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Support from Deep Roots
When the roots are deep, there is no reason to fear the wind.
No One is Born with Hate
No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.
Togetherness is Good
A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to save them from starving. They all have food in their own homes. When we gather together in the moonlit village ground it is not because of the moon. Every man can see it in his own compound. We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so.
Lion vs Sheep
It is better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life.
The eye crosses the river before the body does.
Things we can't Change
No matter how many times you wash a goat, it will still smell like a goat.
The Wise Should Always Speak
Fools multiply when wise men are silent.
No to Dictatorship
I would love to be the African leader that steps down, that overthrows this idea of a Big Man ruler. I don't want to stay in office forever.
Choose Words Wisely
Words are like spears: once they leave your lips, they can never come back.
Character of Fools
It is a fool who rejoices when his neighbor is in trouble.
Evil Deeds Ruin Good Reputations
When a once beautiful piece of cloth has turned into rags, no one remembers that it was woven by Ukwa master weavers.
Always Adapt to Survive
Eneke the bird says that since men have learnt to shoot without missing, he has learnt to fly without perching.
Problem with Gender Expectations
The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are. Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn’t have the weight of gender expectations.
Some people ask: “Why the word feminist? Why not just say you are a believer in human rights, or something like that?” Because that would be dishonest. Feminism is, of course, part of human rights in general—but to choose to use the vague expression human rights is to deny the specific and particular problem of gender. It would be a way of pretending that it was not women who have, for centuries, been excluded. It would be a way of denying that the problem of gender targets women.
Action is Better than Words
Noisy birds never build nests.
The person who was broken knows how to bind up the person who is broken.
As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn't leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I'd still be in prison.
People make Time for those they Love
There is always room for the person you love even if the house is crowded.
Patience Leads to Good Things
The spider that knows what it will gain sits waiting patiently in its web.
Letting go what Holds you Back
The tree that cannot shed its old leaves in the dry season, cannot survive the period of drought.
Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.
It’s not where you start but how high you aim that matters for success.
Resentment hurts you more than the Resented
Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.
Solutions should be Proportional to Problems
Do not respond to a mosquito with a hammer because you will miss and hurt yourself instead.
What to Believe
If the fish comes out of the river to tell you that the crocodile has one eye, you should believe it.
Its Ok to Dream Big with Right Strategy
If the cockroach wants to rule over the chicken, then it must hire the fox as a bodyguard.
Fighting the Odds
Although the snake does not fly it has caught the bird whose home is in the sky.
Hostility breeds Hostility
If men were now to turn their hostility towards the cat, it would not be long before the domestic cat becomes a wild animal.
Whether you wait for tomorrow or you don't, it is sure to come.
Prep is not Doing
Preparing cocoyams for planting does not mean that they are already planted.
A rat cannot call a cat to account for what the cat has done.
Center of Attention
The stars shine brightest when the moon is gone.
We are Interdependent
A hand cannot wash itself. Each hand must take a turn in washing the other for both hands to be clean.
Like Father, Like Son
If you know his father and grandfather, don't worry about his son.
Help as a Moral Responsibility
It is both the duty and responsibility of the world's fortunate few to help fulfil the legitimate aspirations of the unfortunate many.
Leadership vs Domination
Leadership does not mean domination. The world is always well supplied with people who wish to rule and dominate others.
Paying Attention to what Matters
If the full moon loves you, why worry about the stars?.
You know yourself Best
Nobody can teach me who I am. You can describe parts of me, but who I am – and what I need – is something I have to find out myself.
Learn from Failures, Enjoy Successes
Be confident enough to take calculated risks in order to achieve your dreams. If you win, you win and you’ll take the blessings. If you fail, you fail and you’ll take the lessons.
Neutrality in Injustice is Siding with Oppressor
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
Identify Source of Problem
There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.
Disagreeing Constructively is Maturity
Our maturity will be judged by how well we are able to agree to disagree and yet continue to love one another, to care for one another, and cherish one another and seek the greater good of the other.
I am because you are
A person is a person through other persons; you can't be human in isolation; you are human only in relationships.
Loudness does not mean Correctness
My father always used to say, "Don't raise your voice. Improve your argument." Good sense does not always lie with the loudest shouters, nor can we say that a large, unruly crowd is always the best arbiter of what is right.
Improving a Nation
No nation has ever been able to transform by chance. Its always a deliberate and conscious process.
Creation and Science
In the begining God said 'Let there be light', and when there was light, there was physics.
Little by Little
If you dream of moving mountains tomorrow, you must start by lifting small stones today.
Differing Perspectives of Same Thing
The same sun that melts the wax, hardens the clay.
If Role Model Blunders, so could Fans
If gold should rust, what more of iron.
Gratitude makes you Worthy of More
By being grateful, a person makes himself or herself deserving of yet another kindness.
Unpleasantness has a Role in Keeping Balance
If one were to remove every smoking wood from a fire and condemn it as bad, one would be killing the fire itself.
Reward vs Punishment
You don't punish a fish by throwing it into water.
We all have Individual Battles
The horse may carry the warrior to the battlefield, but it will never fight the battle.
Whenever the cock crows, the lazy man blames the night for being too short.
Thank you Mama
Without you, African mother, there would have been no us--African fathers, sons and daughters. Do we need to say any more African mothers, our own true goddesses! Let us praise you to the highest, telling the world about your righteousness. Let us tell the entire universe about your sacredness African woman.
A common snake which a man sees all alone may become a python in his eyes.
When Support Fails
When a mighty tree falls, the birds are scattered into the bush.
Too Good to be True
When a handshake goes beyond the elbow, we know it has turned to another thing.
Don't Reinvent the Wheel
If you want to know where a path is leading, ask those who are coming from it.
Know your Worth
If the ox knew his strength, he will never let anyone lasso him.
Don't Give Up
A palm wine tapper does not stop tapping wine because he or she once fell from the top of a palm tree.
No matter how hungry you are, you can only eat your food one mouthful at a time.
The mouth must not eat everything that the eyes see.
Consequence of Greed
The monkey that tried to reach two mangoes at the same time from two different branches on a tree fell on its back.
Weigh your Opportunities
Sometimes we hold on to the good and the better for a very long time that we don't even know when we allowed the best to slip away from our hands.
When Considering where to Invest
You can't put money meant for the right course of action in the hands of criminals, rogues and thieves and expect to see positive changes or results.
Peaceful Transition of Leadership
As I have always affirmed, nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian.
Paying Attention to the Big Picture
If you follow the elephant, you never get entangled in the forest.
Black or White, all Races are Equal
A black cow, just like a white cow, produces white milk.
Know your Weaknesses
The one who is clothed in cotton wool does not hover or jump over a flame.
Allegiance to Fellow Human
We must become bigger than we have been: more courageous, greater in spirit, larger in outlook. We must become members of a new race, overcoming petty prejudice, owing our ultimate allegiance not to nations but to our fellow men within the human community.
Indifference to Evil is Evil
Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.
History and Identity
An awareness of our past is essential to the establishment of our personality and our identity as Africans.
Together we are Strong
History teaches us that unity is strength, and cautions us to submerge and overcome our differences in the quest for common goals, to strive, with all our combined strength, for the path to true African brotherhood and unity.
The Sun and the Moon
Folktale: If the sun says it is more powerful than the moon then let it come and shine at night Once upon a time, Sun picked up a quarrel with Moon. Sun boasted, "I'm more powerful than you Moon, and you have no choice but to bow down before me." Moon replied, "in fact, the opposite is true in this case. You are the one who should be showing respect to me. You, Sun, shine during day when there is already light, while I shine at night when there is darkness and when light is most needed." The quarrel and argument went on and on. They failed to reach an agreement. They then decided to go to the chief for arbitration. The chief said, "If anyone of you is stronger than the other let him go and shine in the other's time, that is to say, Sun should shine at night or Moon should shine during day." They couldn't, and so the quarrel ended.
Recognizing different Roles and Purposes
If the sun says it is more powerful than the moon, then let it come and shine at night.
Always have Backup Plans
A hunter with one arrow does not shoot with a careless aim.
There are so many good things in life but they are not all meant for you.
Diversity of Opinions
If two wise men agree on everything, then there is no need for one of them.
We miss what is Gone
You will not see the importance of a river until it runs dry.
Tackling Problems from Sources
When the shadow of a tree is bent, straighten the tree not the shadow.
A Man's Evil Stains Him
A man's urine will always fall near him.
Talking vs Acting
It is easy enough to shout slogans, to sign manifestos, but it is quite a different matter to build, manage, command, spend days and nights seeking the solution to problems.
You are Blind to your Faults
The camel does not see the bend on its neck.
Life is a teacher. The more you live, the more you learn.
Role of Women in Moments of Danger
In moments of danger, when women emerge by their side, men utter no protest. Yet…men refuse to see the capabilities of women.
Selfishness towards Women's Rights
Every man who is pushed by his selfishness to trespass on the legitimate rights of women is robbing the rights of others and bringing harm to his country. He is an obstacle preventing the country from benefiting from the abilities and efforts of half the nation or more.
Men have singled out women of outstanding merit and put them on a pedestal to avoid recognizing the capabilities of all women.
Picky People have
If you are looking for a fly in your food it means that you are full.
Experience of Failing
You cannot appreciate success if you do not know failure.
A goat eats where it has been tied.
Song about Strength of Women
We don't know how she always finds a way, the mystery of a woman. A saviour in the time of need, the bravery of a woman.In your time of need she does the deed, the magic of a woman.
Show them their Rights
The majority of my sisters and daughters in the Central African Republic don’t know their rights so they can’t defend them. But we who know our rights can help them. We must always help them: the battle is always to promote and protect the rights of women.
The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.
Caution when Teasing
Do not make fun of the crocodile when you are still standing knee-deep in the river.
Some study History. Others create it
Many people read History books but it takes just a few people to LEAD the cause that will shape the course of HISTORY.
If I had not grown up in Nigeria- and if all I knew of Africa were of popular images- I too would think that africa was a place of beautiful landscapes, beautiful animals and incomprehensible people fighting sensless wars, dying of poverty and aids- unable to speak for themselves and waiting to be saved by a kind white foreigner.
Independence before Interdependence
I cannot live with someone who can't live without me.
Racial Diversity in South Africa
I am an African. I am white. I, in my humble way, and others in their much more brave way, have earned that right.
A guard dog cannot watch two homes at once.
Religion to Africans
To the African, religion is like the skin that you carry along with you wherever you are, not like the cloth that you wear now and discard the next moment.
The Things that Matter
I pointed out to you the stars and the moon but all you saw was the tip of my finger.
Love is Better
If there is cause to hate someone, the cause to love has just begun.
Love and Patience
If love is a sickness, patience is the remedy.
Believe the liar up to the door of his house and no further than that.
Some are Friends only Through Good Times
When making a fire people like to join you, when cleaning the ashes you are often alone.
Oral Tradition as Unwritten Bible
The oral literature of the African people is their unwritten Bible. This religious wisdom is found in African idioms, wise sayings, legends, myths, stories, proverbs and oral history.
Relationship of Proverbs to Religion and Philosophy
Proverbs are a rich source of African Religion and philosophy. They contain and point to a deep spirituality, as well as a theological and philosophical insights. In this case, they form a bridge between traditional African religiosity and biblical teaching.
Proverbs enhance Words
A proverb is the palmoil with which words are eaten.
Bad Company vs Loneliness
It is better to travel alone than with a bad companion.
