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REVIEW: Sikulu and Harambe by Kunle Oguneye and Bruce McCorkindale

Sikulu and Harambe by the Zambezi River” is an African version of the Good Samaritan Story where two animals, a spider (Sikulu) and a hippo (Harambe) are playing by the river when an old woman washing her clothes accidentally slips and her laundry drifts down the river…


The lady can’t hear Sikulu’s and Harambe’s offer to help that she rushes downstream to beg the fish, the elephant and the stork to help save her clothes. Sadly, none of them are willing, each animal has an excuse.

The spider is afraid of the water but the hippo asks it to hop onto his back. Together, they fish out the dripping clothes from the river and gather them into the washing basket.

The old woman is so grateful that she invites them to dip into a pot for a reward. Harambe the hippo gets a beautiful chitenge cloth (used to wrap newborns in Zambia) and Sikulu the spider gets gold and emerald bracelets for her 4 hands 🙂

When the fish, the elephant and the stork meet the two friends at the “Ku-omboka” ceremony, they are envious of the beautiful gifts. When they hear about the hippo and the spider helping the old woman, they are ashamed and decide they will help others in need next time.

Sikulu and Harambe by the Zambezi River” has a fast-paced story that kept my toddler glued to the book, which are helped by the beautiful illustrations (charcoal drawings? colour pencils?) that accompany each turn in the plot.


I found it a bit tough reading the African names for the animals to my toddlers and used the common names instead. However, this should not be a problem for preschoolers or reading-age children from 7-11 years old.

When my toddler is older, I’ll take this book out for a re-read because he’ll learn about the Lozi people, words in Swahili and the Lozi language plus useful facts about the animals, the culture, the people and the country of Zambia.

Older children can also discuss the moral of the story and share their responses with others who have read the book on Kunle Oguneye’s website. Parents are advised to guide their children’s activity on the website.

I enjoyed reading “Sikulu and Harambe by the Zambezi River” with my toddler – I certainly hope I’ll get a chance to review their other African adventures!

Click “here” to buy a copy for your child 😀