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Site Last Update: 16 Nov, 2019
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African Proverb of the Month
October, 2002

Makiume sasurwet ak kebet. (Nandi)
Huwezi kutumia majani ya mgomba wa kichakani kujizuzia mvua na baada ya mvua kuiisha uikatakate. (Swahili)
You cannot use a wild banana leaf to shield yourself from the rains and then tear it to pieces later when the rains come to an end. (English)

Nandi ( Kenya ) Proverb

Explanation, Meaning and Everyday Use

This proverb has its origins in the fluctuating fortunes of the Nandi Ethnic Group in the Rift Valley in Kenya. Their communities have been through wars, droughts and other vagaries of life. Rain in this proverb symbolizes times of adversity, times of great need. The end of the rains implies a time when there is peace or calm has returned after a period of turmoil. In the course of these struggles, individuals enlist the support of friends to see them through the hardships. The proverb therefore admonishes people not to forget the help others have given them in times of trouble. The proverb is used to advise people not to forget their former situations or people when they finally overcome their hardships and dire situations and get to better situations. It is calling for people to be grateful to their past friends or situations and learn from them, and even thanking the Lord that they have finally gone through these hardships.

Biblical Parallels

The proverb has great similarities to the teaching God is giving the Israelites in Chapter 8 of Deuteronomy. God reminds the Israelites not to forget the wondrous works he has done in bringing them out of the bondage in Egypt. Verse 2 says: "Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the desert these 40 years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands." Then Verse 10 says: "When you have eaten and you are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you." The verses in this chapter ask people not to forget their past and the good that others have done to you.

Contemporary Use and Religious Application

Today this Nandi proverb is very useful in admonishing people and urging them to remember their God even after coming to prosperity for it is Him who gives you the power and ability to get the wealth that you are having. In other words when you get to "Canaan" you should never forget your God. Or in contemporary times when you have eaten to your satisfaction do not forget those who have been with you when you were toiling. When people are in poverty and in need, they pray very much, some even go to church quite often in attempt to seek favor with God. In other words, we impress God when we are in trouble but when God answers our prayers, we start to do things that do not impress Him. For instance, many other activities get into people's lives when they get into prosperity. Some who were tithing, and giving offerings in church start getting occupied by other activities even like drinking. They do not remember or even go to church or seek God.

Hilary Mibey
Eldoret, Kenya

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