By Evans Nyakundi
Reviewed by Joseph Kariuki
This new collection of endangered African proverbs is the latest collection by Evans Nyakundi. The collection of 321 Gusii (Kenya) proverbs marks the end of the second phase of Nyakundi’s work of collecting and consolidating Gusii proverbs. He had previously collected eighty (80) proverbs and it is revealing to note that his second phase has yielded 241 more proverbs. This work is a testimony that there are still more and more uncollected proverbs that are out there which could go down to waste if they are not put together even in the simple format that the Endangered African proverbs collections take, of privately duplicating and bidding.
The collection takes a simple format of writing the proverb in the original Gusii language, offering an English translation and explanation. The collection is enriched further with biblical parallels each of the Gusii proverbs which was perhaps the most enormous task to Evans in this collection. The format Nyakundi has adopted eases the work of proverbs user’s who have interest in practical inculturation. The notion of inculturation is further enhanced through the incorporation of other important social cultural aspects of the Gusii people such as the social structure of the community, religious ceremonies and rites as well as steps in marriage, all with Christian equivalent. Other inclusions are compass directions, days of the week and months of the year all in Gusii and English translations.
Evans Nyakundi is a librarian with Hekima college (Nairobi, Kenya) which is also the regional centre for African proverbs project in East Africa.