Here is a true story about a man called Langalibalele. The story tells how Langalibalele escaped from some cannibals. Cannibals are people who eat other people. Langalibalele escaped from the cannibals because he could swim.
THE SON OF A CHIEF
Langalibalele was the son of Mthimkhulu. Mthimkhulu was chief of the Hlubi.
The Hlubi chiefdom was in the land we now call Natal. The Hlubi lived between the Ncome and Mzinyathi rivers, near where Utrecht is today.
‘THE SUN IS HOT’
Langalibalele was born in 1817.
In that year rain did not fall in Natal. The sun was very hot. That is why Langalibalele’s parents called him Langalibalele. Langalibalele means ‘The sun is hot’.
TROUBLE AND FIGHTING
The cannibals in this story were Bele people. The Bele chiefdom was in Natal. The Bele were not always cannibals.
Some Bele people became cannibals because of trouble and fighting in Natal from 1810 to 1830.
Other people chased the Bele off their land. So the Bele had no crops and cattle. They ate roots and fruit from the veld.
HUNGRY PEOPLE ATE OTHER PEOPLE
Sometimes rain did not fall for a long time. Then the Bele could not find food in the veld.
The Bele people were very hungry. Some of the Bele ate other people. That is why some Bele people became cannibals.
A group of Bele people I ived near the Hlubi. The Bele lived on the other side of the Mzinyathi river.
A GOOD SWIMMER
Most people in Natal did not swim because they were afraid of the crocodiles in the rivers.
But the Ngwe people were not afraid of crocodiles. The Ngwe always taught their children to swim.
Langalibalele’s mother was a Ngwe. When Langalibalele was a young boy, his mother taught him to swim. Langalibalele was a good swimmer.
Langalibalele had a brother called Duba. Duba was also a son of Mthimkhulu. Bur Duba had a different mother. Duba ‘s mother was a Bele.
BROTHER HATED BROTHER
When Langalibalele was a young man, he became chief of a small group of Hlubi people.
Duba wanted to be chief of the Hlubi. Duba hated Langalibalele.
“PLEASE KILL HIM”
Duba went to his mother’s people. Duba said to the Bele: “Please help me to be chief of the Hlubi. Kill Langalibalele.”
The Bele said: “We will catch Langalibalele tomorrow. Then we will kill him and eat him. “
JUMPED OUT AND CAUGHT HIM
The next morning, some Bele men went across the river. They hid in the bushes. They waited until Langalibalele came to the river to wash. The Bele jumped out and caught Langalibalele.
Langalibalele fought very hard. But the Bele were too many. Langalibalele could not escape.
The Bele took Langalibalele across the river. They took him to their village. They put him in a hut and tied him up with rope.
SHAVED HIS HEAD
The Bele shaved all the hair off Langalibalele’s head. Langalibalele knew that the cannibals were going to eat him. He was afraid.
Two of Langalibalele’s sisters lived with the Bele. They saw Langalibalele in the hut. They saw that the cannibals shaved Langalibalele. They loved Langalibalele. They were afraid.
EAT HIM UP
Langalibalele’s sisters ran to Gxiva. Gxiva was a good friend of Langalibalele. The sisters said to Gxiva: “The cannibals caught Langalibalele. They are going to eat him tomorrow. Please save Langalibalele.”
Gxiva said: “I will go tonight and save Langalibalele.”
RAN AWAY QUICKLY
‘When the sky was dark, Gxiva went across the river. He went to the Bele village. Gxiva went quietly to Langalibalele’s hut. Gxiva untied Langalibalele. Then Langalibalele and Gxiva ran away quickly.
A Bele man woke up. He saw Langalibalele and Gxiva. He shouted: “Wake up, everyone! Langalibalele escaped. We must catch him!”.
JUMPED INTO THE RIVER
The Bele men chased Langalibalele and Gx iva. They came to the river. The river was very full. Langalibalele and Gxiva jumped into the river. They swam across to the other side.
The Bele men stood on the river bank. They were afraid of the water. They were afraid of crocodiles. The Bele men did not follow Langalibalele and Gxiva.
The Bele went back to their village. They were very sad and angry because Langalibalele escaped.
ESCAPED FROM CANNIBALS
Langalibalele went back to his people. The Hlubi were very happy to see their chief again.
The Hlubi told many people from other groups how Langalibalele escaped from the cannibals.
A GREAT AND POWERFUL CHIEF
These people thought that Langalibalele was very powerful because the crocodiles did not eat him. Many people joined Langalibalele’s chiefdom. And Langalibalele became a great and powerful chief.