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Site Last Update: 14 Dec, 2019
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African Proverb of the Month
February 2010

Totiana maseta, gwatiana masetoka. (Gusii)
Usijisifu kuwa mutendaji wa jambo kabla, lakini jisifu baada ya kutenda. (Swahili)
Ne te glorifie pas d’être brave avant l’evenement mais glorifie toi après. (French)
Do not boast about yourself before performing an event, but after the event. (English)

Gusii (Kenya) Proverb

Background, Explanation, Meaning and Everyday Use

In the Kisii Ethnic Group in Southwestern Kenya many people especially hunters used to boast how they will kill their prey for their evening meals, but most often they never killed anything. The high hopes created in the family members ended in dismay with the hunters even missing their meals. It also made the hunters appear as failures in their boasting. This proverb was used to warn those people who boasted about themselves for being experts in doing things or making things happen as they wished without giving consideration to the factors that may make their mission fail. One may plan what he or she wants to do tomorrow, but when tomorrow comes, the situation changes. People value those who boast about themselves for what they have already done, not for what good they will do tomorrow or in future. Tomorrow has its own factors that may not be seen by those living today.

Biblical Parallels

Jeremiah 9:23-24: “Thus says the Lord; do not let the wise boast in their wisdom, do not let the mighty boast in their might, do not let the wealthy boast in their wealth. But let those who boast, boast in this, that they understand and know me, that I am the Lord. I act with steadfast love, justice, and righteousness on the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord.”

Proverbs 27:1: “Do not boast about tomorrow for you do not know what a day may bring.”

Contemporary Use and Religious Application

A contemporary use of this proverb is the Constitution Making Process in Kenya where we find individual leaders and parties boasting about having a good Constitution in the future when in reality those leaders are themselves the obstacles. Equally in our own country’s history we have not been cohesive enough to reach certain committed agreements.

Mr. Evans K. Nyakundi
Hekima College Library
P.O. Box 21215
00505 Adams Arcade, Nairobi, Kenya
Cellphone: 0722-566445
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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