African Proverb of The Month
June 2010


Mamina maushibana indi wamashika.  (Lega)
Abandonne la danse que tu es incapable de pratiquer. (French)
Achana na dansi usioweza kupiga au kucheza. (Swahili)
Leave alone a dance you are unable to perform. (English)

Lega (Democratic Republic Congo) Proverb

Background, Explanation, Meaning and Everyday Use

In Bulegaland (where the Lega-speaking people live) in the South-Kivu part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) there exists a variety of dances. Among them we can mention “Kalalila,” ”Kabindubindu,” “Kambaya” and “Mindaba.” While the Kalalila is performed by the class of Bami (“Elders”) and their wives, the Kabindubindu is for adults. They dance by shaking intensively their buttocks while holding their waists. The Kambaya dance is performed by couples while the Mindaba and the modern Malinga are for both youth and adults and requires a lot of body movements and exercises. Due the variety of skills needed in each dance, it is not easy to master all of them, and that is why a good “Mindabalist” cannot be a good “Kabindubindulist.” Those who try to master both dances fail badly. For that reason counsel is given to dancers to choose which dance they are able to perform perfectly and at the same time avoid mixing dances.

Biblical Parallels

In Luke Chapter 15:25-27 the elder brother of the Prodigal Son calls one of the servants to inquire why people are singing and dancing at their family home before he makes a decision to join them or not.

Contemporary Use and Religious Application

DancersPractically in all sectors of life it is wise to know one’s limits. One should always know and accept his or her limitations. Do not engage yourself to do what you are unable to accomplish. Don’t force two incompatible things. Specialize in what you are able to do rather than engaging yourself in things you are not able to do. This includes avoiding hypocrisy.

NOTE: This is No. 62 in 106 Lega Proverbs D. R. Congo -- a Collection and Interpretation of Lega Proverbs in French and English by Sim Kilosho Kabale and Dr. Baalamo. This is one booklet in the series of Endangered African Proverbs Collections. It will be posted as an ebook on our website at:

Dr. Sim Kilosho Kabale
Senior Lecturer -- Dept. of Foreign Languages
Kenyatta University
P.O. Box 43844
00100 Nairobi, Kenya
E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Illustrations provided by:

Professor Cephas Yao Agbemenu
Department of Fine Arts
Kenyatta University
P.O. Box 43844
Nairobi, Kenya
Cellphone: 0723-307992
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it