|Bhadza gulu ipa nlimi, kupa simbe inoma nalo. (Kalanga)
Jembe mpe mkulima mwenye bidii, unampa mvivu anasimama nalo. (Swahili)
Donnez la houe au cultivateur qui travaille dur, vous donnez au paresseux, il se tient debout avec. (French)
Give the hoe to the hard working farmer; if you give to the lazy person he or she stands with it. (English)
Kalanga (Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa,) Proverb
Background, Meaning and Everyday Use
The Kalanga (also known as the Bakalanga Bakalaka) mainly inhabit far western Zimbabwe and Northeastern Botswana. They have been estimated to number around 850,000 today, but probably now much fewer. In Zimbabwe Kalanga-speaking areas are now much reduced and many of Kalanga heritages now identify themselves as Ndebele or mixed, especially in the urban areas of Bulawayo. The Kalangas are one of the largest minority groups in Botswana. The 1946 census indicated that there were 22,777 (40% of the numerically largest district) Kalanga in the Bamangwato (Central) District.
The Bakalanga has a very rich artistic tradition including music, dance, fine arts and crafts and literature. Traditionally Africans passed on knowledge through music and dance. Music and dance were part of ceremonies and rites of passage; in many places, they still are. Culture is still passed on through praise songs (equivalent to poems), stories and proverbs.
Traditionally, work is divided along gender lines. Most domestic work, such as cooking, brewing, and housekeeping, is performed by women. Men work outside the home tending cattle, hunting and cultivating land. However, women also participate in farming. They usually do jobs that are considered “light” such as planting and cultivation. These roles are changing, however. Men help with some of the roles that were once set aside for women, and women and girls now herd and milk cattle. The colonial government did not allow women, especially black women, to work outside the home. Despite these constraints, women found their way into cities to seek work. The independent government abolished labor discrimination against women. As a result, the number of women working in factories, corporate offices and government positions increased. There is still much to be done, however, for women as well as the disabled, to improve their situation.
In this Kalanga proverb people are encouraged to work hard because working hard helps to fight laziness. More important, the hard working give more and produce more.
Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”
Ecclesiastes 9:10: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all you might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.”
1 Timothy 5:8: “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
Genesis 2:15: “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”
Luke 16:10: “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”
Proverbs 10:4-5: “Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth. He who gathers crops in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.”
Contemporary Use And Religious Application
The Bible teaches that hard work is a good pursuit because it gives you opportunity to serve God in ways that fulfill your purpose and contribute to others. God worked hard to create the universe and proclaimed creation to be good. God entrusted humanity to work to care for creation. Hard work involves faithfully doing our best with the abilities God has given us to contribute to the world. God prioritizes working and he is always at work. Working hard yourself is a choice that can flow out of your gratitude for God who is working hard for you. Hard work is also an important way of staying accountable to God for the contributions you are meant to make in this world. Not only are you living evidence of God’s good work yourself, but God has also prepared good work for you to do during your earthly life.
Laziness is among the top enemies of employees and students. There are many people who are actually intelligent and have the capacity to get what they want. However, because they lack hard work they fail to accomplish their goals and end up unsuccessful all their lives. Probably you are among the people who are struggling with laziness, and you want to get rid of it from your system already. The good news is there are a lot of ways to overcome this culprit.
God’s Word makes it very clear that as Christians we are instructed to work hard and put our best effort forward. The Bible, especially in the wisdom-filled book of Proverbs, speaks often of the cause and effect relationship of hard work and rewards as well as laziness and ruin. Colossians also tells us that: “Christians should “work with all their heart as working for the Lord”. Our work is probably one of the greatest testimonies of our faith!
Texts and photos by:
Elias Bushiri Élie
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Eli@s B. Élie (Facebook)