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African Proverb of the Month
February, 2006

Azru n-tmazirt yuf mraw n-wasif. (Southern Tashelhayt Berber)
A stone from home is worth ten from the riverbed. (English)
Une pierre de chez soi vaut dix de l'oued (French)

 

Southern Tashelhayt Berber (Algeria, Morocco) Proverb


Background,
Explanation, Meaning and Everyday Use

The Berbers are members of any of various peoples living in northern Africa west of Tripoli. The Berber language is a branch of the Afro-Asiatic language family comprising languages spoken by various peoples of northern Africa and the Sahara.

A girl from one's own village will know what is expected of her. So a man is advised to settle for a local girl rather than a stranger from the outside, from who-knows-where. Everyone knows that a round boulder washed down by the stream will be useless for building, while a slab cut from the cliff nearby will fit squarely into the wall. One stone at home is more important than ten stones far away.

Biblical Parallels

Luke 15: 8-10: "Parable of the Lost Coin."

Contemporary Use and Religious Application

What you have with you, what is close by is more helpful and valuable than that which is far way, that which you need to follow after. Compare to the Kikuyu, Kenya proverb: Don't lose the four that you already have while running after the eight. Compare to the worldwide proverb: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

NOTE: This proverb is taken from page 42 of the book Pretty as a Moonlit Donkey: A Whimsical Jaunt Down the Proverbial Byways of Moroccan Folklore by Robert Dann. Chester: Jacaranda Books, 2000. 64 pages. This full write-up has been done in collaboration with our African Proverbs Research Committee. For more information contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

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