• Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Site Last Update: 11 Dec, 2019
E-mail Print PDF

African Proverb of the Month
May, 2007

Akakhura keetsa inyungu ebuleka. (Luyia)

Pombe ya kienyeji inayochachushwa vibaya huharibika. (Swahili)

Beer that will spoil ferments unequally. (English )

Luyia (Kenya) Proverb

Background, Explanation, Meaning and Everyday Use

Beer and social drinking is an important element of the social life of the Abaluyia. people in Kenya. Beer is also important because it is offered to ancestors as libation. Well prepared beer is therefore to be celebrated and the person (usually a woman) who makes good beer is honoured. Her home is frequented by many beer lovers.

Beer preparation requires skill to correctly measure and mix ingredients and patience as they ferment. If after mixing the ingredients, it turns out that fermenting is equally spread in the brewing pot then the brewer can tell that the beer will mature properly. However, if fermenting happens only on one side of the pot, it is a sign that the beer will not mature well. Often there is very little the brewer can do at this stage to remedy the situation.

In life one may do his work hoping that things will go well. Sometimes that is the case and other times it is not. This Luyia proverb can be used to encourage someone who is on the verge of giving up. It is also used to encourage a person who has done his best and yet the outcome is disappointing. Certain things are beyond human control and are best left in the hands of God. Often parents use this Kenyan proverb when their children turn out badly in spite of their good and tireless efforts to bring them up correctly. In resignation they say Akakhura keetsa inyungu ebuleka. The proverb may also be used to console a person who finds himself or herself engulfed by circumstances beyond their control. They have done their best but certain things are impossible to control. The proverb is similar to the Swahili proverb la kuvunda halina ubani.


Biblical Parallels


"For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it" (James 2:10).

Contemporary Use and Religious Application

You should raise a child by helping him or her to appreciate different cultures and traditions. This is very important in today's multi-cultural world.

NOTE: This is Proverb 22 in Luyia Proverbs (from Kisa, Marama, Tsotso and Wanga)

By Tim Wambunya

London: Luyia Publishing Company, 2005.
60 pages.
ISBN: 996605009-4
£ 5.00 (including postage) from: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
300 Kenyan Shillings in Kenyan bookshops

Timothy Wambunya

145, Hornsey Road

London, N7 6DU

Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

With additional material by Mrs. Rose Musimba, Nairobi, Kenya.