Tortoise and pig - Our good actions are not always rewarded
Once upon a time there was a very poor harvest and Tortoise and his wife had no food and no money to buy food. No one would lend them any money because they knew that Tortoise never paid anything back. One day, however, Tortoise went to see Pig. 'Pig', he said, 'perhaps you do not recognize me. I am so thin that you probably think I am a ghost or a shadow. Indeed, if I do not eat soon I shall become a ghost. And my wife is even weaker than I am. We have not eaten for four days and we are both dying. Please, Pig, please lend me some money to bury my wife because she will certainly die soon.'Pig felt sorry for Tortoise and lend him some money. Time passed and Tortoise made no effort to repay it. Every day Pig went to Tortoise's house but Tortoise made one excuse after another. Each day he promised to repay the money soon but he always found some means of avoiding payment. Eventually, Pig lost patience and threatened to take Tortoise to court if the money was not repaid by the following day.Tortoise was terrified. He had no money. He knew that he could not borrow any more, yet he did not want to go to jail. Throughout the night he thought and thought. When morning came he called his wife and told her that he needed her help. 'Today, when you are grinding corn, I want you to use me instead of your 'ngaw' (grinding stone). You will use me like a grinding stone. If Pig comes in you must not say a word. If he asks a question, don't answer him. No matter what he says you must be silent. Say absolutely nothing but continue to grind your corn using me as your 'ngaw'.Mammy Tortoise agreed to follow her husband's instructions. She picked him up and began to use him like an 'ngaw.' She sang merrily as she ground her corn with her husband's back. At the appointed time Pig arrived. He knocked at the door, walked in and asked, 'where is your husband?'Mammy Tortoise merely turned her head, looked at him and continued grinning. Pig spoke to her again, but this time she did not even look at him. This behavior infuriated pig. No matter what he said she continued to grind. 'Stop grinding corn, 'he shouted.Mammy Tortoise paid no attention to him. In desperation he grabbed her 'ngaw', threw it outside and said, 'now you'll have to stop grinding!'Mammy Tortoise began to shout. She shouted and cried and made a great deal of noise.In the meantime her husband had fallen outside. He was unhurt and simply shook the dust off his back before walking in to the house.'What's going on? He demanded. ' What's the matter, my dear?' He asked his wife.Mammy Tortoise replied that she had been alone in the house grinding corn. She had been minding her own business. Pig had come in and, although she had not quarreled with him, he had flung her 'ngaw outside.'I don't know what to do,' she lamented, 'because I had only one 'ngaw' and I don't know where to get another.' And she continued to cry.Tortoise looked at pig very sternly. 'Pig,' he said coldly, 'go outside and find my wife's 'ngaw' and don't come back without it. I shall only return your money when you return my wife's grinding stone.'Pig went outside and looked everywhere but he could not find the grinding stone. He put his mouth close to the ground and called out,' Ngaw, ngaw', where are you ngaw?'But he never found it, and that is the reason why, even today, pigs walked about with their snouts close to the ground grunting, 'Ngaw, ngaw, ngaw, ngaw, ngaw. . . . .
Tortoise and Hawk - Never Laugh at your Friends
Long, long ago, as you know, animals and birds could talk, just as we can. At that time tortoise was very friendly with Mammy Hawk. They often met and talked about their neighbors or about the weather or about their plans for their children. Mammy Hawk liked her friend very much but she felt a little superior to him because she could fly and he could not.One day, Mammy Hawk met her friend and said, 'I can't stop to talk, Tortoise, I now have three baby hawks and I must get some food for them.''Ah,' said Tortoise, 'I did not know you had any children. I shall come to visit you all very soon.''You! Visit us!' laughed Mammy Hawk. 'Do you not know that we live in the highest tree in the forest? But, since you have said you'll come, we shall look forward to your visit.' With that she flew off, laughing and thinking, 'Tortoise thinks he is very clever but he has not learnt to fly yet!'A few days later she met Tortoise again while she was out hunting, and she said, 'My dear Tortoise, my children and I have been looking forward to your visit but you still haven't called on us. You must come and see us soon.'Once again she laughed as she flew away and this time Tortoise heard her. He made up his mind to punish her for mocking him. He was not sure how he could pay her back but he knew that he would succeed. 'If I lack wings, I do not lack intelligence,' he muttered as he walked home. A week passed. Then, one day, as Tortoise was out walking, he saw a tender, plump, young chicken and he remembered that Hawks love chickens. Tortoise sneaked slowly, noiselessly up to the chicken. He moved so quickly that the chicken neither saw nor heard anything until, 'F- fwit!' Tortoise grabbed the chicken by the leg. It struggled and struggled but could not escape. At last, it was exhausted. It lay down as if were dead and its wings covered Tortoise completely.Tortoise lay there quietly. He knew that Mammy Hawk usually flew that way when she was out hunting. At last he heard her flying overhead. She saw the chicken exclaimed with delight, 'Aha! My children will have a very good meal today!' She swooped down, picked up the chicken and flew to her nest. She thought that the chicken was very fat because it was very heavy. What she did not know was that she was also carrying Tortoise. When she reached her nest she dropped the chicken into it and said, 'Look, children. I've brought you a nice plump chicken for supper. I must go out again but I shall be back soon.'She flew off again. As soon as she had gone Tortoise crawled out from below the chicken and sat down with the young hawks. The babies and the Tortoise began to eat and soon, they had finished the chicken. After they had stopped eating Mammy Hawk came and saw Tortoise! She was really amazed!'Tortoise?' she asked. 'Is it really you? Have you actually managed to visit us?'Tortoise just smiled and replied, 'But you shouldn't be surprised. Did I not promise to visit you and your children? 'Mammy Hawk did not know how Tortoise had reached her nest, but she was too surprised to ask question. She had no food in the house to offer her visitor so she went out to hunt again.Tortoise waited and waited. He was very hungry indeed. After some time he could wait no longer. He caught one of the baby hawks, broke off its leg and ate that. When Mammy Hawk returned Tortoise asked, 'Why did you not tell me that one of your children was a crippled? I see that this young one has only one leg.' Mammy Hawk looked at her child which was standing like a stork on one leg! She did not say anything but she began to feel afraid.The next time Mammy Hawk went on hunting Tortoise ate the remainder of the baby hawk. When its mother returned she asked, 'Where is my other child?' And Tortoise replied, 'Is he not with you? As soon as you left he followed you. I thought that you and he had gone for a little outing together.'Mammy Hawk did not know what to do. She had invited Tortoise to visit her home so it was her duty to look after him. She went out hunting again and when she did so Tortoise ate another baby hawk. As soon she returned he told her the same story - that her baby had followed her. This time, however, Mammy Hawk was very angry. She had lost two of her babies and she knew that Tortoise was to blame. So she picked him up and flew as high as she could go. Then she dropped him, WHAM! But Tortoise has a very thick skin. The fall did not hurt him. He just got up, shook the dust off his shell and slowly walked home.And the thing to remember is that no one should ever laugh at his friends.
People value what is Theirs
A lion does not eat its own cubs.
Obstacles in Path to Success
There is no long road without corners.
Caution when not in Control
No matter how drunk a rat is he doesn't go to sleep in a cat's bed.
The rat said: "If I had not been denied food, would I be stealing it?".
When Underdogs Win
If the chicken's egg cracks the palm kernel, the grinding stone is put to shame.
A cow may refuse to give to the milking jar but it cannot refuse to contribute to the cooking pot.
Pride of Sentimental People
We're a sentimental people. We like a few kind words better than millions of dollars given in a humiliating way.
Believe in Something with Passion
It is better to die for an idea that will live than to live for an idea that will die.
However hot the sun, it will never dry the sea.
If we stand tall, it is because we stand on the backs of those who came before us.
No matter how acrobatic a masquerade may be, he trails behind the monkey.
Pets of the Rich
Rich man's dog gets more in way of medical care than do the workers upon whom the rich man's wealth is built.
Cautious of those with Reputation for Evil
When the crocodile smiles, be extra careful.
Filter Family Language
What the family talks about in the evening, the child will talk about in the morning.
Recognizing Good Things from Bad
You do not cut down the green trees when the dried ones are standing erect.
If we knew the meaning to everything that is happening to us, then there would be no meaning.
Choose your Words Wisely
Quarrels end, but words once spoken never die.
Know thy Strength
The lion does not turn around when a small dog barks.
No Need to advertise what is Good
A good thing sells itself, a bad one advertises itself.
Strength in Many
Two ants do not fail to pull one grasshopper.
Humans vs Animals
It is much easier to show compassion to animals. They are never wicked.
Women in Africa are Hardworking
If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work, then every woman in Africa would be a millionaire.
Followers feel Safe with Good Leaders
The sheep with a strong master sleeps with his tail outside the house.
Learn by Doing
You learn how to cut down trees by cutting them down.
Ideas can live Longer than People
While revolutionaries as individuals can be murdered, you cannot kill ideas.
You know Yourself Best
Only the tortoise knows what is hidden in its shell.
Strength in Numbers
Cross the river in a crowd and the crocodile won't eat you.
Inspiration of Traveling
Traveling - it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.
If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven't spent a night with a mosquito.
Wisdom from Misfortune
One who causes others misfortune also teaches them wisdom.
Love the Whole
He who loves the vase loves also what is inside.
Half education is more dangerous than no education.
Live your Life
You are either alive and proud or you are dead, and when you are dead, you can't care anyway.
Patience can achieve Great Things
Patience can cook a stone.
More Responsibilities Lead to Growth
When the elderly ones in a house travel, the younger ones quickly grow in experience.
Together is Better
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.
Death and Life
Always being in a hurry does not prevent death, neither does going slowly prevent living.
I am an African, not because I was born in Africa but because Africa is born in me.
A Letter from Madrid - A Cameroonian Student's Diary: Chapter 10
Madrid. I had come to know you and your numerous faces. Madrid of "Brother Wolf". Heavy soul sounds crashing through the hazy, smoke-filled basement with its nicotine-yellowed walls. An atmosphere of racial harmony on the dancing floor where blacks and whites dance together and leave to make love far from the car-clogged streets of the city, far from the age-beaten, graffitti-smeared benches of the dirty and stuffy amphitheatres, far from the droning monotony of teachers' voices in the dusty classrooms, far from the disapproving gazes of a scandalised and intolerant society. Madrid of "Zara" with its variety of social classes; from pipe-puffing African diplomats, to revolutionaries like Jesus Ndongo, to what Jesus took pride in calling revisionist sell-outs like Jean-Marie Mobutu, to young Spanish girls fleeing parental restrictions for amorous adventures with Africans, to much older women, heavy in years, flashing false teeth at you. Madrid of public fountains and monuments. How often did I stop at Plaza de España to marvel at the gigantic statue of the skinny Don Quijote on his skeletal horse, preparing an assault against some invisible wind-mills which might have appeared to him like devils, while his pot-bellied servant, Sancho, stared on abashed? Behind them, rise magnificent bubbles of water from fountains, so colourful and romantic at night, so graceful and sight-tickling during the day. Madrid of Cervantes, the creator of Don Quijote. Madrid of the poets: Machado, Lorca, Unamuno. Madrid of the sweet music of Pablo Cassals. Madrid of the painters: Picasso, Dali. Madrid of other numerous masters of poetic love and tenderness and creativity. Madrid of the rich cloistered in their bullet-proof cars, darting suspicious glances all over the streets. A wave of kidnapping has been making deep inroads into a world in which the rich have more than they need, while the majority loiter around street corners, noses in the air, hands thrust deep into empty pockets, listening to the ominous music of their empty intestines. Madrid of the poor; the real masters of the streets. Who bothers to kidnap drifters, bohemians, drug-addicts? Madrid of whores and pimps, owners of the infamous streets of the red light districts. Madrid of Gypsies whose horse-drawn carts block the smooth-flow of traffic, sending gold-chasing, neatly-suited men behind the steering wheels of multi-million-dollar cars, into paroxysms of fury. By their warm sides, their mistresses with long polished nails and obscenely reddish lips, wonder where the world is heading to with Gypsies daring to hamper the advance of civilisation! Madrid of faceless, ever-pressing crowds. Men and women in ever-surging crowds. Some with hearts to mend. Others with dreams fading in sorrow-licked fingers. Still others running away from shattered homes, or chasing a rival for a kill, a concealed weapon warm in their breast-pockets or handbags. Madrid: I had come to know you and your numerous faces. The more I knew you, the more I saw you were not for me. I wasn't for you either, Madrid. In vain did I search through the crowd for a reminder of my home and my people. I did not hear Mama urging me to eat. I missed my sister, Yefon, and her husband, Banka, and their children. I hear her last son can now say a few words, and that he even calls my name, wondering when I will be coming back home!! Can my sister exaggerate when she means to! My brother Litila wrote to tell me he has been appointed the First Secretary of Cameroon's embassy in Lagos and that he will be leaving in January. Basha, who has been reading computer sciences at the University of Lagos for the past one year, will surely be delighted with Litila's appointment. I long to see all of them; to be with my family again. I have also been longing to visit my father's grave again. I wish to stand over his grave, bow my head and tell him I'm back home and, this time, for good. Last, but certainly not least, I have been eager to listen to the herd-boys sing songs which the endlessly twisting, saw-toothed hills of my land echo so well. So, Madrid, you see why I have to run away from you. Life in exile is not for me, my friend. I am going back to my family, to my people, to my land, the land our forefathers bequeathed to us, unsullied.
