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.”
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?