|Kashingi muditela, muena bwalu buenda mudimanya. (Luba)
Asikiaye uchungu wa sindano, ni yule anaye ibeba. (Swahili)
Seul celui qui porte l’aiguille dans ses vêtements connait la gêne. (French)
Only the one carrying a needle in his or her clothes knows the discomfort. (English)
Luba (Democratic Republic of the Congo) Proverb
Background, Meaning And Everyday Use
Tshiluba is a member of the Bantu language family spoken by about 9.5 million people, chiefly in the Kasai occidental and Kasai provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where it is one of the national languages along with Lingala, Swahili and Kongo. It is spoken mainly in western and Eastern Kasai. Other names for the language include the Luba-Kasai and Luba-Lulwa dialects. There are significant dialectic differences between the Eastern dialect of East Kasai Region spoken by Luba people and a Western dialect of West Kasai Region spoken by the Lulwa people.
The Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo is divided administratively into Kasai–occidental and Kasai–oriental. It shares its name with the Kasai River. After the independence of Congo, it seceded for a while under influence of Belgium and became an independent kingdom.
After the death of Patrice Lumumba, the Kasai came back to Congo. The Luba began to coalesce into a single unified state under the leadership of kings ruling by divine sanction. The Mulopwe or King was drawn from the Balopwe, a group who acted as intermediaries between the world of humans and the world of spirits and ancestors.
The proverb means that even though people try to conceal their shortcomings, they still feel the toll of the same on their conscience.
Genesis 35:16-17: “While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, ‘Don’t despair, for you will have another son.’”
Proverbs 14:10: “The heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.”
(Romans 8:22): “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”
Contemporary Use And Religion Application
A child always laughs at his/her dying pregnant mother. (Bembe Proverb, DRC). A pregnant woman always lives in pain, yet a child does not understand the effects of pregnancy. It always makes him/her laugh at his/her mother, since he/she does not know the pain that the mother is going through. Today the world is in both humanitarian and health crises that are an emergency. Humanity is in pain and tears everywhere because of war and the Covid-19 pandemic. Many people have been forced to leave their countries because of wars and insecurity. Also there racism. People are being discriminated against because of their race, ethnicity, religion or political affiliation. Others have lost their loved ones because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This disease does not discriminate.
You cannot feel what refugees are going through until you are forced to leave your country of origin, sleep under a tree in the forest and stay days without food. Discrimination means nothing to people until one becomes a victim. For many people as long as you are healthy and all your surroundings are fine, you will never say that the coronavirus exists and that people need prevention or need to wear a mask.
However, there is “hope” for those who believe in God and his beloved Son, Jesus Christ. As Christians, we are urged to be optimists and believe that one day God will wipe away all our pains and tears.
Text and Photos by:
Elias Bushiri Elie
Cellphone: +254 741 497 556