We are all storytellers

A boy looking at the camera, with an inset of the boy speaking into a microphone

25th October 2021

People who stammer often know how to tell a good story (see Lewis Carroll, Margaret Drabble, David Mitchell, etc). Add Malachi to the list, who, at just 12 years old, has achieved great things. He and his mum Ritah tell us more.

I am reaching out about my son Malachi, who is 12 years old. He has a stammer but he has never allowed it to hold him back. 

I started noticing Malachi's stammer when he was about 5. It went on for a period of two to three months until at some point it stopped. Then after three years he started to stammer again. We spoke about it and through many conversations and experiences, we noticed that he mostly stammered when he was anxious or excited.

He does still stammer, but it has never been an issue for him. The only time he's mentioned it recently was about two weeks ago; he had just moved schools and was nervous, but he is slowly settling in now and has not mentioned it again.

I hope to inspire other kids not to be afraid to read out loud in class and anywhere else.

Malachi

A few years ago, Malachi donated £5 to a charity for homeless people and sent them a letter asking them to build homes for rough sleepers. They listened and built a block of flats in East London, naming it after Malachi. He attended meetings and spoke at various events leading up to the launch of the hostel. To date, Project Malachi has raised over £20 million through communities and partnerships. 
 
Malachi loves reading and storytelling, and we both noticed that when he read aloud or was narrating a story, he didn't stammer. He was totally in his comfort zone. Over the years, I have encouraged him with this and most recently, Malachi appeared on Nickelodeon to tell his story in a series called Extraordinary Me.

Malachi has inspired so many children and I hope his story, and his words below, can inspire other children who stammer. 

Malachi says:

We are all storytellers

Every time I read a story,
Every time I narrate,
Every time I sing
My mum and my stammer both sit still.
They are both listening.
Every time.

My name is Malachi Justin. I love reading and storytelling, and I wrote this about my stammer. I realised that when I read and narrate, I do not stammer. I believe it is connected to the fact that my stammer loves listening to my stories and remains still.

Most recently, I have enjoyed narrating stories about legendary African mythological creatures. I really enjoyed filming the episode of Extraordinary Me a few weeks ago, and what was even more exciting was the day I went for the voice recording. 

Every time I spoke into the microphone, 
My mum and my stammer both sat still.
They were both listening.
Every Take.

I hope to inspire other kids not to be afraid to read out loud in class and anywhere else. We are all storytellers.

Would you like to tell us your story or write an article yourself? Email editor@stamma.org for more information.

A boy with headphones on, recording a voiceover.
Malachi recording his voiceover for Nickelodeon.