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Grandma’s bananas Grandma's bananas Inkonde shaba maama

Written by Ursula Nafula

Illustrated by Catherine Groenewald

Read by Darshan Soni

Language English

Level Level 4

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Grandma’s garden was wonderful, full of sorghum, millet, and cassava. But best of all were the bananas. Although Grandma had many grandchildren, I secretly knew that I was her favourite. She invited me often to her house. She also told me little secrets. But there was one secret she did not share with me: where she ripened bananas.

Grandma’s garden was wonderful, full of sorghum, millet, and cassava. But best of all were the bananas. Although Grandma had many grandchildren, I secretly knew that I was her favourite. She invited me often to her house. She also told me little secrets. But there was one secret she did not share with me: where she ripened bananas.

Ibala lyaba maama lyali ilisuma sana, mwali amasaka, amale, na tute. Nomba ifisuma palifyonse ni nkonde. Nangula bamaama bakwete abeshikulu abengi, Nalishibe ukuti nine batemwishishe. Balenjita lyonse kung’anda kumwabo. Balenshimikilako notwankama tumotumo. Nomba kwali inkama imo iyo bashanjebeleko. Uku balefumbika inkonde.


One day I saw a big straw basket placed in the sun outside Grandma’s house. When I asked what it was for, the only answer I got was, “It’s my magic basket.” Next to the basket, there were several banana leaves that Grandma turned from time to time. I was curious. “What are the leaves for, Grandma?” I asked. The only answer I got was, “They are my magic leaves.”

One day I saw a big straw basket placed in the sun outside Grandma’s house. When I asked what it was for, the only answer I got was, “It’s my magic basket.” Next to the basket, there were several banana leaves that Grandma turned from time to time. I was curious. “What are the leaves for, Grandma?” I asked. The only answer I got was, “They are my magic leaves.”

Bushiku bumo namwene bamaama nababika icimuseke pakasuba panse yang’anda. Ilyo nabepwishe batile “museke wankama”. Mupepi nomuseke pali amabula yankonde ayenji aya bamaama balepilibula inshita nenshita. Nalefyaisha ukwishiba, eyo nabepwishe, “mabula yafinshi aya maama?” Banjaswikefye abati “Mabula ya nkama yandi”


It was so interesting watching Grandma, the bananas, the banana leaves and the big straw basket. But Grandma sent me off to my mother on an errand. “Grandma, please, let me watch as you prepare…” “Don’t be stubborn, child, do as you are told,” she insisted. I took off running.

It was so interesting watching Grandma, the bananas, the banana leaves and the big straw basket. But Grandma sent me off to my mother on an errand. “Grandma, please, let me watch as you prepare…” “Don’t be stubborn, child, do as you are told,” she insisted. I took off running.

Calinshansamusha ukutaamba, bamaama, inkonde, amabula yankonse, nomuseke uukulu. Nomba bamaama epakuntuma ukuya bombako utumilimo tumbi. Elyo nabebe nati, “Maama napapata lekeni imboneko efyo mucita…” Bamaama epakuti, “uluufwa, cita ifyo nakweba endesha” Efyo naile ulubilo.


When I returned, Grandma was sitting outside but with neither the basket nor the bananas. “Grandma, where is the basket, where are all the bananas, and where…” But the only answer I got was, “They are in my magic place.” It was so disappointing!

When I returned, Grandma was sitting outside but with neither the basket nor the bananas. “Grandma, where is the basket, where are all the bananas, and where…” But the only answer I got was, “They are in my magic place.” It was so disappointing!

Nishi nabwelele, nasangile bamaama nabekala panse, nomba tapali inkonde angula umuseke. “Maama umuseke ukikwisa, nenkonde shilikwi?” Bamaama epakuti “Fili kuncende yandi iya nkama”. Naliufwa ububi sana.


Two days later, Grandma sent me to fetch her walking stick from her bedroom. As soon as I opened the door, I was welcomed by the strong smell of ripening bananas. In the inner room was grandma’s big magic straw basket. It was well hidden by an old blanket. I lifted it and sniffed that glorious smell.

Two days later, Grandma sent me to fetch her walking stick from her bedroom. As soon as I opened the door, I was welcomed by the strong smell of ripening bananas. In the inner room was grandma’s big magic straw basket. It was well hidden by an old blanket. I lifted it and sniffed that glorious smell.