A man in one of the villages had a very beautiful daughter. She was so lovely that people called her "Morning Sunrise." Every young man who saw her wanted to marry her. Three, in particular, were very anxious to have her for their wife. Her father found it difficult to decide among them. He determined to find out by a trick which of the three was most worthy of her.He bade her lie down on her bed as if she were dead. He then sent the report of her death to each of the three lovers, asking them to come and help him with her funeral.The messenger came first to "Wise Man." When he heard the message, he exclaimed, "What can this man mean? The girl is not my wife. I certainly will not pay any money for her funeral."The messenger came next to the second man. His name was "Wit." The latter at once said, "Oh dear, no! I shall not pay any money for her funeral expenses. Her father did not even let me know she was ill." So he refused to go."Thinker," the third young man - when he received the message - at once got ready to start. "Certainly I must go and mourn for Morning Sunrise," said he. "Had she lived, surely she would have been my wife." So he took money with him and set out for her home.When he reached it her father called out, "Morning Sunrise, Morning Sunrise. Come here. This is your true husband."That very day the betrothal took place, and soon after the wedding followed. "Thinker" and his beautiful wife lived very happily together.
Why the Lizard Continually Moves His Head Up and Down
In a town not very far from Anansi's home lived a great king. This king had three beautiful daughters, whose names were kept a secret from everybody except their own family. One day their father made a proclamation that his three daughters would be given as wives to any man who could find out their names. Anansi made up his mind to do so.He first bought a large jar of honey, and set off for the bathing-place of the king's daughters. Arrived there, he climbed to the top of a tree on which grew some very fine fruit. He picked some of this fruit and poured honey over it. When he saw the princesses approaching he dropped the fruit on the ground and waited. The girls thought the fruit dropped of its own accord, and one of them ran forward to pick it up. When she tasted it, she called out to her sisters by name to exclaim on its sweetness. Anansi dropped another, which the second princess picked up. She, in her turn, calling out the names of the other two. In this fashion Anansi found out all the names.As soon as the princesses had gone Anansi came down from the tree and hurried into the town. He went to all the great men and summoned them to a meeting at the King's palace on the morrow.He then visited his friend the Lizard, to get him to act as herald at the Court next day. He told Lizard the three names, and the latter was to sound them through his trumpet when the time came.Early next morning the King and his Court were assembled as usual. All the great men of the town appeared, as Anansi had requested. Anansi stated his business, reminding the King of his promise to give his three daughters to the man who had found out their names. The King demanded to hear the latter, whereupon Lizard sounded them on his trumpet.The King and courtiers were much surprised. His Majesty, however, could not break the promise he had made of giving his daughters to the man who named them. He accordingly gave them to Mr. Lizard. Anansi was very angry, and explained that he had told the names to Lizard, so that he ought to get at least two of the girls, while Lizard could have the third. The King refused. Anansi then begged hard for even one, but that was also refused. He went home in a very bad temper, declaring that he would be revenged on Lizard for stealing his wives away.He thought over the matter very carefully, but could not find a way of punishing Lizard. At last, however, he had an idea.He went to the King and explained that he was setting off next morning on a long journey. He wished to start very early, and so begged the King's help. The King had a fine cock, which always crowed at daybreak to waken the King if he wished to get up early. Anansi begged that the King would command the cock to crow next morning, that Anansi might be sure of getting off in time. This the King readily promised.As soon as night fell Anansi went by a back way to the cock's sleeping-place, seized the bird quickly, and killed it. He then carried it to Lizard's house, where all were in bed. There he quietly cooked the cock, placed the feathers under Lizard's bed, and put some of the flesh on a dish close to Lizard's hand. The wicked Anansi then took some boiling water and poured it into poor Lizard's mouth, thus making him dumb.When morning came, Anansi went to the King and reproached him for not letting the cock crow. The King was much surprised to hear that it had not obeyed his commands.He sent one of his servants to find and bring the cock to him, but, of course, the servant returned empty-handed. The King then ordered them to find the thief. No trace of him could be found anywhere. Anansi then cunningly said to the King: "I know Lizard is a rogue, because he stole my three wives from me. Perhaps he is the thief." Accordingly, the men went to search Lizard's house.There, of course, they found the remnants of the cock, cooked ready to eat, and his feathers under the bed. They questioned Lizard, but the poor animal was unable to reply. He could only move his head up and down helplessly. They thought he was refusing to speak, so dragged him before the King. To the King's questions he could only return the same answer, and his Majesty got very angry. He did not know that Anansi had made the poor animal dumb. Lizard tried very hard to speak, but in vain.He was accordingly judged guilty of theft, and as a punishment his wives were taken away from him and given to Anansi.Since then lizards have always had a way of moving their heads helplessly backward and forward, as if saying, "How can any one be so foolish as to trust Anansi?"
How Wisdom Became the Property of the Human Race
There once lived, in Fanti-land, a man named Father Anansi. He possessed all the wisdom in the world. People came to him daily for advice and help.One day the men of the country were unfortunate enough to offend Father Anansi, who immediately resolved to punish them. After much thought he decided that the severest penalty he could inflict would be to hide all his wisdom from them. He set to work at once to gather again all that he had already given. When he had succeeded, as he thought, in collecting it, he placed all in one great pot. This he carefully sealed, and determined to put it in a spot where no human being could reach it.Now, Father Anansi had a son, whose name was Kweku Tsin. This boy began to suspect his father of some secret design, so he made up his mind to watch carefully. Next day he saw his father quietly slip out of the house, with his precious pot hung round his neck. Kweku Tsin followed. Father Anansi went through the forest till he had left the village far behind. Then, selecting the highest and most inaccessible-looking tree, he began to climb. The heavy pot, hanging in front of him, made his ascent almost impossible. Again and again he tried to reach the top of the tree, where he intended to hang the pot. There, he thought, Wisdom would indeed be beyond the reach of every one but himself. He was unable, however, to carry out his desire. At each trial the potswung in his way.For some time Kweku Tsin watched his father's vain attempts. At last, unable to contain himself any longer, he cried out: "Father, why do you not hang the pot on your back? Then you could easily climb the tree."Father Anansi turned and said: "I thought I had all the world's wisdom in this pot. But I find you possess more than I do. All my wisdom was insufficient to show me what to do, yet you have been able to tell me." In his anger he threw the pot down. It struck on a great rock and broke. The wisdom contained in it escaped and spread throughout the world.
Tit for Tat
There had been a great famine in the land for many months. Meat had become so scarce that only the rich chiefs had money enough to buy it. The poor people were starving. Anansi and his family were in a miserable state.One day, Anansi's eldest son, Kweku Tsin, to his great joy, discovered a place in the forest where there were still many animals. Knowing his father's wicked ways, Kweku told him nothing of the matter. Anansi, however, speedily discovered that Kweku was returning loaded, day after day, to the village. There he was able to sell the meat at a good price to the hungry villagers. Anansi immediately wanted to know the secret, but his son wisely refused to tell him. The old man determined to find out by a trick.Slipping into his son's room one night, when he was fast asleep, he cut a tiny hole in the corner of the bag which Kweku always carried into the forest. Anansi then put a quantity of ashes into the bag and replaced it where he had found it.Next morning, as Kweku set out for the forest, he threw the bag, as usual, over his shoulder. Unknown to him, at each step, the ashes were sprinkled on the ground. Consequently, when Anansi set out an hour later he was easily able to follow his son by means of the trail of ashes. He, too, arrived at the animals' home in the forest, and found Kweku there before him. He immediately drove his son away, saying that, by the law of the land, the place belonged to him. Kweku saw how he had been tricked, and determined to have the meat back.He accordingly went home, made a tiny image and hung little bells round its neck. He then tied a long thread to its head and returned toward the hunting-place.When about half-way there, he hung the image to a branch of a tree in the path, and hid himself in the bushes near by, holding the other end of the thread in his hand.The greedy father, in the meantime, had killed as many animals as he could find, being determined to become rich as speedily as possible. He then skinned them and prepared the flesh to carry it to the neighbouring villages to sell. Taking the first load, he set off for his own village. Half-way there, he came to the place where the image hung in the way. Thinking this was one of the gods, he stopped. As he approached, the image began to shake its head vigorously at him. He felt that this meant that the gods were angry. To please them, he said to the image, "May I give you a little of this meat?" Again the image shook its head. "May I give you half of this meat?" he then inquired. The head shook once more. "Do you want the whole of this meat?" he shouted fiercely. This time the head nodded, as if the image were well pleased. "I will not give you all my meat," Anansi cried. At this the image shook in every limb as if in a terrible temper. Anansi was so frightened that he threw the whole load on the ground and ran away. As he ran, he called back, "To-morrow I shall go to Ekubon. You will not be able to take my meat from me there, you thief."But Kweku had heard where his father intended to go next day, and set the image in his path as before. Again Anansi was obliged to leave his whole load, and again he called out the name of the place where he would go the following day.The same thing occurred, day after day, till all the animals in the wood were killed. By this time, Kweku Tsin had become very rich, but his father Anansi was still very poor. He was obliged to go to Kweku's house every day for food.When the famine was over, Kweku gave a great feast and invited the entire village. While all were gathered together, Kweku told the story of his father's cunning and how it had been overcome. This caused great merriment among the villagers. Anansi was so ashamed that he readily promised Kweku to refrain from his evil tricks for the future. This promise, however, he did not keep long.
The Lion and the Wolf
A certain old lady had a very fine flock of sheep. She had fed and cared for them so well that they became famous for their fatness. In time a wicked wolf heard of them and determined to eat them.Night after night he went up to the old dame's cottage and killed a sheep. The poor woman tried her best to save her animals from harm - but failed.At last there was only one sheep left of all the flock. Their owner was very sad. She feared that it, too, would be taken away from her, in spite of all she could do. While she was grieving over the thought of this, a lion came to her village.Seeing her sad face, he asked the reason of it. She soon told him all about it. He thereupon offered to do his best to punish the wicked wolf. He himself went to the place where the sheep was generally kept - while the latter was removed to another place.In the meantime the wolf was on his way to the cottage. As he came he met a fox. The fox was somewhat afraid of him and prepared to run away. The wolf, however, told him where he was going, and invited him to go too. The fox agreed and the two set off together. They arrived at the cottage and went straight to the place where the sheep generally slept. The wolf at once rushed upon the animal, while Fox waited a little behind. Just as Fox was deciding to enter and help Wolf there came a bright flash of lightning. By the light of it the fox could see that the wolf was attacking - not a sheep - but a lion. He hastily ran away, shouting as he went: "Look at his face! Look at his face!"During the flash Wolf did look at the pretended sheep. To his dismay he found he had made a great mistake. At once he began to make humble apologies- but all in vain. Lion refused to listen to any of his explanations, and speedily put him to death.
The Hunter and the Tortoise
A village hunter had one day gone farther afield than usual. Coming to a part of the forest with which he was unacquainted, he was astonished to hear a voice singing. He listened.When the little song was finished, the hunter peeped through the branches to see who the singer could be. Imagine his amazement when he found it was none other than a tortoise, with a tiny harp slung in front of her. The singing was accompanied by sweet music - which entirely charmed the hunter's "It is man who forces himself on things,Not things which force themselves on him."heart.Never had he seen such a marvellous thing.Time after time he returned to the same place in order to listen to this wonderful creature. At last he persuaded her to let him carry her back to his hut, that he might enjoy her singing daily in comfort. This she permitted, only on the understanding that she sang to him alone.The hunter did not rest long content with this arrangement, however. Soon he began to wish that he could showoff this wonderful tortoise to all the world, and thereby thought he would gain great honour. He told thesecret, first to one, then to another, until finally it reached the ears of the chief himself. The hunter was commanded to come and tell his tale before the Assembly. When, however, he described thetortoise who sang and played on, the harp, the people shouted in scorn. They refused to believe him.At last he said, "If I do not speak truth, I give you leave to kill me. To-morrow I will bring the tortoise tothis place and you may all hear her. If she cannot do as I say, I am willing to die." "Good," replied thepeople, "and if the tortoise can do as you say, we give you leave to punish us in any way you choose."The matter being then settled, the hunter returned home, well pleased with the prospect. As soon as the morrowdawned, he carried tortoise and harp down to the Assembly Place where a table had been placed ready forher. Every one gathered round to listen. But no song came. The people were very patient, and quite willing togive both tortoise and hunter a chance. Hours went by, and, to the hunter's dismay and shame, the tortoiseremained mute. He tried every means in his power to coax her to sing, but in vain. The people at firstwhispered, then spoke outright, in scorn of the boaster and his claims.Night came on and brought with it the hunter's doom. As the last ray of the setting sun faded, he was beheaded. The instant this had happened thetortoise spoke. The people looked at one another in troubled wonder: "Our brother spoke truth, then, and wehave killed him." The tortoise, however, went on to explain. "He brought his punishment on himself. I led ahappy life in the forest, singing my little song. He was not content to come and listen to me, He had to tellmy secret (which did not at all concern him) to all the world. Had he not tried to make a show of me thiswould never have happened."
