'My name Mbu is a short version of Mbuyiseli, which in isiXhosa means something like "the one who returns something."? I once asked my mom why she gave me this name. She said: "I never got anything from life; I hope to get something back from my children one day ... maybe from you."' In this moving and gripping tale of his life, Mbu recounts his childhood growing up in the shacks of some of the poorest townships in the Eastern and Western Cape; the battle to survive hunger, neglect and sleeping on the streets; the beloved older brother who took care of him as a toddler; the unwavering dream of education that kept him going; and the search for values and dignity in a world of alcohol, drugs, crime and few positive role models. Mbu's story is the story of countless other young men and women in South Africa, born into similar situations of hardship, growing up abandoned or neglected by parents themselves in need of parenting. What makes his story different is that it is a journey not of despair but transformation, lit by the kindness of friends and strangers, and Mbu's own determination not to stop hoping for a better life. Mbu Maloni lives in HOKISA Children's Home in Masiphumelele Township, Cape Town South Africa.