By Hakim Abdul-Ali
It is said that wisdom lies at the feet of the mother. If that is correct, and I certainly agree with that sentiment in many aspects, then all of “hue-manity” should sit, respect, acknowledge and listen to the mother of all nations’ common sense, and that’s the circumspection coming from Africa.
I’ve always been drawn to the “The Motherland’s” intrinsic sagacity and how she has provided so much intelligence to the world via her spoken words, phrases and mottos, enough to enrich any desirous student of knowledge for a triple lifetime. With that kind of therapeutic knowledge inbred in her ancient and modern countries’ legacies, there can be no room for error because as it is said in Eithiopia, “A word to the wise is enough.”
Today, I’d like you to take a brief, adventurous trip with me through the corridors of African wisdom, spanning many different cultures and countries. I’ve written about this journey before in previous articles, and I’ll attempt to go there once more and, hopefully, you’ll gain some additional information and further stimulating insight as you read on.
This attempt on my part is simply a modest effort, again, I must humbly admit, to hopefully get you, me and others to think about what we can do as African descendants to ease some some of the mental, physical and spiritual burdens that are oppressing so much of our current world populace. From Ferguson, Missouri, to Kingston, Jamaica, to Ponta Delgada in the Azores and to all points in between, many of the world’s diverse ethnic inhabitants are lost about the true meanings of global brotherhood and sisterhood.
During these chaotic times, sacred life seems to be a lost purpose of understanding to many disillusioned among the earth’s multi-ethnic “colored” citizenry.
That deeply saddens me because I know that stupidly and ignorance run neck and neck (with each other) when foolish souls and ignorant minds get together, and peace is apparently far off in a distant time zone of defective communication, which no one really cares about except to offer lip service.
That’s why the following African thoughts of wisdom I’ll present, called proverbial gems, ring loudly in my writing mind-set today as I challenge you to think about many things. I’m writing this column while all along cogitating in a somewhat rather pensive mood, forever pondering about the suffering masses in today’s Africa and all of the adversities facing so many people of color in the maligned and forgotten parts of the world today.
Please read these proverbs with an unblocked mind because they say so much to any inquiring soul who wishes for his or her fellow brother or sister of “hue-manity” what he or she wishes for himself or herself.
So, please take your time and read them ever so carefully as “Mother Africa Speaks.”
“If your pocket is empty, ask your hands why.” (Ghana)
“A child that is encouraged grows up with confidence.” (Uganda)
“It is ridiculous for hunters to argue about selling the skin of a lion when they have not yet killed a lion.” (Tanzania)
“Happiness is a perfume. You must pour it on yourself for others to appreciate it.” (Nigeria)
“It is only the dead who know the friendship of the cemetery.” (Kenya)
“At the tribunal of the foxes, the chickens are always guilty.” (Ghana)
“Digging a well starts from the top though the water is at the bottom.”(Tanzania)
“A marriage tree can be killed by its own fruit.” (Nigeria)
” If a man cheats you once, shame on him, if he cheats on you twice, shame on ‘you.’ ” (Kenya)
“The greatest liar is the man who says he never lies.” (Gambia)
“When a lion becomes old, he is a toy for little flies.” (Eithiopia)
“If you don’t know where you’re going, at least know where you you have come from.” (Ghana)
“If there is a mountain in your path, do not sit down at its foot and cry. Get up and climb it.” (Zimbabwe)
“A patient dog eats the fattest bone.” ( Nigeria.)
“He who takes a child by the hand, takes the mother by the heart.” (Sierra Leone)
“When there’s a crack in the wall, the lizard has a chance to come in.” (Nigeria)
“The tongue is like a horse. If you ride it gently, it takes you to safety. If you ride it roughly, it gets you in trouble. (Zambia)
“A pot that can no longer boil water should be discarded.” (Sudan)
“Do not tell a child to touch a hot lamp, the lamp will tell him.” (Nigeria)
“The rock that’s in the middle of the sea, does not fear the rain.” (Gambia)
“A bird is caught by its wings, and a man is caught by his tongue.” (Swaziland)
“When a mad man walks around naked, it is his children who feel ashamed, not himself.” (South Africa )
“The most reliable person you can send on an errand is yourself.” (Ghana)
“A dead man does not arrange his own funeral.” (Malawi)
I trust that as you’ve read thus far you’ll know that “Mother Africa’s Speaking” to you and me in no uncertain terms. Her wisdom, though regional, is powerful, astute and thought provoking.
No matter what you label yourself as, you should recognize the meanings behind the proverbs as they address the many issues that are plaguing so many many ethnicities and nations today, including the United States of America. My concern is that in this politically correct nation of ours, when is America finally going to right itself with regards to decency, fairness and equality for all?
Most cosmetic politicians, “his-storically” speaking, have always deceptively spoken out of both sides of their faces, and most of them are still offering the old recycled wind solutions to the curing the problems of the neglected in this country. It’s a 400 plus years (and counting) debacle waiting for the proofs of freedom and justice to be realized, especially if you’re of color, with no expectations on the horizon.
“Mother Africa Speaks” on many levels to the liberated mind, and there’s much political debate and consternation about what’s really going in political America and the rest of global elite world. So, I guess the majority opinion is still out to lunch if, or when, will we ever see the America of utopian dreams of equality for all becoming something more than the horror shows of continuing systematic nightmares of brutalities, injustices and racism galore.
Just think about bigotry. I’ll close for today with two more proverbs and one comes from Botswana, and it declares, “When the nose is stuffed, the eyes feel it.” The other is from The Congo, and it utters,”The deceivers’ ultimate victims are themselves.” Hmm!
Mother Africa has spoken. Do you get what is behind the judiciousness of some, if not all, of the Motherland’s keen wisdom? I hope and pray that you will and do.
Thoughts are synonymous to actions. For today and always, that’s, “As I See It.”