Why the Cheetah's Cheeks Are Stained
Long ago a wicked and lazy hunter was sitting under a tree. He was thinking that it was too hot to be bothered with the arduous task of stalking prey through the bushes. Below him in the clearing on the grassy veld there were fat springbok grazing. But this hunter couldn't be bothered, so lazy was he! He gazed at the herd, wishing that he could have the meat without the work, when suddenly he noticed a movement off to the left of the buck. It was a female cheetah seeking food. Keeping downwind of the herd, she moved closer and closer to them. She singled out a springbok who had foolishly wandered away from the rest. Suddenly she gathered her long legs under her and sprang forward. With great speed she came upon the springbok and brought it down. Startled, the rest of the herd raced away as the cheetahquickly killed her prey.The hunter watched as the cheetah dragged her prize to some shade on theedge of the clearing. There three beautiful cheetah cubs were waiting there for her. The lazy hunter was filled with envy for the cubs and wished that he could have such a good hunter provide for him. Imagine dining on delicious meat every day without having to do the actual hunting! Then he had a wicked idea. He decided that he would steal one of the cheetah cubs and train it to hunt for him. He decided to wait until the mother cheetah went to the waterhole late in the afternoon to make his move. He smiled to himself.When the sun began to set, the cheetah left her cubs concealed in a bush and set off to the waterhole. Quickly the hunter grabbed his spear and trotted down to the bushes where the cubs were hidden. There he found the three cubs, still to young to be frightened of him or to run away. He first chose one, then decided upon another, and then changed his mind again. Finally he stole them all, thinking to himself that three cheetahs would undoubtedly be better than one.When their mother returned half-an-hour later and found her babies gone, she was broken-hearted. The poor mother cheetah cried and cried until her tears made dark stains down her cheeks. She wept all night and into the next day. She cried so loudly that she was heard by an old man who came to see what the noise was all about.Now this old man was wise and knew the ways of the animals. When hediscovered what the wicked hunter had done, he became very angry. The lazy hunter was not only a thief, he had broken the traditions of the tribe. Everyone knew that a hunter must use only his own strength and skill. Any other way of hunting was surely a dishonour.The old man returned to the village and told the elders what has happened. The villagers became angry. They found the lazy hunter and drove him away from the village. The old man took the three cheetah cubs back to their grateful mother. But the long weeping of the mother cheetah stained her face forever. Today the cheetah wears the tearstains on its face as a reminder to the hunters that it is not honourable to hunt in any other way than that which is traditional.
The Gone Forever Tree
"Faster! Faster!" cried the lion. "I must run even faster! Those wild dogs are right behind me."The dogs chased the lion throughout the long, long day. Over rocks, through streams, into the bush, and along the trails. The poor lion had no chance to rest. It seemed that at every turn he made, another one of those wild dogs waited for him.Finally, he made a small break from the dogs. And, just at that moment, he saw a man sitting under a large tree."Please, sir, can you help me?" begged the terrified lion. "I've been chased by these wild dogs all day long. I'm so tired I can hardly take another step.""Quickly, get behind the tree," instructed the man. "I'll send the dogs off in another direction. Hurry now, I can hear them approaching!"Just as the lion settled himself behind the tree, the pack of wild dogs dashed out of the bush. One of the dogs asked the man, "Have you seen a lion pass by here?""Yes!" cried the man. "He ran off towards the hill over there. I'm sure you can get him if you hurry. He looked very tired.""Thank you," howled the dogs as they dashed off towards the hill."My pleasure to help you," chuckled the man to himself."With the pack of dogs off his trail, the lion's courage was renewed. He sprang from behind the tree and grabbed the man in his huge paws."What are you doing?" cried the man."It should be obvious," replied the lion. "I'm going to eat you.""But I just saved your life!" protested the man."Yes, and I appreciate it," answered the lion. "But, I'm very hungry. I'm much too tired to hunt for food elsewhere when you are right here and in my grasp.""You can't do this!" insisted the man."Oh, but I can! And, I will," snarled the lion.At that moment, Hare came down the trail. He looked at the two arguing and asked, "What seems to be the problem?"As fast as possible, the man explained the situation to the hare.Hare smiled and said, "I know how to solve this matter if you will trust me. Man, I need a stick from the Gone-Forever-Tree. Will you please go get one for me?"The man went into the bush for the stick. But, he'd never heard of that particular tree before. So, he returned with a stick from the mophane tree."No, no, no, Man, this is not what I want at all," the hare cried. "I meant it when I said I want a stick from the Gone-Forever-Tree."Once again the man set off into the bush to find the stick for Hare. But, he still never heard of the tree that Hare talked about. So, he returned with a stick from the mokgalo tree."You aren't listening to me, Man. I need a stick from the Gone-Forever-Tree. If you can't find that one, then a stick from the Never-Come-Back Tree will do," instructed Hare.One more time the man set off into the bush looking for the stick that Hare wanted. However, he'd never heard of either of those trees. So, he returned with a stick from the moana tree."Hare sighed, "Lion, this silly human doesn't know how to follow simple instructions like you and I can. I'm going to have to go show him where the Gone-Forever-Tree is located. Do you mind?""It's not a problem," assured Lion. "I'd go with you but I'm just too tired."So, Hare went off into the bush to show the man where he could find the Gone-Forever-Tree.Lion waited, and waited, and waited, and waited. He waited but the two never returned.They had gone forever!
Curse vs Praise to Fool
When a fool is cursed, he thinks he is being praised.
One Step at a Time
She who does not yet know how to walk, cannot climb a ladder.
Advise and counsel him; if he does not listen, let adversity teach him.
Shame and Honor go Hand in Hand
Where there is no shame, there is no honor.
Acknowledge Weaknesses before Strengthening them
He who conceals his disease cannot expect to be cured.
Being the Bigger Person
If you offend, ask for pardon; if offended, forgive.
A cat may go to a monastery, but she still remains a cat!.
If relatives help each other, what evil can hurt them?.
Hurt by my Creation
The dog I bought, bit me; the fire I kindled, burned me.
Remove Trouble for Peace
A loose tooth will not rest until it's pulled out.
A partner in the business will not put an obstacle to it.
Absence of Gratitude
One who recovers from sickness, forgets about God.
Evil Creeps in
Evil enters like a needle and spreads like an oak tree.
You get what you put in
The cattle is as good as the pasture in which it grazes.
Opportunities have Clues
A fool looks for dung where the cow never browsed.
To one who does not know, a small garden is a forest.
Overvalued Things don't Last
What is inflated too much, will burst into fragments.
Value of Knowledge
Knowledge is better than riches.
Bad Deeds can be Loud
If you burn a house, can you conceal the smoke?.
Greed blurs Focus
He who hunts two rats, catches none.
The humble pay for the mistakes of their betters.
No matter how long a log stays in the water, it doesn't become a crocodile.
Dispute is Inevitable
If you tell people to live together, you tell them to quarrel.
Nobody is Perfect
He, who is free of faults, will never die.
Respect those who provide for you
When the bee comes to your house, let her have beer; you may want to visit the bee's house some day.
Strength and Tone with Age
Man is like palm-wine: when young, sweet but without strength; in old age, strong but harsh.
Inability to Compromise is a Loss for Both
Two birds disputed about a kernel, when a third swooped down and carried it off.
A pretty basket does not prevent worries.
Meekness is Good
A little subtleness is better than a lot of force.
Age & Experience
You do not teach the paths of the forest to an old gorilla.
Patience and Consistency
Little by little grow the bananas.
Appearance vs Reality
Being well dressed does not prevent one from being poor.
Words that Seem Insignificant
Great events may stem from words of no importance.
The teeth are smiling, but is the heart?.
The Blessing of Children
Children are the reward of life.
What is said over the dead lion's body could not be said to him alive.
Love is like a baby: it needs to be treated tenderly.
Humility will Earn you
Lower your head modestly while passing, and you will harvest bananas.
Knowing your Priorities
If your house is burning, there is not time to go hunting.
Be Informed and Alert
A hippopotamus can be made invisible in dark water.
Beware of those who Hate you
Rats don't dance in the cat's doorway.
Survival of the Fittest
Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.
Luxury Encourages Idleness
A big blanket encourages sleeping in the morning.
Experience is best Teacher
Only a knife knows what the inside of a coco-yam looks like.
Chanting Victory before the Game is Over
Don't insult the crocodile until you cross the water.
Talking doesn't fill the basket in the farm.
Dangers of Copying
Copying everybody else all the time, the monkey one day cut his own throat.
Gambling for more is Dangerous
Greed loses what it has gained.
Trust in your Little Strength
If you can walk, you can dance; If you can talk, you can sing.
It is the soil that knows that the mouse's baby is ill.
Bear what is yours
An elephant's tusks are never too heavy for it.
Learning by Immersion
If a monkey is amongst dogs, why won't it start barking?.
Cutting down Banana Tree
No sane person sharpens his machete to cut a banana tree.
Choices and Consequences
If you don't wish to have rags for clothes, don't play with a dog.
Circle of Life
Many births mean many burials.
Those who get to the river early drink the cleanest water.
Things as they are
Rat no dey born rabbit.
A man does not wander far from where his corn is roasting.
Beware of how One treats Family
If crocodiles eat their own eggs what would they do to the flesh of a frog.
Know thy Competition
Fowls will not spare a cockroach that falls in their midst.
Pick your Battles
One should never rub bottoms with a porcupine.
Confidence is Revealing
If a blind man says lets throw stones, be assured that he has stepped on one.
No One is Infallible
Even the mightiest eagle comes down to the tree tops to rest.
Some make it, Others don't
If all seeds that fall were to grow, then no one could follow the path under the trees.
Focus vs Distractions
The hunter in pursuit of an elephant does not stop to throw stones at birds.
The hunter does not rub himself in oil and lie by the fire to sleep.
The frog does not jump in the daytime without reason.
The disobedient fowl obeys in a pot of soup.
Loudness doesn't mean Success
The bullet that doesn't hit (anything) still makes a noise.
A beautiful thing is never perfect.
Power Reveals Character
Honorable is the person who is aware of his power, yet refrains from inflicting bad things onto others.
Patience for Battle
If the fight is tomorrow, then why should you clench your fist today?.
If everyone is going to dance, then who will watch?.
Accepting things that wont Change
No matter how fast a man is, he cannot outrun his shadow.
Deception can only go for so Long
Lying can get you a wife, but it won't keep her.
Practice makes Perfect
By trying repeatedly, the monkey learns how to jump from the tree.
Hunger brings out Character
You can learn a lot about someone by observing him when he is hungry.
Consistent Contribution yields Rewards
Little by little, a little becomes a lot.
Make Peace with Yourself
You can outrun what is running after you, but not what is running inside of you.
The zebra told the white horse, "I am white," and told the black horse, "I am actually black.".
Work for Reward
No matter how much milk a cow has, you cannot milk butter from it.
Sensitivity to Others' Failures
When the hunter returns and is holding mushrooms, don't ask him about how his hunt went.
Self Love First
Heal yourself first before you heal others.
Stand up for Yourself
If you are too modest, then you will go hungry.
One Short Coming is not a Tragedy
A day of hunger is not starvation.
A man with too much ambition cannot sleep in peace.
Weighing all Options
If you have not been to two different bazaars, then you do not know what the best value is.
Feelings about Indecision
Indecision is like a step child: if he doesn't wash his hands, then he is called dirty; but if he washes his hands, then he is wasting water!.
The person who rides a donkey cannot avoid smelling its farts.
Strategy for Action
A weapon that you don't have in your hand will not kill a snake.
Fear can inspire Action
Anxiety will not let you die of hunger.
Knowing the Right Quantity
Three things that a man must know to survive: what is too much for him, what is too little, and what is fitting.
The sun shines on those who are standing before it shines on the people kneeling under them.
Practice makes Perfect
Repetition is the mother of knowledge.
Children Learn from Adults
Honor a child, and he will honor you.
Do something at its (right) time, and peace will accompany it.
Travel opens our Eyes
He who has not traveled widely thinks that his mother is the best cook.
Center of Operations
When the heart acts, the body is its slave.
Tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.
Passion drives Innovation
Send a boy where he wishes to go, and you will see his best pace.
What is to come will come
Do not rush the night - the sun will always rise for its own sake.
Learn by Copying
When you follow in the path of your father, you learn to walk like him.
Rich vs Poor
When you are rich, you are hated; when you are poor, you are despised.
