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Endangered African proverbs - proverbs and their meanings


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Kofi
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Default Endangered African proverbs - proverbs and their meanings

When it comes to proverbs, Africa is a very rich continent if not the richest. African proverbs mostly include plants and animals. One amazing thing about those plants and animals in African proverbs is that, they can move, talk, and act like humans. My grandfather used to say "we speak to the wise man in proverbs and not in plain language" and when it comes to proverbs, there is no better man than my grandpa. My grandpa loves proverbs and he speaks in proverbs all the time. When I was young, I used to find it very difficult understanding some of the things he used to say but now I am used to it and I understand almost everything he says in proverbs.

Proverbs are very important in Africa especially in my community. You cannot be a King or an elder in my community without the ability to speak and understand proverbs. The ability to speak and understand proverbs is a sign of maturity in my community. In my community, proverbs make a speech beautiful and rich. The more intelligent proverbs you use in your speech, the more matured and rich your speech will sound in the ears of a wise man.

The rhesus monkey once said, "my eyes are my oracles". We all know monkeys do not talk like humans do but this monkey in this African proverb talks just like humans do. Oracles are like gods in the traditional African culture. People used to consult oracles for advice and directions. Oracles used to give prophecies and whatever they said, came to pass. In other words, people used to believe everything the oracles told them.

Rhesus monkeys have very sharp and wide opened eyes and they can see very well. If the rhesus monkey tells you in an African proverb "my eyes are my oracles", what the rhesus monkey is trying to say is "Seeing is believing" or "I believe the things I see". In other words, the rhesus monkey is like a doubting Thomas in African proverbs. He will not believe anything you tell him except those things he sees with his own eyes.

my grandfather used to say "a child breaks the shell of the snail but not the shell of the tortoise". The shell of the snail is very easy to break but the shell of the tortoise is very hard to break. Not so many adults can break the shell of a tortoise let alone a child breaking the shell of a tortoise. So if you are a child and you are doing something and my grandfather tells you "a child breaks the shell of a snail and not the shell of a tortoise", what he is trying to say is that, "if you are a kid, do what kids do and not what adults do". In other words, do what you are supposed to do and not what you are not supposed to do.

This is just a tiny bit of how beautiful African proverbs can be. Some African proverbs are funny and some are sad. Some African proverbs are very encouraging and most African proverbs are full of nothing but wisdom.

The sad thing is that, in today's Africa, so many people especially those in the big cities and towns do not understand proverbs. Even the so-called educated people do not understand proverbs which is very sad. I am lucky my grandparents love proverbs and I am also lucky I lived with my grandparents. Most children today grow up in big cities and towns with parents who have no proverbs at all to teach them and most of these children grow up without the ability to use some of these beautiful African proverbs which is very sad.


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This is interesting. I'm just learning about proverbs, but i hardly know enough to understand my assignment. I am a 7th grader yes it is very sad but I like learning proverbs it's fun and a challenge to understand them. I'm from the United States of America and one more thing I hate that people have enslaved Africans and make them work!


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Thanks for sharing Kofi. This is amazing. It makes me wanna google more African proverbs


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Africa is a very rich and beautiful continent. It is sad so many people do not see it that way. In the near future I'll love to go build my house and live in Africa


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beautiful.. just beautiful. we are learning 'things fall apart' an African literature book by Chinua Achebe and oh boy I love the proverbs. just beautiful.


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This is beautiful my friend. Thanks very much for sharing.


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