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Page last updated at 12:22 GMT, Monday, 8 September 2008 13:22 UK

Kampala's preacher boy

Ugandan boy Muwanguzi Achilewo holding up his Bible

By Salim Kikeke
BBC, Uganda

It is late in the evening yet on one of Kampala's busiest streets, a little boy is walking up and down the pavement.

He is smartly dressed, wearing a faded denim jacket and holding a book - the Bible.

He is energetically preaching to whoever passes him by.

"Let me be with you. Hurry up!" he shouts incessantly in a raspy mixture of English, Kiswahili and the local Luganda language, over the noisy traffic.

"Praise the Lord.

"Let me walk with you. Praise the Lord," he proclaims.

Nine-year-old Muwanguzi Achilewo keeps on giving out the word of God.

'God will give you'

The only other children about at this time are street kids, begging for money.

Ugandan boy Muwanguzi Achilewo
Muwanguzi quotes verses from the Bible even though he cannot read

But Muwanguzi is not doing it for the money.

"No, I'm not preaching the Gospel for money," he says, "but if you want, you can give me. If you don't have, God will give you," he promises.

The preacher boy cannot even read and yet he quotes whole verses from the Bible in Luganda.

He lives with his mother in the city. His father lives in the rural areas.

"Since he was two years old, he has loved God so much," his mother Winnie explains, adding that her eldest son started by singing in church.

Divine?

Although he has a few friends his own age, he doesn't make much time to play with them. He only hangs out with them on Saturdays and only for a few hours. Instead he prefers to spend his time preaching the Gospel.

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Muwanguzi's name means the victor or conqueror.

But is his message getting through?

A gentleman sitting at a bar nearby says: "We need to dig down a bit, and find out exactly what inspired him to come out onto street.

"Is it divine? Is he trained to do that? Or indoctrinated?" the gentleman asks, sipping on a beer.

A woman cuts in, saying: "You wonder what makes a young person like him come onto the street and preach like he does? He's so strange but I think that people might take him seriously."

Another man in their party says the preacher boy is having an effect because, "Even if you don't want to listen to what he is saying, in a way, his message still touches you."


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