“Let The Games Begin!”

Our Africa Tales friends gather to watch the Olympics at Madala’s house and discuss the people of the world getting along.

Themes Found in This Story:

  • Summer Olympics
  • Working together peacefully

Possible Bible Memory Verses:

  • “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” Psalm 133:1 (NIV)


  • Create Olympic medals
  • Make Olympic sailboats
  • Hold your own Olympics



The bush was unusually quiet today. No one was out romping in the fields or splashing in the river. The only noise for miles came from Madala’s tiny hut, and quite a lot of noise it was too! Outside the hut was his Land Rover, with a cable running from the battery under the hood and into the hut. Inside, the cable was clamped to the back of a small television, and Madala was crawling all over it, fiddling with wires and whacking it with his walking stick.


“Aha! That’s done it!” he said triumphantly, as a picture emerged from the static. “Quiet down, everyone—it’s starting!” He crawled quickly off the television and up to sit on Kili’s head. Beside him sat Nyati, taking up half of the hut with his great size, and Jos perched on one of Nyati’s horns. Omulonga and the cubs sat eagerly on the floor in front of them, while Maro clung to the rafters and Suloliko curled up by the door. It was time for the Olympics to begin, and no one wanted to miss a thing.


Grand music started to play, and the march of flags began. “Look, look!” cried Tshameka. He poked his sister and pointed at the screen. “There’s the South African flag!”


“Nigeria, Nigeria!” twittered Jos, flapping his wings excitedly as his flag passed by.


“There’s our Kenyan runners,” Nyati said, pointing at the screen. He nudged Kili with his shoulder. “Just you watch, boy. We East Africans will show them how it’s done.”


Each one of them cheered as their country’s flag passed by on the screen. Maro, forgetting that she was in the ceiling, let go to clap and fell top of Suloliko with a thump! She quickly climbed back up and curled her arms around the rafter again.


With the opening ceremonies over, the games began at last. The friends cheered and groaned, watching the victories and failures as they happened. “Wouldn’t it be fun to be in the Olympics?” asked Maro.


Madala looked up at her, raising an eyebrow at the way she had woven herself through the sticks holding up his roof. “If you were to be in them, I think you’d make a cracking gymnast, young lady,” he said.


“These two wouldn’t be out of place on the track,” said Nyati, looking down at the cubs, who had grown bored with the commercial break and were running circles around the TV.


“Oi, watch it!” said Madala. He stuck out his stick, and Reë tripped, sending herself and her brother tumbling away into Nyati’s legs. “Runners you may be,” Madala said, “but keep it up and you’ll knock the wires out.”


“Sorry, Madala,” she said. “Can’t you just see us running for South Africa, though? I think we should do the relay. We’re super-fast together.”


“Well, I should like to swim for Namibia one day,” said Omulonga as the program started up again, opening with the swimmers.


“It’s a shame there’s no flying category, Jos,” said Suloliko. “You’d be really good at that.”


“I could try the diving,” Jos said eagerly. “That’s like flying, except you don’t catch yourself.”


“Yeah, but then you’d run into trouble when you hit the water,” said Nyati with a smile. “I know for a fact you can’t swim.”


“Yes, that would be a bit problematic,” Jos said, stroking his chin thoughtfully with a wing. The others laughed, and the program continued.


“I say,” said Madala, as the runners appeared again. “Look at that fellow. He’s from South Sudan! That is impressive.”


“Where’s that?” asked Kili.


“South Sudan is Africa’s newest country, my boy! Why, it’s barely a year they’ve been a country.” He turned back to the TV, lifting an encouraging fist to the runner. “Good on you, lad! Do that country of yours proud!”


“This is quite lovely, isn’t it?” said Suloliko suddenly.


“What do you mean?” asked Nyati.


“Well, here we are, cheering for South Sudan, when a moment ago some of us didn’t even know it existed. And there,” she went on, nodding at the screen. “Some of those athletes are from countries that are always fighting with each other. I saw a lot of that when I was in Guinea, in the countries around us. But now they’re all together playing games and competing together. I think it’s just wonderful that everyone can come together and get along, that’s all.”


“Quite right you are, young lady,” said Madala warmly. “Quite right you are.”

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