I Guess Everyone is a Fool at Somepoint
When the fool is told a proverb, its meaning has to be explained to him.
Avoid Putting yourself at Risk
When the cock is drunk, he forgets about the hawk.
When a woman is hungry, she says, "Roast something for the children that they might eat.".
When a man is wealthy, he may wear an old cloth.
Lean on your Entourage
When a king has good counselors, his reign is peaceful.
Always be Thankful
What is bad luck for one man is good luck for another.
Strength in Numbers
Two small antelopes can beat a big one.
Hatred is Bad for the Hater
There is no medicine to cure hatred.
Inspiration begins from Home
The ruin of a nation begins in the homes of its people.
The poor man and the rich man do not play together.
The moon moves slowly, but it crosses the town.
Start Building Wealth Frugally
One cannot both feast and become rich.
Money can do more Harm
Money is sharper than a sword.
It's a bad child who does not take advice.
Learn from Mistakes and Prevent them
It is the fool's sheep that break loose twice.
Avoid Underestimating Obstacles
It is the calm and silent water that drowns a man.
It is no shame at all to work for money.
It is Mr. Old-Man-Monkey who marries Mrs. Old-Woman-Monkey.
Identifying bad Strategies
If you are in hiding, don't light a fire.
We are all Humans
Hunger is felt by a slave and hunger is felt by a king.
Fire and gunpowder do not sleep together.
Strength, Age, and Death
Even though the old man is strong and hearty, he will not live forever.
Don't Insult what Helps you
Do not call the forest that shelters you a jungle.
By the time the fool has learned the game, the players have dispersed.
Matyrs of Uganda
Christian missionaries, both Catholic and Anglican, arrived in the interior of Africa during the late nineteenth century. The first of the Catholic missions was established by the White Fathers, a missionary society founded by the French cardinal Charles Lavigerie, the archbishop of Algiers and Carthage. (The White Fathers took their name not from the color of their skin but from the color of their long tunic.) As early as 1878, when he was asked by Pope Leo XIII to take charge of the missions in equatorial Africa, Lavigerie began a series of annual caravan journeys to central Africa as part of the Catholic evangelization of the area. The next year, a Catholic mission was founded in what is now Uganda.The largest and most powerful of the local ethnic groups was the Baganda, a group in which European missionaries took particular interest. Edward Rice (a friend, incidentally, of Thomas Merton) offers an overview of the importance of the region and the Baganda people in his book Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton, a biography of the Victorian explorer and linguist. Rice recounts that the Baganda were among the richest and most advanced tribes in central Africa. Moreover, they "bore a certain patina of civilization that was to astound Europeans later, with well-organized bureaucracies, statesmanship of a superior order, finely developed arts and architecture, and unusual handicrafts." Yet the civilization also had a dark side, according to Rice, with both rulers and subjects having the reputation of being "unnaturally cruel."Mutesa, the ruler of the Baganda, exemplified this cruel streak. When he took the throne in 1860, to ensure his own political survival he buried his brothers alive-all sixty of them. Yet he adopted a more or less benign approach to the Christian missionaries. (Butler's Lives of the Saints calls him a "not unfriendly ruler.") In essence, Mutesa allowed his subjects to choose among any of the faiths being imported into his kingdom-Catholic, Protestant, or Muslim. In turn, each group attempted to assert its influence on the king's court through the conversion of high-ranking officials. Mutesa, however, pointedly did not choose any one creed. In 1884 he died, still adhering to the local traditional religions.Conversion to Christianity among the Baganda meant a rejection of the traditional religions. It also implied a setting aside of some of the traditional ways of life, an adherence to a new set of moral and religious standards, and, often, the establishment of a new set of alliances, based on religious belief. As a result, the group of new believers (called abasomi, or readers) came to be regarded with suspicion by other Baganda as a dangerous rebel faction. During the reign of Mutesa, however, these suspicions were kept under check.With the accession of his son, Mwanga, the situation altered dramatically. As a young man, Mwanga had shown some favor to the Christian missionaries, but his attitude changed as soon as he took the throne. According to tradition, the kabaka was the center of all authority and power in the kingdom, and he could use his subjects as he wished. But the presence of the missionaries was severely diminishing his authority among the converts. Mwanga was also a practicing pedophile, and upon discovering that the young men who had converted to Christianity were beginning to reject his sexual advances, he grew enraged. As a result, the king sought to eliminate Christianity from his kingdom and began a violent persecution of the missionaries and the new Christians.In January of 1885, Mwanga had three Baganda Anglicans- Joseph Rugarama, Mark Kakumba, and Noah Serwanga- dismembered and their bodies burned. In October of that same year the newly arrived Anglican bishop, James Hannington, was murdered along with his caravan on their way to the region. In response, Joseph Mukasa, a senior adviser to the kabaka and a recent Catholic convert, reproached Mwanga for executing Bishop Hannington without having offered him the customary opportunity to defend himself. Mwanga, furious at what he saw as Mukasa's insolence, had him beheaded on November 15, 1885. Mukasa became the first of the black Catholic martyrs on the continent.Among those now in obvious danger was the head of the royal pages, Charles Lwanga, who had been instructed in Christianity by the White Fathers and who was now Mukasa's successor in guiding the young converts. The day of Joseph Mukasa's death, Lwanga went to the Catholic mission with other catechumens (those who were receiving religious instruction), and together with them he was baptized by Simeon Lourdel, one of the White Fathers. Among the pages was Kizito, age fourteen.Their saga is retold by a current-day White Father, Aylward Shorter, of the Catholic University of East Africa, in Nairobi. (Today this order has reverted back to its official name, Missionaries of Africa.) According to Fr. Shorter, the next day the pages were summoned into the royal court by the enraged kabaka. The king had learned that one of the young pages in his court, Mwafu, had been receiving religious instruction from another page, Denis Sebuggwawo. The king demanded that the pages confess their allegiance. All but three of the Catholic and Anglican pages did so. Mwanga, apparently baffled by this solidarity, put off their executions. At one point Charles Lwanga-echoing the stance of another, earlier, martyr, St. Thomas More-stated his allegiance to the kingdom of Buganda, declaring his willingness to lay down his life for the king. He would not, however, abjure his faith.In February, a fire in the royal palace impelled Mwanga to move his court to a lodge on the banks of Lake Victoria. While there, Charles Lwanga protected several of the pages against the king's violent sexual advances. Mwanga by this point had already obtained the consent from his chiefs to kill the Baganda Christians. Around this time, Lwanga secretly baptized five of the catechumens.On May 26, the pages were called into the royal courtyard to hear their fate. From this point on, the story of the Ugandan martyrs closely resembles those of the early Christians. Fr. Lourdel, who had repeatedly pleaded for an audience with the king, was an unwilling witness. All of the men declared that they were prepared to remain Christians until death. In the end, Mwanga decreed that all of them-sixteen Catholics and ten Anglicans-be marched to Namugongo, eight miles away, where they would be burned. On their way to execution, bound by ropes and shackles, they were marched past Fr. Lourdel, who would later attest to their remarkably calm disposition.They were marched to Namugongo, where, bound with ropes, shackles, iron rings, and slave yokes, they waited for one week. During that time the martyrs prayed and sang hymns; the Catholics among them recited morning and evening prayers, grace before and after meals, as well as the Angelus and the rosary, in preparation for their deaths. On June 3, before the execution of the rest of the young men, Charles Lwanga was put to death by the king's men. He was wrapped tightly in a reed mat, a yoke was hung on his neck, and he was thrown onto a pyre. Taunting his executioners, Charles is said to have shouted, "You are burning me, but it is as if you are pouring water over my body!" Before he died he cried out, "Katonda," or "My God."His companions were killed in the same gruesome fashion. Aylward Shorter writes, "As the flames rose, their voices could be heard praying and encouraging one another." The last words of the young Kizito were "Good-bye, friends. We are on our way."In all, forty-five Christians were martyred at Namugongo: twenty-two Catholics and twenty-three Anglicans.Again the story brings to mind the tales of the early Christian martyrs and recalls a quote from the third-century Christian writer Tertullian: "As often as we are mown down by you, the more we grow in numbers; the blood of Christians is the seed." For after the White Fathers were expelled from the region, the Baganda Christians continued with the process of evangelization, translating the catechism into Luganda, offering secret instruction in the faith, and encouraging one another to persevere. Upon their return after Mwanga's death, the White Fathers discovered five hundred Christians and more than a thousand catechumens awaiting further instruction.In 1964, Pope Paul VI canonized all twenty-two of the Catholic martyrs. Five years later, as the first pope to visit sub-Saharan Africa, he laid the foundation stone of the shrine to be built in Namugongo in honor of St. Charles Lwanga and his companions. The shrine was completed in 1975, on June 3, now the feast day of the Ugandan martyrs.
President Nyerere Disguises Himself as a Beggar
In 1974 Tanzania had a serious famine. The government provided famine relief, but the food was not getting to the people who complained to the authorities. The President of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere, heard about the complaints and decided to visit all the storehouses of the National Milling Company (NMC) where the food was being kept. One day Nyerere visited the NMC in Shinyanga. He disguised himself as a beggar wearing worn out clothes and an old hat. When he arrived at the gate of the NMC no one recognized him. He passed through the gate without permission and went straight to the office of the manager. He knocked on the door and yelled out, "Hey, you people in there. Help me. I don't have any food." The manager answered, "Stop bothering us, old man. We don't have any food here. Go to the market and buy some for yourself." As the African proverb says: A satisfied person does not know the hungry person. Nyerere continued to cry out, but no one paid any attention. The manager and his assistants were busy with some local business men who were buying the famine relief food that was supposed to go to the Tanzanian people. Finally Nyerere opened the door and walked into the office. He immediately took off his hat and made himself known. Needless to say, the manager was speechless. After President Nyerere returned to Dar es Salaam, it was announced that the manager of the NMC in Shinyanga had been fired together with some of his assistants.
A satisfied person does not know the hungry person.
A Little Knowledge Is a Dangerous Thing
During the colonial period in Kenya there were three Kikuyu men Kioi, Githogori and Kaminju who thought that they knew everything. They decided to go to adult education classes to learn English. When they went to the school they carried with them books and pencils and put them on a table. When the tutor came he asked them, "Who put these items here?" They said in the Kikuyu language ni ithuii atatu. The tutor told them that to say this in English they should say we three. They learned these words and went home. The following day the tutor found they had sharpened their pencils very badly "like sugarcanes" and asked them, "What did you use to sharpen the pencils?" They said in Kikuyu na banga. He told them that to say this in English they should say with a panga or knife. They went home and came back the following day. But the tutor told them that he would not teach them until they come back with school fees, that the classes were not free. He sent them away and told them if they were asked why they were sent away they should say it was because of money.As they walked home they feared that they might forget what they had learned so they decided to assign the three phrases they had learned so far - we three, with a panga or knife and because of money - to the three of them respectively, that is, to Kioi, Githogori and Kaminju. As they were going home they came upon the body of a man who had just been killed so they started looking around the scene.As they were looking around a colonial policeman arrived in a car, saw the dead man and asked, "Who killed him?" Kioi replied, "We three." The policeman asked, "With what?" Githogori replied, "With a panga or knife." The policeman asked further, "Why?" Kaminju replied, "Because of money." Now the three Kikuyu men thought that they knew English quite well and were eager and happy to speak with a white man. But they were immediately handcuffed and landed in jail. So the English proverb, A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
The Sukuma Bishop Who Was Sent By His Worker
There is a popular Swahili saying that is translated "To be called is to be sent." Another version is "We are called. We are sent." This African saying is used in instructing the newly baptized adult Christians during the liturgy on Holy Saturday night and applies to all of us. We are called first to be disciples of Jesus Christ. Then we are sent as apostles. This spirit of being sent in mission is reflected in the missionary characteristic of humility as portrayed in the Sukuma proverb "Even an elephant (that is, an important person) can be sent." This African proverb uses the symbol of the elephant, the largest and strongest animal, to teach missionary humility and service. The use of this proverb in an African context is seen in the true Tanzanian story "The Sukuma Bishop Who Was Sent By His Worker:"One day a Sukuma bishop in Tanzania prepared to go on a safari to a distant parish in his diocese. One of the workers on the compound of the bishop's residence wanted to send a package to a friend who lived in the very place where the bishop was going. Before asking help from the bishop, he used the Sukuma proverb "Even an elephant (that is, an important person) can be sent." Realizing the wisdom of this proverb, the bishop immediately agreed to take the package.The amazing, the almost unbelievable, news of Christianity is that even God was sent. In fact, God sent God. God the Father sent the most important person, the greatest person - Jesus Christ his beloved son - to redeem humankind. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life" (John 3:16). Yet Jesus "humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death - even death on a cross" (Philippians 2:8). We try to imitate Christ in humility and service.
We Wanted to be like Them
A striking story tells about one remote area in western Sudan. Expatriate missionaries, especially priests, Brothers and Sisters, had labored there for many years with few visible results.Then expatriate lay missionaries - married and single - came to that area, and soon many Sudanese people become Catholics.A Sudanese elder explained: "When we saw the priests and Sisters living separately and alone we didn't want to be like them. But when we saw Catholic families - men, women and children - living happily together, we wanted to be like them." In our family oriented African society married, missionary couples with children have a powerful and unique witness and credibility.
You're not a White Man; You're our Father
A touching story is told about an expatriate missionary priest who lived for a long time in a remote part of Tanzania. He lived alone, a single white man among his African flock.One day a British government official arrived on a tour of the area. All the African children ran out to welcome the visitor. They clapped and danced.After the official left, the children excitedly told the missionary priest, "We saw a white man! We saw a white man!"A few children said that the visitor was the first foreigner they had ever seen. The priest was amazed and exclaimed, "But I'm a white man. I'm a foreigner. I've been living here with you all these years."One of the children said, "You're not a white man; you're our Father."
Delicacy of Marriage
Marriage is not a tight knot, but a slip knot.
Love Alerts you
One who loves you, warns you.
Bonding through Talking
Talking with one another is loving one another.
He was entrapped by the evening, it has cost him his marriage.
Men, be Secure
The man that won't marry a woman with other admirers won't marry a woman at all.
Both Man and Woman are Important
The man may be the head of the home but the wife is the heart.
Many Marry for Money
If money grew on trees, many people would be married to monkeys.
Advice from Successful People is Better
A woman who is not successful in her own marriage has no advice to give to her younger generations.
Marriage is Better
It is better to be married to an old lady than to remain unmarried.
Its Easier to find Good wife than Good In-Laws
A good wife is easy to find, but suitable in-laws are rare.
Knowing the Perfect Marriage
A woman who has not been twice married cannot know what a perfect marriage is.
He who marries a beauty marries trouble.
How gently glides the married life away, when she who rules still seems but to obey.
If there were no cold Friday evenings and boring Saturdays, no one would get married any more.
Couples that Love Irrespective of Fights
The buttocks are like a married couple though there is constant friction between them; they will still love and live together.
Can you Protect your Grapes from Others?
One who plants grapes by the road side, and one who marries a pretty woman, share the same problem.
Travel to Marry Outside your Relatives
If you do not travel, you will marry your own sister.
Beauty is not a Measure of Marital Success
Having beauty doesn't mean understanding the perseverance of marriage.
Money could come and go
If you marry a monkey for his wealth, the money goes and the monkey remains as is.
Habits start from Home
It is the habit that a child forms at home, that follows them to their marriage.
Goodness of Marriage
A man without a wife is like a vase without flowers.
A bird can be guarded, a wife can't.
Bread without sauce and a home without a wife are meaningless.
Learning the Ropes
A young wife tends to cook too much at first.
He who doesn't like chattering women must stay a bachelor.
The one who loves an unsightly person is the one who makes him beautiful.
Love accepts Imperfections
He who loves you, loves you with your dirt.
Love is Blind to Appearance
Love doesn't rely on physical features.
Actions Speak Louder
Love has to be shown by deeds not words.
Words of Love
A letter from the heart can be read on the face.
The house of a person we love is never far.
To be smiled at isn't to be loved.
Love is Forgiving
People who love one another do not dwell on each other's mistakes.
Love put the eaglet out of its nest.
When she Loves you
If a woman doesn't love you, she calls you brother.
Love doesn't listen to rumors.
Love is Sharing
One doesn't love another, if one doesn't accept anything from her.
Love should not be Difficult
The way to the beloved isn't thorny.
Love over Fear
It is better to be loved than feared.
Where there is love there is no darkness.
Is it True Love?
Dogs don't love people, they love the place where they are fed.
Experience makes you Better
Wood already touched by fire isn't hard to set alight.
Appreciating Sacrifice of Helpers
He who is carried on another's back does not appreciate how far off the town is.
God conceals himself from the mind of man, but reveals himself to his heart.
Age is a Blessing
Everybody has been young before, but not everybody has been old before.
Pick your Battles Wisely
Do not try to fight a lion if you are not one yourself.
A fool and water will go the way they are diverted.
What we want to give our Children
We desire to bequeath two things to our children; the first one is roots, the other one is wings.
Do you Adapt?
If you are building a house and a nail breaks, do you stop building or do you change the nail?
He who Makes a Mistake knows the Cost
He who burns down his house knows why ashes cost a fortune.
Love of One's Craft
Even as the archer loves the arrow that flies, so too he loves the bow that remains constant in his hands.
Consequence of Missing Parent Figure
An orphaned calf licks its own back.
Anger and Madness Hand in Hand
Anger and madness are brothers.
Tackling Problem Head on
One who bathes willingly with cold water doesn't feel the cold.
Challenge reveals Talent
It is crooked wood that shows the best sculptor.
Why Birds Sing
Birds sing not because they have answers but because they have songs.
A Village raises a Child
A child is a child of everyone.
Slander by the stream will be heard by the frogs.
Nothing Stands with Bad Foundation
When the roots of a tree begin to decay, it spreads death to the branches.
Made up Excuses
He who is unable to dance says that the yard is stony.
Where you will sit when you are old shows where you stood in youth.
Having Tools is not Enough
Even the best cooking pot will not produce food.
The worlds of the elders do not lock all the doors; they leave the right door open.
All can Eat
The food which is prepared has no master.
Acting According to your Responsibilities
If you carry the egg basket do not dance.
The Youth Learn from Elders
The young bird does not crow until it hears the old ones.
Type of People around you
An intelligent enemy is better than a stupid friend.
Effect of causing Trouble to Others
A doctor who invoked a storm on his people cannot prevent his house from destruction.
Focus on Deal In Front of you
You must attend to your business with the vendor in the market, and not to the noise of the market.
Better little than too little.
Responsibility for your Actions
If you pick up one end of the stick you also pick up the other.
Accept the Things Beyond your Control
You have little power over what's not yours.
Money could bring Problems
He who runs after good fortune runs away from peace.
If you do not have patience you cannot make beer.
A spider's cobweb isn't only its sleeping spring but also its food trap.
Peace Breeds Success
When the shepherd comes home in peace, the milk is sweet.
No One wishes for Death
No matter how beautiful and well crafted a coffin might look, it will not make anyone wish for death.
Working Hard vs Working Smart
A bird that flies off the earth and lands on an anthill is still on the ground.
In whatever you do, strive to be the best at it.
Innovation is Bridge to Success
Whether you're a farmer, builder or engineer, the opportunities are equal: Just add a little innovation.
Mindset of a Mogul
Every morning when I wake up, I make up my mind to solve as many problems, before retiring home.
Dream, then get to Work
A vision on its own is not enough. Hard work & dedication is required to make that vision a reality.
Hard Work Overcomes Poverty
I grew up in poverty, but I always saw it as a challenge. The good thing is that you can surmount a challenge if you are willing to pay the price. The price is hard work.
Risk is Necessary today
In today's world, paradoxically, it is the boldest action that is often the safest. Remaining where you are in a world that is changing so rapidly is in fact the most dangerous of all places to be in.
Fruits of Hard Work and Determination
I think there are a lot of people with family connections but who are actually nowhere. If you are hardworking and determined, you will make it and that's the bottom line. I don't believe in an easy way through.
Specialize with Age
As you start out in life, it is important that you know at least something about everything, but as you get older it is important that you know everything about something.
Why I love the Wouri River
Something has always intrigued me about rivers. My habit of daydreaming around the waters of rivers dates back to my childhood days by the coast of my native Cameroon. As a kid, barely seven years old, there were afternoons when I used to stand barefoot in the sand by the beach just to feel the waves of the Wouri river rush up to wash my feet. I would then close my eyes, stretch out my arms open to the blowing wind and wish it would carry me along on a flying tour over the roaring waters. I would often awake to realize how late it already was because then the sun would have gone home for the night. This to me was one of the most passionate feelings in the world.Today, flowing masses of water still hypnotize me. When I sit by moving waters, I feel a dual personality within. The first person (probably my physical body) is often captivated by the sights and the murmuring sounds from the subtle movements of water as I intently gaze. The second is my psyche that takes a deep dive into my mind, bringing back thoughts from those hidden corners where the hook of my imagination would not have otherwise reached. That is why I like sitting by the riverside with a pen and my journal in hand, ready to pin down my capricious thoughts before they escape.
Water is Source of Life
There is no medicine like water.
Makeba's View on Thabo Mbeki
It is very much the theme of our President, President Thabo Mbeki, whose passion is for Africa to work together, and for Africans to get up and do things for us. We are trying as women to do things for ourselves.
Changing People takes Long
Which goes to show you, you can make all the laws you want, but you cannot change people's ways. If you must change them, you have to understand that it will take a long time.
Importance of those who Pay Attention
You are damned and praised, or encouraged or discouraged by those who listen to you, and those who come to applaud you. And to me, those people are very important.
Nurture Future Mothers
Girls are the future mothers of our society, and it is important that we focus on their well-being.
Strength of South Africans
I look at an ant and I see myself: a native South African, endowed by nature with a strength much greater than my size so I might cope with the weight of a racism that crushes my spirit.
International Recognition from Nobel
The Nobel Prize has given me, for the first time in my life, the feeling that my literature could be appreciated on an international level.
Passing Judgement is not the Islamic Way
I consider Khomeini's position dangerous. He does not have the right to pass judgment-that is not the Islamic way.
Arab Literature wins Nobel with Mahfouz
The Arab world also won the Nobel with me. I believe that international doors have opened, and that from now on, literate people will consider Arab literature also. We deserve that recognition.
A Writer's Love for Literature
Without literature my life would be miserable.
Writer for Life
If the urge to write should ever leave me, I want that day to be my last.
Koran Prohibits Vilification of Religions
The Koran and the laws of all civilized nations legislate against the vilification of religions.
Writer's Story contains his Point of View
The writer interweaves a story with his own doubts, questions, and values. That is art.
People were Punished in History for proclaiming their Ideas
History is full of people who went to prison or were burned at the stake for proclaiming their ideas. Society has always defended itself.
Mahfouz's Views on Sufism
I reject any path which rejects life, but I can't help loving Sufism because it sounds so beautiful. It gives relief in the midst of battle.
Choice of Consequence
According to Islamic principles, when a man is accused of heresy, he is given the choice between repentance and punishment.
Food is a Priority for many Families
In Egypt today most people are concerned with getting bread to eat. Only some of the educated understand how democracy works.
Daily Lives inspire Literature
Events at home, at work, in the street - these are the bases for a story.
Western Style in African Literature
We used the Western style to express our own themes and stories. But don't forget that our heritage includes The Thousand and One Nights.
Focus on Literature rather than on Money
I didn't make any money from my writing until much later. I published about 80 stories for nothing. I spent on literature.
Mahfouz's Oppion of Nobel Prize
My wife thought I deserved it, but I always thought the Nobel a Western prize.
We are Science
If we reject science, we reject the common man.
Defending Freedom to speak One's Mind
I defend both the freedom of expression and society's right to counter it. I must pay the price for differing. It is the natural way of things.
How Religion is Approached
God did not intend religion to be an exercise club.
An allegory is not meant to be taken literally. There is a great lack of comprehension on the part of some readers.
Religion is a Sensitive topic in Egypt
If you want to move people, you look for a point of sensitivity, and in Egypt nothing moves people as much as religion.
Treating People well is better than Prayer
It's clearly more important to treat one's fellow man well than to be always praying and fasting and touching one's head to a prayer mat.
There are Wrong Interpretations of Religion
Today's interpretations of religion are often backward and contradict the needs of civilization.
Intelligence vs Wisdom
You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions.
Nobel Committee considers Sustainability
I think what the Nobel committee is doing is going beyond war and looking at what humanity can do to prevent war. Sustainable management of our natural resources will promote peace.
Protect both Environment and Governance
I am working to make sure we don't only protect the environment, we also improve governance.
Searching for the Root of Environmental Issues
For me, one of the major reasons to move beyond just the planting of trees was that I have tendency to look at the causes of a problem. We often preoccupy ourselves with the symptoms, whereas if we went to the root cause of the problems, we would be able to overcome the problems once and for all.
Bad Habit of cutting but not planting
There's a general culture in this country to cut all the trees. It makes me so angry because everyone is cutting and no one is planting.
