I love literature!

I am deliberate about being diverse in my reading. I try to read as much literature from as wide a geographical pool as I can.

One of the things I have discovered is that literature from different parts of the world have certain distinguishing features.

For African literature, the one distinguishing feature is the use of proverbs. Long before formal education as we know it today, was introduced on the continent, knowledge was passed down through word of mouth. Proverbs, wise sayings that communicated a society’s values and generational wisdom, is a common feature across most African societies.

Here are some of my favorite.

Lola Shoneyin (The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives)

“People are like water. And the same waters that the streams divide meet again the great ocean.”

Wole Soyinka (You Must Set Forth At Dawn)

“As one approaches an elder’s status, one ceases to indulge in battles”

Yvonne Adhiambo (DragonFly Sea)

“The carrier of a secret is not told its meaning.”

Chinua Achebe (Things Fall Apart)

“A man who calls his kinsmen to a feast does not do so to save them from starving. They all have food in their homes. When we gather together in the moonlit village ground it is not because of the moon. Everyone can see it in his own compound. We come together because it is good for kinsmen to do so.”

Indulge me.

How was wisdom passed on where you are from?

What are some of those wise sayings you’ve read or have been told that have stuck with you?


Add yours

  1. In my childhood days it was sticks and running laps lool πŸ˜… joke

    Idioms and proverbs were part of our schooling. I had a small red book, an idiom dictionary.

    However, wisdom was imparted through narrations, story telling and actions.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Hey πŸ˜ƒ

      No, I haven’t got a chance to read it yet. Though I have read about Sarowiwa from other authors.

      I shall look it up. Thank you for the recommendation.

      Thank you for making time 😊.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I like Bruce Lee’s quote,
    β€œI fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

    It’s the idea that consistency is a strong indicator of ability. The one who practices a thousand kicks once may or may not be able to execute any of them whatsoever, but when someone’s practiced the same kick ten thousand times, then you know that if he kicks you, you take it very seriously.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Absolutely πŸ™ŒπŸΏ

      That idea of consistency is what made Bruce Lee so lethal. Watching the IP man series really made me appreciate just how extraordinary his work ethic made him.

      Thank you for making time 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Interesting post – I have read books from China and India and very much enjoy the hallmarks of their literature. Now I have some books to read from Africa and an opportunity to learn more. My favorite and oh-so-appropriate family saying, spoken mostly by my mother, is “Watch what you are doing”. I find myself repeating it frequently to my young grandchildren and even to myself on occasion.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. “Writing is taking a risk, and it is actually fighting invisible and invincible enemies. They are over-confidence, stupidity, expectation and narcissism.”

    That’s one of a quote I like from an Indonesian author, Andrea Hirata. One of the quote that inspires me to always write. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Speak only if it improves on the silence. Yes, I heard this one often.

    Yours are precious. Never heard them told in such words before. I like them told like that.
    Thanks for sharing. Wonderful. I wish you miracles.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. My family’s heritage comes from several places throughout the world. What seems to be the standard of teaching wisdom for all those places is storytelling about generations of the past. None of these stories are pure truth, but all teach something of value.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Jolly!

      I couldn’t agree more. Story telling has remained constant in all societies as far as passing down wisdom, history and values are concerned.

      Thank you for making time 😊


  7. Let your word be your bond.
    Never argue with a stupid person, they’ll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience. –Mark Twain
    If a pig is content playing in his own shit, then who are you to tell it otherwise. Me lol
    You can’t be more concerned for people’s problems than they are. It’s exhausting.
    Don’t start none, won’t be none. –From the book of Hoodrinthians Chap 1 Verse 1 lol

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Wow, thank you for your question! The word “wisdom” immediately made me think of my grandmother, who is a main source of love and wisdom in my life.

    And the amazing thing is that is the main wisdom she passed on to me: the wisdom of love and being loving. Next in line is the wisdom of laughter. You would know where she was judging by where you could hear laughter. She would always, always find a way to make everyone’s hearts sing, no matter how hard life got. I assume it was, in part, a defense mechanism (she had been through war, and famine, and epidemics, etc.). But you would always feel better about everything once she had been around.

    I do that, too, now, without thinking about it. It comes naturally.

    At times, wisdom is not passed on through words. πŸ™‚

    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey πŸ˜ƒ

      Thank you for your feedback.

      Your grandmother is one special human being!

      It’s the “At times, wisdom is not passed through words,” for meπŸ™ŒπŸΏ


  9. I think music is not only relaxing, it can give us wise sayings. John Lennon: “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans.” Simon & Garfunkel: “I can gather all the news I need on the weather report…” Thanks for the question and generating the lively discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Rebecca!

      I couldn’t agree more!

      Music has always been a medium to pass wisdom.

      One of my favorites is Kenny Rodgers:
      “You never count your money while sitting at the table, they’ll be time enough for counting when the dealing is done.”

      Thank you for making time 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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