Proverbs are wise sayings that are password guided . It often needs to be decoded with wisdom before the ordinary mind can understand. If the literal translation is used, it makes less sense until it is decoded to the understanding of everyone. That is when the true meaning is appreciated. Africa is known for its Proverbs. Here are a few from Ghana.
1) Woforo Dua Pa a Na Ye Pia Wo:
Literal Meaning: It is when you climb a good tree that we push you.
Meaning Decoded: Society supports a good course not a bad one and so if you need support chart a good course. Basically, Society supports and identifies with good deeds.
2) Tikro Nkoro Nko Agyina :
Literal Meaning: One head (or person) does not hold council.
Meaning Decoded : We cannot refer to one person discussing an issue with himself as a meeting. We need a group of people to hold a meeting. This proverb is similar to the English one that says “two heads are better than one.”
3)Hu m’ani so ma me nti na atwe mmienu nam:
Literal Meaning: It is because of “blow the dust off my eyes” that two antelopes walk together.
Meaning Decoded : Two is better than one. The benefit of having a supporter with you is enough to see you through. Thus this idea of collaboration rather than competition is the message being communicated here.
4) Aboa bi beka wo a, ne ofiri wo ntoma mu :
Literal Meaning: If an animal will bite you, it will be from your cloth.
Meaning Decoded : It is likely that the people who will harm you are those close to you.
5) Anoma anntu a, obua da :
Literal Meaning: if a bird does not fly, it goes to bed hungry.
Meaning Decoded: If you want to make a living, you must make a move or take action. You cannot do nothing and expect not to go hungry. It can also be understood as “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” for the bird takes risk by flying, yet, without that there will be no hope of finding food and starving will kill it. This applies to us men too.
In conclusion our Proverbs as Africans makes us different. I remember I read some Nigerian books in my Literature class and it was filled with proverbs. That makes us unique. We the new generation of Africans should endeavor to pass it on so that it is never lost.