Departing from a Horrible Past
And so I'm saying that, yes, colonialism was terrible, and I describe it as a legacy of wars, but we ought to be moving away from that by now.
Where does AIDS come from?
Some say that AIDS came from the monkeys, and I doubt that because we have been living with monkeys from time immemorial, others say it was a curse from God, but I say it cannot be that.
Management of Resources is Source of Conflict
When you think of all the conflicts we have - whether those conflicts are local, whether they are regional or global - these conflicts are often over the management, the distribution of resources. If these resources are very valuable, if these resources are scarce, if these resources are degraded, there is going to be competition.
Planting a Tree in Gratefulness
That's the way I do things when I want to celebrate, I always plant a tree. And so I got an indigenous tree, called Nandi flame, it has this beautiful red flowers. When it is in flower it is like it is in flame.
Women's Obligation to their Kids
Women are responsible for their children, they cannot sit back, waste time and see them starve.
One with the Universe, One with God
All of us have a God in us, and that God is the spirit that unites all life, everything that is on this planet.
Self Acceptance and Culture
It would be good for us Africans to accept ourselves as we are and recapture some of the positive aspects of our culture.
Who is to Blame for the Environment?
We are very fond of blaming the poor for destroying the environment. But often it is the powerful, including governments, that are responsible.
One Problem Unfolding Others
When I first started, it was really an innocent response to the needs of women in rural areas. When we started planting trees to meet their needs, there was nothing beyond that. I did not see all the issues that I have to come to deal with.
Relationship between Environment and Women Rights
In Kenya women are the first victims of environmental degradation, because they are the ones who walk for hours looking for water, who fetch firewood, who provide food for their families.
It was easy to persecute me without people feeling ashamed. It was easy to vilify me and project me as a woman who was not following the tradition of a 'good African woman' and as a highly educated elitist who was trying to show innocent African women ways of doing things that were not acceptable to African men.
Vocation as Environmentalist
I don't really know why I care so much. I just have something inside me that tells me that there is a problem, and I have got to do something about it. I think that is what I would call the God in me.
It's a matter of life and death for this country. The Kenyan forests are facing extinction and it is a man-made problem.
Governance and Resources
But when you have bad governance, of course, these resources are destroyed: The forests are deforested, there is illegal logging, there is soil erosion. I got pulled deeper and deeper and saw how these issues become linked to governance, to corruption, to dictatorship.
Actions vs Words
Until you dig a hole, you plant a tree, you water it and make it survive, you haven't done a thing. You are just talking.
Preserving Environment for next Generation
We owe it to ourselves and to the next generation to conserve the environment so that we can bequeath our children a sustainable world that benefits all.
Empowering African Women
African women in general need to know that it's OK for them to be the way they are - to see the way they are as a strength, and to be liberated from fear and from silence.
The Environment and Conflict
In a few decades, the relationship between the environment, resources and conflict may seem almost as obvious as the connection we see today between human rights, democracy and peace.
We need to promote development that does not destroy our environment.
Little things like Planting Trees
It's the little things citizens do. That's what will make the difference. My little thing is planting trees.
Resources can cause Disputes
When resources are degraded, we start competing for them, whether it is at the local level in Kenya, where we had tribal clashes over land and water, or at the global level, where we are fighting over water, oil, and minerals. So one way to promote peace is to promote sustainable management and equitable distribution of resources.
All girls know that they can be anything now. That transformation is to me one of the most satisfying things.
Vision for Liberia
Liberia just needs to go through this one political transition and it can really take off. Everything's in place now. We cannot afford to put the country in the hands of someone that lacks the experience.
Sacrifices of Leader
One has to look at my life story to see what I've done. I've paid a heavy price that many people don't realize.
Ellen's Views of Library
When I took office, Liberia began to recover from years of neglect. Our people have brought clean water into the heart of Monrovia to children who have never known water from a tap. Efforts are underway to expand water projects as much as possible throughout the country.
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf's Conscience
I work hard, I work late, I have nothing on my conscience. When I go to bed, I sleep.
Creating the Future
The future belongs to us, because we have taken charge of it. We have the commitment, we have the resourcefulness, and we have the strength of our people to share the dream across Africa of clean water for all.
Value of Education
As more men become more educated and women get educated, the value system has to be more enhanced and the respect for human dignity and human life is made better.
Words as Part of Culture
I grew up in an atmosphere where words were an integral part of culture.
Looking at faces of people, one gets the feeling there's a lot of work to be done.
Lessons through Theater
But theater, because of its nature, both text, images, multimedia effects, has a wider base of communication with an audience. That's why I call it the most social of the various art forms.
Resources like Oil in Nigeria
I am convinced that Nigeria would have been a more highly developed country without the oil. I wished we'd never smelled the fumes of petroleum.
Soyinka's View on Truth and Power
Well, the first thing is that truth and power for me form an antithesis, an antagonism, which will hardly ever be resolved. I can define in fact, can simplify the history of human society, the evolution of human society, as a contest between power and freedom.
Greater Effort, Greater Reward
The hand that dips into the bottom of the pot will eat the biggest snail.
Power as a Lie
Power is domination, control, and therefore a very selective form of truth which is a lie.
Education threatens Truth Suppressors
Books and all forms of writing are terror to those who wish to suppress the truth.
Learn by Copying
And I believe that the best learning process of any kind of craft is just to look at the work of others.
Fate of a Nation under Dictatorship
Under a dictatorship, a nation ceases to exist. All that remains is a fiefdom, a planet of slaves regimented by aliens from outer space.
Experiencing Art is Enriching
My horizon on humanity is enlarged by reading the writers of poems, seeing a painting, listening to some music, some opera, which has nothing at all to do with a volatile human condition or struggle or whatever. It enriches me as a human being.
Human Life and Service
Human life has meaning only to that degree and as long as it is lived in the service of humanity.
Relationship of my Self-worth to my Community
One's own self-worth is tied to the worth of the community to which one belongs, which is intimately connected to humanity in general. What happens in Darfur becomes an assault on my own community, and on me as an individual. That's what the human family is all about.
Criticism if Important
The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism.
Amazing Recuperation of Rwanda
Given the scale of trauma caused by the genocide, Rwanda has indicated that however thin the hope of a community can be, a hero always emerges. Although no one can dare claim that it is now a perfect state, and that no more work is needed, Rwanda has risen from the ashes as a model or truth and reconciliation.
Speak by Being
A tiger does not proclaim its tigritude, it acts.
About Learning how to Write
Many writers can't make a living. So to be able to teach how to write is valuable to them. But I don't really know about its value to the student. I don't mean it's useless. But I wouldn't have wanted anyone to teach me how to write.
No to Religious Discrimination
I've had trouble now and again in Nigeria because I have spoken up about the mistreatment of factions in the country because of difference in religion. These are things we should put behind us.
Achebe's Journey through Writing
When I began going to school and learned to read, I encountered stories of other people and other lands.
The Stories inside me
I'm a practised writer now. But when I began, I had no idea what this was going to be. I just knew that there was something inside me that wanted me to tell who I was, and that would have come out even if I didn't want it.
Good Art for Humanity
My position is that serious and good art has always existed to help, to serve, humanity. Not to indict. I don't see how art can be called art if its purpose is to frustrate humanity.
Achebe's Relationship with People vs with Leaders
The relationship with my people, the Nigerian people, is very good. My relationship with the rulers has always been problematic.
Artists' Role for the People
An artist, in my understanding of the word, should side with the people against the Emperor that oppresses his or her people.
Role of Characters
Once a novel gets going and I know it is viable, I don't then worry about plot or themes. These things will come in almost automatically because the characters are now pulling the story.
How Stories inspire People
People from different parts of the world can respond to the same story if it says something to them about their own history and their own experience.
Reasons for leaving the Federation
I was a supporter of the desire, in my section of Nigeria, to leave the federation because it was treated very badly with something that was called genocide in those days.
Purpose of Stories
Stories serve the purpose of consolidating whatever gains people or their leaders have made or imagine they have made in their existing journey thorough the world.
Creating a Society by Writing
Each of my books is different. Deliberately... I wanted to create my society, my people, in their fullness.
Achebe's View on Age
I don't care about age very much. I think back to the old people I knew when I was growing up, and they always seemed larger than life.
Achebe's Christian Parents
My parents were early converts to Christianity in my part of Nigeria. They were not just converts; my father was an evangelist, a religious teacher. He and my mother traveled for thirty-five years to different parts of Igboland, spreading the gospel.
They have not always elected the best leaders, particularly after a long period in which they have not used this facility of free election. You tend to lose the habit.
Democracy should be Continuous Practice
Democracy is not something you put away for ten years, and then in the 11th year you wake up and start practicing again. We have to begin to learn to rule ourselves again.
Danger of Leaderless Uprising
The problem with leaderless uprisings taking over is that you don't always know what you get at the other end. If you are not careful you could replace a bad government with one much worse!.
Cost of Poor Leadership to Nigeria
Nigera is what it is because its leaders are not what they should be.
What makes a Robust Democracy
A functioning, robust democracy requires a healthy educated, participatory followership, and an educated, morally grounded leadership.
Damage takes Long to Repair
The damage done in one year can sometimes take ten or twenty years to repair.
Make no Trouble
A man who makes trouble for others is also making trouble for himself.
Act Before its Late
People say that if you find water rising up to your ankle, that's the time to do something about it, not when it's around your neck.
Bravery of Igbo Women
When the British came to Igboland, for instance, at the beginning of the 20th century, and defeated the men in pitched battles in different places, and set up their administrations, the men surrendered. And it was the women who led the first revolt.
Art is Creating a Different Reality
Art is man's constant effort to create for himself a different order of reality from that which is given to him.
Achebe's View on Christianity
In fact, I thought that Christianity was a very good and a very valuable thing for us. But after a while, I began to feel that the story that I was told about this religion wasn't perhaps completely whole, that something was left out.
Oh, the most important thing about myself is that my life has been full of changes. Therefore, when I observe the world, I don't expect to see it just like I was seeing the fellow who lives in the next room.
Identifying with Novel Characters through Immersion
Once you allow yourself to identify with the people in a story, then you might begin to see yourself in that story even if on the surface it's far removed from your situation. This is what I try to tell my students: this is one great thing that literature can do - it can make us identify with situations and people far away.
Identifying with Different People
I tell my students, it's not difficult to identify with somebody like yourself, somebody next door who looks like you. What's more difficult is to identify with someone you don't see, who's very far away, who's a different color, who eats a different kind of food. When you begin to do that then literature is really performing its wonders.
Fairness to Citizens
What a country needs to do is be fair to all its citizens - whether people are of a different ethnicity or gender.
Wisdom is Attractive
When old people speak it is not because of the sweetness of words in our mouths; it is because we see something which you do not see.
Long Lasting Traditions
When a tradition gathers enough strength to go on for centuries, you don't just turn it off one day.
The whole idea of a stereotype is to simplify. Instead of going through the problem of all this great diversity - that it's this or maybe that - you have just one large statement; it is this.
Test of Integrity
One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.
Rising as a Leader in Difficult Times
I was not a messiah, but an ordinary man who had become a leader because of extraordinary circumstances.
Freedom is Beautiful Achievement
Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement.
Ordinary People doing Extraordinary Things
There are so many men and women who hold no distinctive positions but whose contribution towards the development of society has been enormous.
No Development without Education
No country can really develop unless its citizens are educated.
South African Deeds Should Portray Justice
Our daily deeds as ordinary South Africans must produce an actual South African reality that will reinforce humanity's belief in justice, strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human soul, and sustain all our hopes for a glorious life for all.
Leader finding a Path
There are times when a leader must move out ahead of the flock, go off in a new direction, confident that he is leading his people the right way.
Talking about Peace with Violent Government
There are many people who feel that it is useless and futile to continue talking about peace and non-violence against a government whose only reply is savage attacks on an unarmed and defenceless people.
Make the Best of Life
Even if you have a terminal disease, you don't have to sit down and mope. Enjoy life and challenge the illness that you have.
Mandela's Struggle for His Country
I was called a terrorist yesterday, but when I came out of jail, many people embraced me, including my enemies, and that is what I normally tell other people who say those who are struggling for liberation in their country are terrorists.
Mandela's Path to Presidency
In my country we go to prison first and then become President.
Madiba's Dream of African Unity
I dream of the realization of the unity of Africa, whereby its leaders combine in their efforts to solve the problems of this continent. I dream of our vast deserts, of our forests, of all our great wildernesses.
Democracy and Freedom
I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.
Soul of Society
There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children.
