African Proverb of the Month
Kicaa pa ladit pe dong nono. (Acholi)
Mkoba wa mzee hauishiwi kabisa. (Swahili)
An elder’s handbag is never completely empty. (English)
Acholi (Uganda, Sudan) Proverb
Background, Explanation, Meaning and Everyday Use
The Acholi people live mainly in Northern Uganda. Traditionally elders were the source of wisdom. So the meaning of this proverb is that an old person being wise always prepares for difficult times.
The story of the five wise virgins and the five foolish virgins calls attention to the need to stay awake and be vigilant (see Matthew 25:13). The five wise virgins and the African elders always prepare ahead of time, always are ready.
Contemporary Use and Religious Application
This Acholi proverb has a lot to teach our contemporary society that is always prone to disasters especially as regards environmental and ecology factors. These could be averted if only we heed the guidance of God who is the Elder Per-excellence.
Rev. Thomas Komakech, AJ.
General Council – Apostles of Jesus
P.O. Box 24946, Karen,
00502 Nairobi, Kenya
Illustrations provided by:
Professor Cephas Yao Agbemenu
Department of Fine Arts
P.O. Box 43844