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Site Last Update: 12 Nov, 2019

May 1999: "The "hurry-hurry" person eats goat; the one who takes his or her time (or hesitates) eats beef. " - Sesotho (Lesotho and South Africa) Proverb

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Lepotla-potla le ja poli; lesisitheho le ja khomo.
The "hurry-hurry" person eats goat; the one who takes his or her time (or hesitates) eats beef.

Sesotho (Lesotho and South Africa) Proverb

Explanation:
Angora goats are raised throughout the mountains of Lesotho in Southern Africa. Their coats of mohair are a major agricultural export. Sometimes the Basotho people do eat the goats. However, the cow is the animal that the Basotho people prize, love and respect. Cattle are the animals slaughtered on special occasions, the focus of bridal negotiations between families and the chief measure of wealth. The Basotho even have a saying: "Khomo ke banka ea Mosotho" ("A cow is the bank of a Sotho person"). Thus the goat symbolizes something which is merely economic and rather superficial from a Sotho perspective. The cow symbolizes all that is deeply meaningful about life and family. Goat meat may feed the body, but beef feeds the soul.

This proverb (often only the first half is quoted and the rest is taken for granted) is an excellent warning for time-conscious Westerners in time-oblivious Africa. Life is too short to spend hurrying. Only the person who takes his or her time in life will ever "get to eat beef," that is, be deeply satisfied by the truly meaningful things in life. Perhaps the West is starting to learn this lesson. An American writer has recently noted, "Almost nothing of any lasting spiritual significance is ever done by anyone who is in a hurry." He adds the observation that the Gospels never describe Jesus as being in a hurry. Jesus knew better, and so do the Basotho people.


Dr. Stan Nussbaum
Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA

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