Panuma yanshiku shibili, bamaama bantumine mukusenda inkoto yabo kumuputule. Cilya naisulafye icibi, akacena kankonde ishapya kampokelela. Kukati ekwali umuseke wankama. Ninshi nabafisa bwino bwino mubulangeti bwakale. Nafimbulapo nanunshako akacena akasuma.


Grandma’s voice startled me when she called, “What are you doing? Hurry up and bring me the stick.” I hurried out with her walking stick. “What are you smiling about?” Grandma asked. Her question made me realise that I was still smiling at the discovery of her magic place.

Grandma’s voice startled me when she called, “What are you doing? Hurry up and bring me the stick.” I hurried out with her walking stick. “What are you smiling about?” Grandma asked. Her question made me realise that I was still smiling at the discovery of her magic place.

Ishiwi lyaba maama epakuntinya lintu banjutile. “Finshi ulecita? Endesha ndetela inkoto”. Efyo naendeshe ukutwala inkoto, bamaama epakunjipusha ati, “Finshi uleseka”. Cilya banjipusha elyo naibukisha ukuti ncili nesekelela pakusanga incende yankama yaba maama.


The following day when grandma came to visit my mother, I rushed to her house to check the bananas once more. There was a bunch of very ripe ones. I picked one and hid it in my dress. After covering the basket again, I went behind the house and quickly ate it. It was the sweetest banana I had ever tasted.

The following day when grandma came to visit my mother, I rushed to her house to check the bananas once more. There was a bunch of very ripe ones. I picked one and hid it in my dress. After covering the basket again, I went behind the house and quickly ate it. It was the sweetest banana I had ever tasted.

Ubushiku bwakonkelepo, elyo bamaama baishile mukupempula bamayo, nabutukile kumwabo mukumona inkonde nakabili. Nasanga umusemo wankonde ishapya. Nasendako lumo nafisa mwilaya. Nasha nafimbapo bwino bwino nakabili. Nabutukila kulukungu lwang’anda nokulya ulukonde bwangu bwangu. Iyi nkonde yali iyalowesha ukucila palishonse inkonde nalyapo.


The following day, when grandma was in the garden picking vegetables, I sneaked in and peered at the bananas. Nearly all were ripe. I couldn’t help taking a bunch of four. As I tiptoed towards the door, I heard grandma coughing outside. I just managed to hide the bananas under my dress and walked past her.

The following day, when grandma was in the garden picking vegetables, I sneaked in and peered at the bananas. Nearly all were ripe. I couldn’t help taking a bunch of four. As I tiptoed towards the door, I heard grandma coughing outside. I just managed to hide the bananas under my dress and walked past her.

Ubushiku bwakonkelepo, elyo bamaama baile mwibala mukuswa umusalu, Naliya lushenshe muku lengela pa nkonde. Ninshi shonse shili mukupya. Efyo nasendelemo shicne. Cilya ndebendelela kucibi, naunfwa bamaama balekola panse. Efyo nafishile inkonde mwilaya nokuya bapita epobali.


The following day was market day. Grandma woke up early. She always took ripe bananas and cassava to sell at the market. I did not hurry to visit her that day. But I could not avoid her for long.

The following day was market day. Grandma woke up early. She always took ripe bananas and cassava to sell at the market. I did not hurry to visit her that day. But I could not avoid her for long.

Ubushiku bwakonkelepo, bwali bushiku bwakushitisha ku maliketi. Bamaama babukile lucelocelo. Baletwala inkonde ishapya na tute lyonse mukushitisha kumaliket. Nshacelele mukubamona, nomba nalibafuluka.


Later that evening I was called by my mother and father, and Grandma. I knew why. That night as I lay down to sleep, I knew I could never steal again, not from grandma, not from my parents, and certainly not from anyone else.

Later that evening I was called by my mother and father, and Grandma. I knew why. That night as I lay down to sleep, I knew I could never steal again, not from grandma, not from my parents, and certainly not from anyone else.

Mucungulo, bamayo, batata na bamaama efyo banjitile. Naishiba nelyashi. Ubushiku bulya lintu naile mukusendama, nasambilile ukuti nshakabwekeshepo ukwibbila bamaama, abafyashi bandi nangu umuntu umbi nakabili.


Written by: Ursula Nafula
Illustrated by: Catherine Groenewald
Read by: Darshan Soni
Language: English
Level: Level 4
Source: Grandma's bananas from African Storybook
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 International License.
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