|Ilelo ni lelo uyo agayombaga ntondo ali nongo. (Sukuma)
Leo ni leo asemaye kesho ni muongo. (Swahili)
Aujourd’hui, c’est aujourd’hui celui qui parle de demain est un menteur. (French)
Today is today whoever says tomorrow is a liar. (English)
Sukuma( Tanzania,) Proverb
Background, Meaning and Everyday Use
The Sukuma are a Bantu Ethnic group from the southeastern African Great Lakes region. They are the largest ethnic group in Tanzania with an estimated of 10,945,000 people according to the 2016 Ethnologue: Languages of the World that makes 16 percent of the country’s total populations.
The word ‘Sukuma’ means North. It refers to people of the North. They mainly live near Lake Victoria, in the regions of Mwanza, Shinyanga, Geita, Simiyu, Tabora and Katavi. They speak the Sukuma language which belongs to the Bantu branch of the Niger-Congo family.
This Sukuma ethnic group uses Songs, Proverbs, Riddles and Sayings for educating, entertaining, consoling and warning societal members. One of the proverbs says today is today whoever says tomorrow is a liar.
The above proverb talks about the benefit of using well our daily time because each day has its own activities. There was a student who was studying at Imalabupina School of Kishapu District in Shinyanga Region. This student was told by his colleagues that he should study well every day. But he answered, “I will study for myself tomorrow.” The day of the exams came and he was unable to take them because of not studying well every day during his given time at the school. That is why his colleagues told him that today is today whoever says tomorrow is a liar.
Such a situation caused him to get a “Failure” when his results came out. He found out that his classmates who had nicely used their time well had performed well enough to continue with higher studies as well as get employed with good salaries. Students who got bad results agreed that today is today whoever says tomorrow is a liar.
Leviticus 19:11: “You shall not steal. You shall not deceive or speak falsely to one another.”
Matthew 25:13: “Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
Mathew 21:28 — 31: “What is your opinion? A man had two sons. He came to the first and said, ‘Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.’ He said in reply, ‘I will not,’ but afterwards he changed his mind and went. The man came to the other son and gave the same order. He said in reply, ‘Yes, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did his father’s will?” They answered, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the Kingdom of God before you.”
Contemporary Use And Religious Application
This proverb teaches Christians to get rid of laziness by making good use of their daily time for spreading the Good News of Christ to their societal members through their practical lives.
It imparts in them an idea on participating together in letting the Lord Jesus be known to those whom they live with through their talents without waiting for tomorrow. They should use the Small Christian Communities (SCCs) for inviting their societal members to come together for praying at every an arranged time without postponing it.
They should not doubt about their faith in God by transparently using their free will to do the will of God. “A person has been created in the image of God a figure that indicates that he is an intelligent person, who is free and self-reliant with free will and control over his actions.” Refer to the first chapter of the book An Understanding of St. Thomas Aquinas on Free Will written by Father Zakaria Kashinje, OSA.
Small Christian Community Members should be diligent in carrying on praying every day without postponing their prayers because they do not know the coming day of the Lord. They should invite one each to do so by saying today is today whoever says tomorrow is a liar.
See No. 1143. ILELO NI LELO UYO AGAYOMBAGA NTONDO ALI NONGO in the Sukuma Legacy Project https://sukumalegacy.org It includes Swahili and English translations.
Sister Lucia Deus Shelembi
Rev. Zakaria Kashinje, OSA
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania