For Children

Olivia Wilson

Ukuthula

3rd & 4th Grade Prose Winner

Translations from Zulu to English:

• Umama—Mother
• Sawubona—Good Morning
• Oh Nkosi yami—Oh My Goodness
• Umsindisi—Savior
• Ukuthula—Peace

“I’ll see you later, Umama,” I said as I picked up my bucket and put it on my head. I walked out of the door of our tiny clay hut. It was early Friday morning and I was headed to the lake, like always.

My name is Baako and I live in the small village in Zimbabwe where fresh water is scarce and elephants roam freely through the land. Today is a blazing hot summer day, and I am headed to the local lake to collect water for my family.

“Sawubona, Mr. Muthoni,” I say to my neighbor. He is always very kind to me, and his wife gives me banana muffins every morning. The muffins taste amazing, with fresh banana baked into a sweet muffin.

“Here, Baako. Some banana muffins just for you,” he says, giving me three fresh muffins that are still hot.

“I have something for you, too,” I say, as I hand him a bowl. “I heard that you needed one, since Seydou broke the other.” Seydou was their one-year-old son, and his hobby was ripping and breaking things.

“Oh, thank you so much. I love the bowl’s pattern. I am so grateful for all you do for us. My wife will be ecstatic about this!” he replied.

“Goodbye, Mr. Muthoni. Have a nice day,” I said as I began to walk away.

“Goodbye!” he called out behind me.

I was walking through the scorching hot savanna when I saw a man and a woman. One was carrying a bag of poison arrows, and the other many ropes.

“They are going to murder the poor elephant!”

I exclaimed to myself. The helpless elephant wasn’t even noticing the humans.

“We’re gonna get ‘em this time,” the woman said, “and I’m sure of it!”

I decided the best thing to do was to go and alert the park ranger who takes care of the savanna.

I dropped the clay bowl that was once on my head and ran for the cabin where the ranger lived.

When I burst open the door, I stopped to take a whiff of the hot porridge with honey that the ranger was eating.

“Baako! Why on earth are you in my presence today?” the ranger said.

“There are POACHERS! Poachers are out on the savanna trying to hurt the elephant!” I screamed.

“Oh Nkosi yami!” The ranger immediately got up and grabbed his badge, hat, and knapsack and went out the door, with me right behind him.

We ran for a couple minutes until two figures came into view.

“STOP! STOP IN THE NAME OF THE LAW!” the ranger screamed to the figures.

The two figures dashed away, to the other side. We ran faster, and since they were carrying heavy equipment, the man and the woman were easily outrun.

The park ranger used his walkie-talkie to call in for a veterinarian that specializes in elephants, and we handcuffed the poachers.

“I told you this was a bad idea,” the man said to the woman as they were handcuffed.

Eventually, the authorities came, and the poachers were brought to a local prison, and then the veterinarian came to examine the elephant.

“No signs of poisoning, and no injections. You saved him before he could get hurt,” the veterinarian finally said after half an hour of examination.

That night, I went to bed feeling proud of what I had accomplished, and how I saved a life.

The next morning I woke up refreshed and happy.

“I heard yesterday you saved an elephant,” Umama said. “That takes a lot of bravery, Baako. You’re my little umsindisi.”

“Thank you, Umama,” I replied. When I stepped into the grassy savanna once again, I remembered the elephant yesterday. I felt like I heard the uproarious trumpeting of its trunk. That’s because I did. I saw a gray figure coming from a distance. It walked slowly at first, but then it recognized me. I walked over and petted its trunk. In response, the elephant made a soft cooing noise as if to say “Thank you.” Then I said, “You’re a beautiful creature, why would anyone want to harm you?” The elephant didn’t say anything, but just wiggled its ears a little. “I think I will name you Ukuthula, for peace. I hope for peace every day for elephants, so no elephant will ever get killed again. It will start with you, Ukuthula, you.”

The End