka selo sa lešokeng sa go phela gomme ya tatolla lenti kudu, gore khaethe e fofele godimodimo. Gateetee ya ba selo se sennyane leratadimeng.

Nal'ibali Skycatcher book cover

Noodle o gatile tšhupu ya lenti! O e swere ka meno a e gata ka marofa gore e se dikologe. O ile a fofela godimo gomme marofa a ba dikhurung tša Josh gomme a fa Josh tšhupu. Mafelelong, Moswaraleratadima o ile a emiša go fofa gomme a ema fao a bego a le gona, mosela wa go taga o eya ka mo le ka mo ka tlase ga gagwe leratadimeng.

“Noodle, o phološitše khaethe ya rena!” a realo Josh. Noodle o ile a šikinya mosela.

“Noodle, o moswarakhaethe yo mogolo!” a realo Hope. Noodle o ile a šikinya mosela.

“Noodle, o mpša ya bohlale kudu!” a realo Bella. Noodle o ile a šikinya mosela.

Josh o ile a bofa khaethe ya gagwe. O ile a bofelela lenti rolong ya khatepote ka go le tiišetša go fihlela Moswaraleratadima a iketla seropeng sa gagwe morago ga bohlagahlaga bja gagwe bjo bogolo leratadimeng. Hope o ile a retolla setulo sa batho ba go se itekanele, gomme ya ba kgwehle-kgwehle le hauu! hauu! ba lebile gae.

Josh o rile ge a kaname malaong bošegog bjoo, a nagana ka fao a ipshinnego ka gona le khaethe ya gagwe le ka fao a nyakilego go e loba. “Ka mahlatse, ke na le bagwera ba bakaonekaone lefaseng!” a hemelana ge a tswalela mahlo.

E ba le boitlhamelo!

* E re bana ba gago ba akanyetše dikhaethe tša bona. Ba botšiše dipotšišo go ba thuša go thoma – mohlala: O tlo dira khaethe ya sebopego sefe? O tlo e dira ka didirišwa dife? O ka e kgabiša bjang?* Ipshine le bana ba gago ka go budulela dipalune gomme le di tlogele di fofe. (O se bofe lehuto paluneng ye e buduletšwego.) Bogelang ka fao e fofelago kua le kua ge moya o etšwa!* Ka kanegelong, Neo o apere mongatse wa go dirwa ka kuranta. Efa bana ba gago kuranta, selotheipi, dikero le lenti, o ba hlotle go dira selo se sengwe ka didirišwa tšeo.

Download the Sepedi PDF here

USosibhakabhaka (isiZulu) 

Translated by Dumisani Sibiya

Lalina ngalelo langa, kanti uJosh wayehlezi etafuleni lasekhishini enza ikhayithi. Wayenokusazinswazi okuthile ayekusebenzisa ukwenza uhlaka lwekhayithi. Wayephinde abe nepheshana elithambile eliluhlaza okwesibhakabhaka, elibomvu neliluhlaza okotshani. Wayemboza lonke ikhayithi ngephepha elithambile eliluhlaza okwesibhakabhaka.

“Leli phepha eliluhlaza okwesibhakabhaka ubuso bekhayithi!” kunquma uJosh. Wasika wayesekhipha iphepha lobuso obubomvu ukuze enze izindebe ezimoyizelayo nezijabulile, ngephepha eliluhlaza okotshani wenza amehlo, kanti eliphinki laba yizihlathi. Emva kwalokho wayesenza umsila omude ngephepha eliluhlaza okwesibhakabhaka, elibomvu, eliluhlaza okotshani kanye neliphinki.

“Umsila wakho ubukeka njengezingubo zidansela umoya ocingweni lukaGogo lokweneka izimpahla,” kusho uJosh eqondise kukhayithi. Emva kwalokho wayesebophela intambo ende kakhulu ekhadibhodini eliyishubhu, kwase kuthi lapho igcina khona intambo wayibophela ohlakeni lwekhayithi, ukuze lingandizi liphunyuke kamuva uma selisemoyeni.

“Igama lakho unguSosibhakabhaka!” kwasho uJosh etshela ikhayithi.

Ekuseni ngakusasa, uJosh wahlala esihlalweni sakhe samasondo ngaphandle komnyango wangaphambili ebeke uSosibhakabhaka ethangeni lakhe. Kwakuwusuku olukulungele ukuthi ungandizisa ikhayithi. Wayelinde uHope. UHope wayezomdudula kuphevumenti ngokushesha okungangamandla akhe, ukuze uSosibhakabhaka akwazi ukuthola umoya andize. Wayekuphi pho?

“Ngilapha nje!” kusho uHope. “Ngiyaxolisa ukuthi sengilibele kancane. Ngabe ikhayithi lakho selikulungele ukundiza?”

“Yebo, sengehluleka nokulindela ukulibona selindiza esibhakabhakeni!” kusho uJosh.

