Molemo and the magic jacket
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Molemo and the magic jacket


By Siphiliselwe Makhanya


Illustrations by Geoff Walton

It was a freezing cold morning. Molemo pushed his hands deeper into the pockets of his school pants and pulled up his shoulders as he waited to cross the road at the robot. He wore two T-shirts under his white school shirt, but he still felt cold.

“Brrrrrrr,” said Molemo, stamping his feet while he waited for the robot to change. “I wish Granny had enough money to buy me a jacket.”

As soon as the little green man appeared on the robot, Molemo started to cross the road. But that’s when he heard a scream behind him. As he turned around to look, he saw a man struggling with an old woman and trying to take her handbag.

“Help! Help!” shouted the woman.

Molemo didn’t stop to think – he ran to help the old woman and kicked the man on the ankle as hard as he could. The man howled in pain and let go of the woman’s handbag. Then he limped away as quickly as he could.

“Sorry, Mama, did he hurt you?” asked Molemo, helping the woman to stand up. She had fallen over when the robber had let go of her handbag. “Grab onto my shoulder,” Molemo said.

The old woman was shaking and she looked like she wanted to cry. “Thank you, thank you,” she said. “I don’t know what has gotten into people these days.”

Once the old woman was standing up again, Molemo picked up her things and gave them back to her. “At least we still have kind young people like you,” she smiled.




Later that afternoon, Molemo crossed the road at the same robots on his way home. To his surprise, the old woman was there waiting for him. She smiled when she saw him. “Young man! I have something for you!” she said as she gave Molemo a carefully wrapped packet. “Open it when you get home.”

Molemo felt embarrassed. “You don’t have to give me anythi…,” he began.

“Take it, take it,” said the woman, interrupting him. “This is just the thing you need. When I met you, I knew that it would be perfect for you.” She patted Molemo’s back and squeezed his shoulder. “When it no longer fits you, pass it on to another child who is just as kind as you.” Then she turned and left.

When Molemo got home, he opened the packet. Inside was a bright yellow jacket. It had pockets on the outside and a lovely, checked pattern on the lining inside. It was beautiful. But as he held it up, he realised that it was quite small.

Molemo felt disappointed. “This will never fit me!” he thought. But because it was such a nice jacket, he decided to try it on anyway.

That is when something really surprising happened – the right sleeve of the jacket seemed to grow longer as he slid his arm through it. It grew longer and longer until it was exactly the right size for his arm. Molemo couldn’t believe his eyes. This couldn’t be right! Molemo decided to put his other arm into the left sleeve of the jacket. Again, it seemed to grow and grow to fit him.

The jacket fit Molemo perfectly. He walked outside to look at his reflection in the window. He posed with his hands on his hips and then put them in the jacket’s pockets. He looked good!





Just then, his older sister, Nina, came around the corner. She looked tired. Molemo took her bag and followed her inside the house. “How are you? Do you want a cup of tea?” he asked.

Nina sat down at the kitchen table. “I’m okay, just tired,” she said, trying to smile at him. “Looking for work is hard work. Some tea would be nice, thank you.”

It seemed as if Nina was always looking for work. This made Molemo sad. She had worked so hard to finish school, and he knew it made her feel bad that she couldn’t find a job after three years of looking.

“I’m sure you’ll find something soon, Nina. You’re a hard worker and you never stop trying,” said Molemo.

He turned to light the paraffin stove to boil some water for her tea. “I wish Nina could find a good job,” he thought. He put the kettle on the stove and set out a cup with a teabag in it.

Molemo shoved his hands into the jacket’s pockets while he waited for the water to boil. That’s when he felt a piece of paper stuffed into the corner of the right pocket. He was surprised. Molemo wondered if it had been there before and he just hadn’t noticed.

Carefully, he took the paper out of the pocket. It was a neatly folded newspaper advertisement that read: JOB AVAILABLE. Matriculant wanted!

Molemo smiled. It looked like his family’s luck was about to change for the better and all because of the old woman’s gift.


Get story active!

Have you ever had a chance to help an older person? What happened? How did you feel afterwards?
Draw a picture of you helping someone. At the bottom of your drawing, write a sentence that describes what is happening in the picture.
What is the best gift you have received from a family member? Why do you like it so much? Draw a picture of the gift.