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Site Last Update: 11 Dec, 2019
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African Proverb of the Month
October, 1999

Getutu kere maiso.
The bush in which you hide has eyes.

Gusii ( Kenya )


A secret is compared to a bush in which a person hides, that is, your hiding place. On one level the proverb warns you to choose a good place to hide your secrets in order to make sure that your secrets are safe and will later be used for the well being of others. However, your bad secrets will be exposed. This Gusii proverb teaches the bad features of pretense, hypocrisy and hiding the truth.

A scripture parallel is Luke 12:1b-3: "Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, that is, their hypocrisy. Nothing is covered up that will not be uncovered, and nothing secret that will not become known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be proclaimed from the housetops."

This proverb is used mainly in the Kisii Ethnic Group in Kenya during ceremonies of initiation and during the appointment of people to leadership positions. The proverb encourages people not to pretend in carrying out their responsibilities, but rather to serve faithfully and openly. What they do in pretense or "in the dark" will always haunt them later.

Mr. Evans K. Nyakundi
Hekima College Library
Nairobi, Kenya