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Late Night Proverbial Reflections
Published:
1/14/2015 4:20:19 PM

By Hakim Abdul-Ali


It's almost midnight and I'm try to gather my distant thoughts together in order to write this article while a sudden rain outburst is beginning to fall upon my dwelling's rooftop.

Wow is all that I think of to describe what is going on inside my mind.

To say that I'm reflective is far too mild of an apt description. I'd rather describe my mood as one of contemplative remembrances of aphorisms from "The Motherland" that seem to flow freely from my restful and now melancholy mind-set.

I must admit that I love the sound of the punctuating raindrops falling from on high. It's a spiritually seductive transcendental mood for me to be in now because, after all, as I reflect with solemn reverential respect, isn't nature the greatest wonder love song of all.

Hoping that you follow my present sentimental thinking groove, I must say that whenever it rains I can't help but travel back to thoughts of Africa and the wisdom of some of her mighty proverbs. They cascade upon my thoughts with continual insight just like the natural rainwater invigorated my body and soul with constant wetness as I, sometimes, remembered having walked in the rain in earlier times.

I trust that those analogies aren't too misleading for you because there's power behind the soothing wet raindrops from the Creator. Also, while likening the influence of raindrops to spiritual thinking, I believe that there's much penetrating wisdom behind the words of "The Motherland's" wise proverbs if you only take the time to absorb what intrinsic value they can give to any thinking "hue-man's" soul, body and mind.

In Africa it's said that a proverb enriches a language, and that it gives in-depth consoling meaning to words. That is what the Yoruba speaking people proclaim as they believed that anyone who could intersperse speech with apt proverbs was regarded as a soul who possessed a magnificent intellect.

As the rain is getting heavier, I'm thinking about that, or more correctly, I guess you could say that I'm reflecting on some of those precious and valued proverbs from "The Motherland" that I've learned about and studied I'm life thus far. Listen closely with your mind's eye and see if you become wet with some of Africa's proverbial wisdom in your search for and love of your natural cultural heritage.

Some of these proverbs are truly poignantly clear, and others are somewhat comical in inference,but nonetheless, I believe that they all tell something meaningful to any ethnic reflective thinking, soulful "hue-man" being.

I begin with:
"He who is already wet need not fear the rain." (Ghana)
"A good name is better than the strongest perfume." (Ethiopia)
"When there is a mountain in your path, do not sit down at its foot and cry, get up and climb it." (Zimbabwe)
"A bird is caught by his wings, a man (is caught) by his tongue." (Swaziland)
"The bee that has honey in its mouth also has a stinger on its tail." (Gambia)
"Never give a dog a second bone until he's finish the first one." (Uganda)
"If you have enough money, you can buy a road in the sky." (Ethiopia)
"An empty sack will not stand upright." (Ghana)
"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 child that is encouraged grows up with confidence." (Uganda)
"Do not tell a child to touch a hot lamp, the lamp will tell him." (Nigeria)
"A friend at hand is better than a far distant relative." (Ethiopia)
"The bird that is about to brood is the one that is most worried about the condition of the nest." (Lesotho)
"Impatience can not light a fire." (Ghana)
"The lazy man will remember that he has not planted when his neighbors crops are ready for harvesting." (Nigeria)
"A twig may lie in the water for a long time but it will never become a crocodile." (Nigeria)
"Honey catches more flies than vinegar." (Ghana)
"A son today is what his father was yesterday." (Cote d'Ivoire)
"If your parents took care of you when you were teething, you should take care of them when they are losing their teeth." (Zimbabwe)
"Even dirty water extinguishes a fire." (Nigeria)
"A man who knows only the stream in his village cannot believe that the vast ocean exists." (Gambia)
"White teeth are no guarantee against bad breath." (Malawi)
"A twisted hand cannot grip right." (Sierra Leone)
"If your pocket is empty, ask your hand why." (Ghana)
"Happiness is perfume. You must pour it on yourself for others to appreciate it." (Nigeria)
"Trouble is never sold but it can be bought." (Cameroon )
"Digging a well starts from the top though the water is at the bottom." (Tanzania)
"Rotten wood can not be carved even by the very best of carvers." (Nigeria)
"A horse may carry a warrior to the battlefield but it can not fight his battle for him." (Ethiopia)
"However far a stream flows, it never forgets its source." (Uganda)
"Tolerance is not to be considered as a weakness." (Ethiopia)
"It is only the dead who know the friendship of the cemetery." (Kenya)
"If you don't know where you are going, at least you know where you came from." (Ghana)
"A good man's character cannot be washed off by the rain." ( Nigeria)

The raindrops are still falling and with those illuminating I'll close my "Late Night Proverbial Reflections" for now, but I'd like to share two more maxims that come my mind. One is based from Liberia and it says "You cannot stop a bird from flying over your head, but you can stop it from nesting there." Does that make sense?

The other adage is based upon Ethiopian wisdom and it translates simply as "A word to a wise man is enough." Think about that one closely. Well, I have to go now because the rain has begun to lessened, but don't you (ever) stop getting wet from knowing and learning about the knowledge of your authentic culture, heritage and faith.

Let the rain of knowledge keep falling on your mind. And for this rainy day, and for all others to come, that's, "As I See It."





 

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