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Site Last Update: 09 Dec, 2019
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  Uwaingila mu mushintu, tomfwa nswanswa.
One who enters the forest does not listen to the breaking of the twigs in the brush.

Bemba (Zambia) Proverb


One who embarks upon a task should not begin to fear or look for the slightest obstacles in his or her endeavors. The person should remain focused on the task despite what one may hear or see in the process of the quest. Ignoring fruitless or imaginary distractions is the key to achievement.

fScriptural Parallels to the Proverb: f From his first appearance in public (see Mark 1:14-15), Jesus made clear that he intended to teach people how to live in the reign of God with love and compassion, peace and justice, holiness and freedom. His ultimate intent was that all might come to fullness of life here on earth and hereafter for eternity. "I came that you might have life and have it to the full" (John 10:10). Even with violent opposition, opposition that saw him crucified on the cross, Jesus remained faithful to the will of his father.

Application of the Proverb: This proverb is widely used in Zambia for many ceremonies, for example, at weddings, religious vow ceremonies, priestly ordinations, initiation ceremonies, etc. It is meant to encourage people to remain faithful in their tasks and vocations, especially those calls that are meant to bring life to others.

Seminarian James Mulenga, S.J.
Jesuit Community, Boston College, U.S.A.

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