|Giriama : Mjeni loka mwenyeji apone
English: It is obvious when you receive a visitor and you cook for him or her you will eat too
Swahili :Ni kawaida ukipata mgeni na umpikie,nawe pia utakula.
French: Ilest indubitable que le visiteurrégalebien le visité.
Giriama (Kenya) Proverb
Background, Explanation, History, Meaning and Everyday Use
The Giriama are one of the nine ethnic groups that make up the Mijikenda (which literally translates to “nine towns”). The Mijikenda people include the Giriama, Digo, Duruma, Rabai, Kambe, Chonyi, Jibana, Kauma and Ribe. They live along the Kenyan and Tanzania coasts.
They live together as a group of their extended families, residing in homesteads, usually three generations – a father, his wife or wives, all of his sons, the sons’ wives, any unmarried children, and grandchildren. This set up creates a community bound together in love and unity, sharing common norms and beliefs. This proverb expresses that there are benefits reaped from doing good deeds.
They have a philosophy about sharing proceeds and believe that anyone who helps with the work gets a portion of the harvest. This culture of sharing creates cohesion in the family and community in general. Positive social values are promote by believing in doing good deeds for each other.
So we Christians should be a people characterized and marked by love. We will naturally and readily move towards loving other people, not just those who are like us, or are in our churches, or those we love, but everyone. be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us” (Titus 2:7-9)
“If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.” (John 12:26)
“… and is well known for her good deeds, such as bringing up children, showing hospitality, washing the feet of the Lord’s people, helping those in trouble and devoting herself to all kinds of good deeds.” (1Timothy 5:10)
Contemporary Use and Religious Application
In the Bible, St. James states that faith by itself without works, is dead.” He goes on to say: “You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone …” (James 2:14). To be saved we need faith but we also need works. The foundation of it all, God commands us in His Word to do good works and to live good lives, and as those who love Him we ought to obey Him.
If we understand evangelism itself, as a deep and profound act of love for another person,we shall be able to love people, instead of having regard for ourselves. In fact, if we are Christians whose love and compassion is aroused by spiritual needs, then sharing the gospel will always be in the forefronts of our minds.
NOTE: This proverb is No. 40 in the Collection of 100 Giriama (Mijikenda) Proverbs (Nairobi, Kenya 2015).
Explanation provided by:
P. O. Box 3897
00200 Nairobi, Kenya
Photographs provided by
Cephas Yao Agbemenu
Department of Fine Arts
P.O. Box 43844