Aug 1, 2010

Sikulu and Harambe

Sikulu and Harambe: by the Zambezi River is a children’s picture book that tells an African version of the Good Samaritan story. I picked this up with the idea of giving it as a gift to a friend, however, I liked it so much I’ve decided to keep it for myself and will have to visit the bookstore again or to buy more copies.

The pleasure I gained from this book was not only in the re-telling a childhood story I remember fondly but from the amount of additional detail provided by the author, Kunle Oguneye. He provides pronunciation for the African names to help the reader (instead of copping out and just using English names), and at the back of the book he provides a mini glossary for the words, names and places (example: "chitenge is cloth native to Zambia...and holds a special place in the heart of Zambians").

Furthermore, Oguneye provides the moral of the story and asks the young reader some pertinent questions. He also provides a brief background on Zambia, the Zambezi river and some of the animals found there. The illustration by Bruce McCorkindale is quite admirable; the colours are bright and the images capture the essence of what an African children’s book should look like, in my opinion.

This is truly a wonderful book and well worth the price you pay. I have every intention of visiting the author’s website and seeing what other African folk tales he has re-told. It may be well worth it to ask if he has any intention of having this book and others translated into other languages. 


Hello Miss Bwalya, thanks for the wonderful comments about Sikulu and Harambe. This is Kunle the author. Where did you get the book? I'd like to know which store.


Mr Oguneye, you’re welcome! I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and writing my review.

I am not sure how familiar you are with the Portland metro area (Oregon) though I noticed you're also in the Pacific NW. I purchased my copy at Powell's Bookstore in Beaverton. It was the only copy they had on hand, and I will have to check the main store downtown Portland to see if they have additional copies.

Do you have any plans to publish in other languages? I think that would be a helpful tool for parents teaching their children to read and write in their mother tongue. Just an idea...

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