Fighting for our People
We pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination.
Sabotage as tool for Resistance
I do not deny that I planned sabotage. I did not plan it in a spirit of recklessness nor because I have any love of violence. I planned it as a result of a calm and sober assessment of the political situation that had arisen after many years of tyranny, exploitation and oppression of my people by the whites.
Your Approach determines the Response
People respond in accordance to how you relate to them. If you approach them on the basis of violence, that's how they'll react. But if you say, 'We want peace, we want stability,' we can then do a lot of things that will contribute towards the progress of our society.
Why you should Educate Children
Without education, your children can never really meet the challenges they will face. So it's very important to give children education and explain that they should play a role for their country.
Do Right Always
We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.
Forgiveness Requires Courage
Courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace.
How Good Leaders Debate
A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don't have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed.
Fight for South Africa
I will not leave South Africa, nor will I surrender. Only through hardship, sacrifice and militant action can freedom be won. The struggle is my life. I will continue fighting for freedom until the end of my days.
When to Protest Globalization
Where globalization means, as it so often does, that the rich and powerful now have new means to further enrich and empower themselves at the cost of the poorer and weaker, we have a responsibility to protest in the name of universal freedom.
Be Bold, Reach for your Dreams
There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.
When faced with Multiple Challenges
After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.
What it means to be Free
For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.
Empathy between those who Suffer Together
Our human compassion binds us the one to the other - not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future.
When Enemies become Partners
If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.
Money won't create success, the freedom to make it will.
Love for Mother Tongue
If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.
Nothing is Impossible
It always seems impossible until its done.
To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.
Perseverance through Road to Freedom
There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.
Bravery is Overcoming Fear
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
Intelligence and Empathy
A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.
Leaders put People's needs First
It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.
Changing the World
Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
Why the Cat kills Rats
Ansa was King of Calabar for fifty years. He had a very faithful cat as a housekeeper, and a rat was his house-boy. The king was an obstinate, headstrong man, but was very fond of the cat, who had been in his store for many years.The rat, who was very poor, fell in love with one of the king's servant girls, but was unable to give her any presents, as he had no money.At last he thought of the king's store, so in the night-time, being quite small, he had little difficulty, having made a hole in the roof, in getting into the store. He then stole corn and native pears, and presented them to his sweetheart.At the end of the month, when the cat had to render her account of the things in the store to the king, it was found that a lot of corn and native pears were missing. The king was very angry at this, and asked the cat for an explanation. But the cat-could not account for the loss, until one of her friends told her that the rat had been stealing the corn and giving it to the girl.When the cat told the king, he called the girl before him and had her flogged. The rat he handed over to the cat to deal with, and dismissed them both from his service. The cat was so angry at this that she killed and ate the rat, and ever since that time whenever a cat sees a rat she kills and eats it.
Why the Flies Bother the Cows
When Adiaha Umo was Queen of Calabar, being very rich and hospitable, she used to give big feasts to all the domestic animals, but never invited the wild beasts, as she was afraid of them.At one feast she gave there were three large tables, and she told the cow to sit at the head of the table, as she was the biggest animal present, and share out the food. The cow was quite ready to do this, and the first course was passed, which the cow shared out amongst the people, but forgot the fly, because he was so small.When the fly saw this, he called out to the cow to give him his share, but the cow said: "Be quiet, my friend, you must have patience."When the second course arrived, the fly again called out to the cow, but the cow merely pointed to her eye, and told the fly to look there, and he would get food later.At last all the dishes were finished, and the fly, having been given no food by the cow, went supperless to bed.The next day the fly complained to the queen, who decided that, as the cow had presided at the feast, and had not given the fly his share, but had pointed to her eye, for the future the fly could always get his food from the cow's eyes wherever she went; and even at the present time, wherever the cows are, the flies can always be seen feeding off their eyes in accordance with the queen's orders.
The Story of the Leopard, the Tortoise, and the Bush Rat
At the time of the great famine all the animals were very thin and weak from want of food; but there was one exception, and that was the tortoise and all his family, who were quite fat, and did not seem to suffer at all. Even the leopard was very thin, in spite of the arrangement he had made with the animals to bring him their old grandmothers and mothers for food.In the early days of the famine (as you will remember) the leopard had killed the mother of the tortoise, in consequence of which the tortoise was very angry with the leopard, and determined if possible to be revenged upon him. The tortoise, who was very clever, had discovered a shallow lake full of fish in the middle of the forest, and every morning he used to go to the lake and, without much trouble, bring back enough food for himself and his family. One day the leopard met the tortoise and noticed how fat he was. As he was very thin himself he decided to watch the tortoise, so the next morning he hid himself in the long grass near the tortoise's house and waited very patiently, until at last the tortoise came along quite slowly, carrying a basket which appeared to be very heavy. Then the leopard sprang out, and said to the tortoise:"What have you got in that basket?"The tortoise, as he did not want to lose his breakfast, replied that he was carrying firewood back to his home. Unfortunately for the tortoise the leopard had a very acute sense of smell, and knew at once that there was fish in the basket, so he said:"I know there is fish in there, and I am going to eat it."The tortoise, not being in a position to refuse, as he was such a poor creature, said:"Very well. Let us sit down under this shady tree, and if you will make a fire I will go to my house and get pepper, oil, and salt, and then we will feed together."To this the leopard agreed, and began to search about for dry wood, and started the fire. In the meantime the tortoise waddled off to his house, and very soon returned with the pepper, salt, and oil; he also brought a long piece of cane tie-tie, which is very strong. This he put on the ground, and began boiling the fish. Then he said to the leopard:"While we are waiting for the fish to cook, let us play at tying one another up to a tree. You may tie me up first, and when I say 'Tighten,' you must loose the rope, and when I say 'Loosen', you must tighten the rope."The leopard, who was very hungry, thought that this game would make the time pass more quickly until the fish was cooked, so he said he would play. The tortoise then stood with his back to the tree and said, "Loosen the rope", and the leopard, in accordance with the rules of the game, began to tie up the tortoise. Very soon the tortoise shouted out, "Tighten!" and the leopard at once unfastened the tie-tie, and the tortoise was free. The tortoise then said, "Now, leopard, it is your turn; " so the leopard stood up against the tree and called out to the tortoise to loosen the rope, and the tortoise at once very quickly passed the rope several times round the leopard and got him fast to the tree. Then the leopard said, "Tighten the rope;" but instead of playing the game in accordance with the rules he bad laid down, the tortoise ran faster and faster with the rope round the leopard, taking great care, however, to keep out of reach of the leopard's claws, and very soon had the leopard so securely fastened that it was quite impossible for him to free himself.All this time the leopard was calling out to the tortoise to let him go, as he was tired of the game; but the tortoise only laughed, and sat down at the fireside and commenced his meal. When he had finished he packed up the remainder of the fish for his family, and prepared to go, but before he started he said to the leopard:"You killed my mother and now you want to take my fish. It is not likely that I am going to the lake to get fish for you, so I shall leave you here to starve."He then threw the remains of the pepper and salt into the leopard's eyes and quietly went on his way, leaving the leopard roaring with pain.All that day and throughout the night the leopard was calling out for some one to release him, and vowing all sorts of vengeance on the tortoise; but no one came, as the people and animals of the forest do not like to hear the leopard's voice.In the morning, when the animals began to go about to get their food, the leopard called out to every one he saw to come and untie him, but they all refused, as they knew that if they did so the leopard would most likely kill them at once and eat them. At last a bush rat came near and saw the leopard tied up to the tree and asked him what was the matter, so the leopard told him that he had been playing a game of "tight" and "loose" with the tortoise, and that he had tied him up and left him there to starve. The leopard then implored the bush rat to cut the ropes with his sharp teeth. The bush rat was very sorry for the leopard; but at the same time he knew that, if he let the leopard go, he would most likely be killed and eaten, so he hesitated, and said that he did not quite see his way to cutting the ropes. But this bush rat, being rather kind-hearted, and having had some experience of traps himself, could sympathise with the leopard in his uncomfortable position. He therefore thought for a time, and then hit upon a plan. He first started to dig a hole under the tree, quite regardless of the leopard's cries. When he had finished the hole he came out and cut one of the ropes, and immediately ran into his hole, and waited there to see what would happen; but although the leopard struggled frantically, he could not get loose, as the tortoise had tied him up so fast. After a time, when he saw that there was no danger, the bush rat crept out again and very carefully bit through another rope, and then retired to his hole as before. Again nothing happened, and he began to feel more confidence, so he bit several strands through one after the other until at last the leopard was free. The leopard, who was ravenous with hunger, instead of being grateful to the bush rat, directly he was free, made a dash at the bush rat with his big paw, but just missed him, as the bush rat had dived for his hole; but he was not quite quick enough to escape altogether, and the leopard's sharp claws scored his back and left marks which he carried to his grave.Ever since then the bush rats have had white spots on their skins, which represent the marks of the leopard's claws.
Music has Meaning in Africa
Music in Africa often contains messages. Music in Senegal, and Africa, is never music for music's sake or solely for entertainment. It's always a vehicle for social connections, discussions and ideas. Music in Africa often contains messages. Music in Senegal, and Africa, is never music for music's sake or solely for entertainment. It's always a vehicle for social connections, discussions and ideas.
Togetherness is Good
One tree does not make a forest.
Tears cannot be seen in the pouring rain.
A man is what he thinks.
Importance of Insight
Losing one's eyesight is not as bad as losing one's insight.
If you go to a town and find its chief sitting on the ground, you do not ask for a stool.
Laws that Apply to Everyone
A slipery ground does not recognize kings.
Greed and Impatience
A tree belonging to a greedy man bore abundantly, but instead of gathering the fruits little by little, he took an ax and cut it down that he might have all at once.
Evil Lurks Near Good Things
Where there is sea, there will always be pirates.
Can't Lose what you don't Have
A poor person never goes bankrupt.
No One wants Poverty
Wealth is invited, but poverty invites itself.
Inheriting vs Making Fortune
Those who inherit fortunes are often more of a problem than those who made them.
Drawn by Wealth
A wealthy man will always have followers.
When you are older, you keep warm with the wood you gathered in your youth.
Sending someone on an errand at mealtime is likely to result in a botched message.
Think before Responding
The greatest remedy for anger is delay.
A stone thrown in anger never kills a bird.
People Fight for Value
Big people do not quarrel over small vegetables, unless they are tasty.
Once Bitten, Twice Shy
He who is bitten by a snake fears a lizard.
Confidence is Strength
The lion's power lies in our fear of him.
Persistence to Hunter and Hunted
If the hare has outwitted the hunters today, tomorrow is still a hunting day.
Law of Attraction
Good fortune will not happen to you; good fortune is given to he who seeks it.
Marriage is like a groundnut; you must crack it to see what is inside.
If a young woman says no to marriage, just wait until her breasts sag.
Wife and her Mother
When a woman enters a marriage, she takes her mother along.
Crying is useless if you have no friends who will listen.
Friendship is more than Money
Better to lose a little money than a little friendship.
Families do Best for Each Other
When your sister does your hair you do not need a mirror.
Families Prosper Together
If your brother is up the plum tree, you will eat the best plum.
The compassion of a people is cultivated at a grandmother's knees.
The chameleon changes color to match the earth; The earth does not change color to match the chameleon.
Even if made of gold, shoes are still for the feet.
Bats who think they are birds are in for a great surprise.
The roaring lion kills no game.
Silence has Meaning
Silence is more than just a lack of words.
Voice of Pregnant Woman
Whatever a pregnant woman says is said by two people.
Seeing the Good Side
To have two eyes is cause for pride; but to have one eye is better than to have none.
Doing is Better
When a needle falls into a deep well, many people will look into the well but few will be ready to go down after it.
Good things could Harm Sometimes
The toad likes water but not when it is boiling.
It is God who drives away flies for the tailless animal.
Tackle Tasks you can Handle
A cow that has no tail should not try to chase away flies.
Reap what you Sow
He who does not cultivate his field will die of hunger.
Good for Good
A good deed is something one returns.
To make preparations does not spoil the trip.
Beauty attracts Attention
Around a flowering tree, one finds many insects.
Respect those who Love you
Do not tell the man that is carrying you that he stinks.
Use your Knowledge
Knowledge is like a garden; if it is not cultivated, it cannot be harvested.
Lack of Curiosity is Worse
Not to know is bad; not to want to know is worse.
Music is Life
A village without music is a dead village.
Crooks don't shave each other.
Nothing is Perfect
When the deal is too good, think twice.
Timing when to Fight Battles
Never fight a stranger in the dark, for he may turn out to be your brother.