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Site Last Update: 09 Dec, 2019

December 2015 Major problems have solution with the old men. Eton (Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and São Tome) Proverb


Botbeupeukbo be teunyen ban a boromevo’o (Eton)
Mambo makubwa inabadilishwa na wazee (Swahili)
Major problems have solution with the old men (English)
Les grands problèmes trouvent solution avec les vieux (French)

Eton (Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and São Tome) Proverb

Background, Explanation, History, Meaning and Everyday Use

‘’ETON’’ is a language from Cameroon from the Centre region of Cameroon. As part of the ‘’ Beti’’ ethnical group, the language which carries the name of the tribes is spoken by almost 2 million of Cameroonian. The Beti-Pahuin are a Bantu ethnic group located in rain forest regions of Cameroon, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and São Tomé . Though they separate themselves into several individual clans, they all share a common origin, history and culture. They were numbered at an estimated 8,320,000 individuals in the early 21st century and are the largest ethnic group in Cameroon, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. Their languages, from the Bantu subgroup of the Niger–Congo language family, are mutually intelligible.

The Beti-Pahuin are made up of over 20 individual clans. Altogether, they inhabit a territory of forests and rolling hills that stretches from the Sanaga River in the north to Equatorial Guinea and the northern halves of Gabon to Congo to the south, and from the Atlantic Ocean to the west to the Dja River in the east. The first grouping, called the Beti, consists of the Ewondo (more precisely Kolo), Bane, Fang (more precisely M'fang), Mbida-Mbane, Mvog-Nyenge, and Eton (or Iton). The Eton are further subdivided into the Eton-Beti, Eton-Beloua, and Beloua-Eton. Their language (or Beti dialect), also called Ewondo, is the most widely spoken of the Beti languages in Cameroon, with an estimated 1,200,000 speakers in 1982. It serves as a lingua franca in Yaoundé and much of the rest of Cameroon's Centre and South Provinces. The Eton lives primarily in the Lekie division of Cameroon's Centre Province with major settlements at Sa'a and Obala. They speak the Eton language or dialect, which had 500,000 speakers in 1982.

Most individuals maintain an agrarian lifestyle. Manioc and maize form the staple crops with plantains, yams, and groundnuts also playing a vital role (in fact, "Ewondo" and "Yaoundé" mean "groundnut"). A variety of forest products, such as greens, insects, mushrooms, and various palm products, supplements the diet. Livestock is limited to small animals that may be left to forage unattended, such as goats, pigs, and chickens. These are typically saved for special occasions such as funerals or New Year's Day. Instead, the main source of animal protein during the year, comes from bush meat, that is, wild game such as pangolin, porcupine, and monkey brought in by jungle hunters. Likewise, fishing is central to the lives of many Beti-Pahuin, particularly in Equatorial Guinea and São Tomé and Príncipe.

Biblical parallels

I, a fellow elder, exhort the elders among you, I being also witness of the sufferings of Messiah, and being sharer of the glory about to be revealed: Feed the flock of Elohim which is entrusted to your care, and shepherd them spiritually, not by compulsion, but willingly; not for money sake, but with all your heart; nor as exercising dominion over the ones allotted to you, but becoming examples of the flock. And at the appearing of the Chief Shepherd, you will receive the never fading crown of glory. Likewise, younger ones are subject to older ones; and all being subject to one another. Put on humility, because Elohim sets Himself "Against proud ones, but His gives grace to the humble." 1Peter1:1-5

And King Rehoboam consulted with the elders who had been standing before the face of his father Solomon while he was alive, saying, How do you advise in order to answer this people? 1 kings 12:6

And all the elders of Israel gathered and came in to Samuel, to Ramah. And they said to him, Behold, you have become old, and your sons have not walked in your ways. Now appoint a king to us, to judge us, like all the nations. 1Samuel 8:4-5

Teach the older men to be temperate, sensible, pure, sound in faith, in love, in patience; teach the older women likewise to behave as becomes the worship of Elohim, not false accusers, not being enslaved by much wine, but to become teachers of good things, that they might train the young women to be modest, to love their husbands, and their children. Titus 2:2-4

And the king said to the wise men who knew the times (for so was the king's manner toward all who knew law and judgment; what shall be done with Queen Vashti according to law, because she has not done the command of King Ahasuerus by the eunuchs? For the matter of the queen shall go out to all women, to make their husbands despised in their eyes, in their saying that King Ahasuerus said to bring in Vashti the queen before him, but she did not come. If it please the king, let there be a royal decree from him, and let it be written among the laws of Persia and Media so that it shall not pass away, that Vashti come no more before King Ahasuerus. And let the king give her royal estate to another one, who is better than she is. Esther 1:13, 15, 17, 19


Contemporary Use and Religious Application

During the time of Israelites elders were the family chief and clan. Elders of one village or city were the one responsible for Supreme Court. They were the ones who took care of their traditions. Major issues or projects are treated by great people starting from their vision, experience and expertise they have. Their vision, their experience and expertise make them respectful in the community. So we recognize that they are wise and cannot tell lies or nonsense. From his reflections the wise man solves the riddles of the community that reflects the lucidity; the true solution because of having seen much and from these lessons of his experienced life, the situation can change in his community. As the major matters are changed by the wise old men depending on their age and the rank they occupy in the society this makes everybody agree with them and obey to their resolutions. Otherwise they are judges but also able persons to find solutions to hard problems of the community.

In any community there is some category of mature people who counsel, make decisions and rule for the good continuity of the community. A memorable wise man is the one who makes good decisions for building the future of his community. The wise know a little of everything: from youth to a certain age, they had passed through different situations, events that had made them wise. The failures and successes experienced help to prevent hazards and improve the future. Only the advices of a wise may decide the future of a person and its community.


LAUR MWEPU
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Cephas Y, Agbemenu
Kenyatta University
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Nairobi Kenya
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