Mbu Maloni is in Grade 11 at Masiphumelele High School in Masiphumelele, Cape Town. He has just published his first book Nobody Will Ever Kill Me (UKZN Press, 2011), which he wrote together with author, Lutz van Dijk. The book is the story of Mbu’s life growing up on the streets of Masiphumelele and in poverty in Masizakhe township.outside Graaf Reinet. It is a testament to the courage and endurance of a young man who decided, against all odds, that he could change his life. Mbu lives in HOKISA Children’s Home, in Masiphumelele. This book is dedicated to a dear friend of his, Atie, who was killed in 2010. It provides hope for the many ‘street children’ out there who, if they believe strongly enough in something positive, can achieve more than they are often led to believe.
Nobody will ever kill me
by Mbu Maloni, written with Lutz van Dijk
ISBN: 978 1 86914 217 9
Publisher: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press
‘My name Mbu is a short version of Mbuyiseli, which in isiXhosa means something like “the one who returns something”. I once asked my mom why she gave me this name. She said: “I never got anything from life; I hope to get something back from my children one day … maybe from you.”’
In this moving and gripping tale of his life, Mbu recounts his childhood growing up in the shacks of some of the poorest townships in the Eastern and Western Cape; the battle to survive hunger, neglect and sleeping on the streets; the beloved older brother who took care of him as a toddler; the unwavering dream of education that kept him going; and the search for values and dignity in a world of alcohol, drugs, crime and few positive role models.
Mbu’s story is the story of countless other young men and women in South Africa, born into similar situations of hardship, growing up abandoned or neglected by parents themselves in need of parenting. What makes his story different is that it is a journey not of despair but transformation, lit by the kindness of friends and strangers, and Mbu’s own determination not to stop hoping for a better life.
Lutz van Dijk is an internationally acclaimed writer, who, amongst other books, has published the bestseller Stronger than the Storm, the novels Romeo and Jabulile and Themba (made into a movie in 2010) and A History of Africa (preface by Archbishop Tutu).
An Interview with Mbu
What started you writing?
When my friend Atie was killed last year in Masiphumelele I knew that I wanted to write my story and dedicate it to him. That’s how I started. I went to Lutz van Dijk, who is ‘doc’ in the book. He is also the director at Hokisa where I stay, and supports me in many ways. He asked me if I thought I was strong enough. He said I would need to be strong inside to write this book because it would be painful to remember things that had happened to me. But I was ready and found the strength inside. We worked together. I would write by hand and he would type on the computer. We would talk. He would write more and I would change things. I never believed I would ever write a book. And now I have it in my hand.
What do you enjoy reading?
I like reading poetry, and also teenage novels. I am reading Visions of You, by George Betts.
What is your message for young people in South Africa?
Education. Education will open doors for you. All through my life, even when it seemed impossible, I went to school whenever I could. Now I am in Grade 11 and studying hard so that I can pass Matric. I have turned my life around.