“Hhayi-ke, masihambe!” kusho uHope ebamba izibambo ezingemuva kwesihlalo samasondo eziqinisa. Waqala ukuhamba ngokushesha, emva kwalokho wagijima eqonde phambili kuphevumenti. Amasondo ayelokhu ethi gudlu-gudu, gudlu-gudu, ekhuphula isivinini ngenkathi uHope egijima. UJosh wadedela intambo ukuthi iqaqeke eshubhini lekhadibhodi ayelibambile. Ngokuphazima kweso ikhayithi laphakama! Lindizandize emoyeni ngaphezudlwana nje kwamakhanda abo.

UJosh noHope bagijima bedlula uNeo owayesesivandeni esingaphambili sakubo, edlala noBella. Wayethwele isigqokwana sezigebengu zasolwandle esenziwe ngephephandaba, ephethe inkemba yekhadibhodi. UBella yena wayefake isigqoko somthakathi.

“Awusona isigebengu sasolwandle esihle ngempela wena!” kusho uBella, enyakazisa indukwana yakhe yemilingo.

“Wuwu! Wuwu!” kukhonkotha uNoodle, kodwa uNeo wayengamlalele, ngisho noBella futhi. UNeo wayebuka uJosh noHope beza ngephevumenti ngesivinini esikhulu. UBella wayesekhohlwa nangomdlalo wabo naye wayesebuka uJosh noHope!

Nal'ibali Skycatcher book cover

“Singahamba nawe?” kubuza uNeo.

“Yebo, woza! Sizondizisa uSosibhakabhaka!” kwasho uJosh ngesikhathi edlula.

“Woza, Bella, masihambe!” kusho uNeo.

“Woza, Noodle,” kusho uBella.

“Wuwu! Wuwu!” kukhonkotha uNoodle.

Ngakho-ke uHope, noNeo, noBella noNoodle bagijima benza umugqa omude ngemuva kukaJosh, bethi gudlu-gudu, baphinde bathi wuwu! wuwu! yonke indlela yephevumenti.

Bathi uma befika okhalweni oluseduze kwemizi ethile, uJosh wadedela kakhudlwana intambo maqede uSosibhakabhaka wandizela phezulu emoyeni. Emva kwalokho ikhayithi laya phezulu futhi. Laphephezela kancane phezu kophahla lwezindlu naphezu kwezihlahla, laze lazungezwa yisibhakabhaka esiluhlaza. UJosh, noHope, noNeo kanye noBella babebuka ikhayithi bafisa sengathi bangandizela phezulu kanye nalo.

“Wuwu! Wuwu!” kukhonkotha uNoodle ngokuzwakala kakhulu. Naye wayebuka ikhayithi le phezulu.

“Neo, uyafuna ukuzama ukundizisa ikhayithi?” kubuza uJosh.

“Yebo, ngiyacela!” kusho uNeo, wabe esethatha kuJosh ishubhu lekhadibhodi elinentambo. Kodwa kwakunomoya, uSosibhakabhaka wadonsa ngamawala, uNeo waphunyula ishubhu lekhadibhodi. Lasuka lazungeza lazungeza phansi njengento ephilayo, lilokhu liqaqa intambo, ngakho ikhayithi landiza laya phezulu, phezulu, phezulu. Ngokushesha lase liyichashazana esibhakabhakeni.

Nal'ibali Skycatcher book cover

UNoodle wahlasela ishubhu lentambo! Walibamba ngemazinyo nangezidladla zakhe ukuze lingazungezi. Emva kwalokho wagxumela ngezidladla zakhe emadolweni kaJosh wedlulisela ishubhu kuJosh. Ekugcineni, uSosibhakabhaka wayeka ukundiza, wama lapho ayekade ekhona, nomsila wakhe ogqamile ubhakubhakuza esibhakabhakeni ngaphansi kwakhe.

“Noodle, uliphephisile ikhayithi lethu!” kusho uJosh. UNoodle watshikizisa umsila wakhe.

“Noodle, ungumbambi wekhayithi ohamba phambili!” kusho uHope. UNoodle watshikizisa umsila wakhe.

“Noodle, uyinja ehlakaniphile ngempela!” kusho uBella. UNoodle watshikizisa umsila wakhe.

UJosh walidonsa elisondeza ikhayithi lakhe. Wayigoqa intambo ngokuyiqinisa izungeza ishubhu lekhadibhodi uSosibhakabhaka waze walala cu ethangeni lakhe ngemva kohambo lwakhe olukhulu lwasesibhakabhakeni. UHope wajikisa isihlalo samasondo, kwezwakala ubu-gudlu-gudu nobu-wuwu! wuwu! yonke indlela sebebheke ekhaya.

Ngenkathi uJosh eselele ngalobo busuku, wayecabanga ngobumnandi ayebe nabo nekhayithi lakhe nokuthi licishe lamlahlekela kanjani. “Ngenhlanhla nginabangani abahle kakhulu emhlabeni!” waphefumulela phezulu ngenkathi evala amehlo akhe.

Download the isiZulu PDF here

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