|Mucii ni wa muthuri na mutumia. (Gikuyu)
Nyumba ni ya mume na mke. (Swahili)
La maison est pour mari et la femme (French)
Home is for a husband and a wife. (English)
Gikuyu (Kenya) Proverb
Background, Explanation, History, Meaning and Everyday Use
A child is born from marriage between a man and a woman. After the child is born he/she is brought up in an environment that has taboos and beliefs. The child grows and becomes a grown up and when he grows up, parents sees that the child is now an adult and is ready to get a wife so that he can start a family. Before then the boy stays in a small hut. According to the local taboos and beliefs this small house is not called Nyumba until he marries — that is when a home is built by a man and a woman. There is no family that is built by one person. That is why the proverb says that the house or home is for the husband, wife and children. It is God who saw that it is not good for a person to live alone. That is why the Gikuyu people followed the saying of the almighty God, beholder of the mighty, the creator of the universe.
Ephesians 5:31 – 33: As scripture says: “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife and the two will become one.” There is a deep secret truth revealed in this scripture that I understand as applying to Christ and the church. But it is also applied to us. Every husband must love his wife as himself and every wife must respect her husband. This is the home that has been created with the love of God.
Contemporary Use and Religious Application
This proverb can be used in various situations of marriage preparation and counseling.
To the request on our African Proverbs, Sayings and Stories Facebook Page: “Please contribute an African Proverb or Saying on ‘family’ and ‘marriage’ for our meeting on Saturday, 23 November, 2013. If possible mention the country and language. Thanks.” There were 75 responses. This Gikuyu Proverb is one of the 46 examples posted in Appendix No. 22 in a free online Ebook at: http://www.smallchristiancommunities.org/ebooks/47-ebooks-.html
The October, 2014 III Extraordinary World Synod of Bishops in Rome will “define” the “status quaestionis” (Latin for “state of the question”) of the topic of the family and marriage. Then the next synod – officially called the Synod of Bishops XIV Ordinary General Assembly — to take place in Rome in October, 2015 — will ”seek working guidelines in the pastoral care of the person and the family.” Hopefully African people can be involved in this whole process and contribute African values on family and marriage.
Mwalimu Simon Rurinjah
P.O. Box 43058
00100 Nairobi, Kenya
Photographs selected by:
Professor Cephas Yao Agbemenu
Department of Fine Arts
P.O. Box 43844