|Búlamu bila bidii ele’ité Kinga éshi’été makúlú. (Bembe)
Maisha bila bidii ni kama baskeli bila miguu. (Swahili)
La vie sans courage est comme un velo sans pneux. (French)
Life without courage is like a bicycle without a wheel. (English)
Bembe (DR Congo) Proverb
Background, Meaning And Everyday Use
The Bembe people are also known as Babembe and speak Kibembe (Ebembe) as their ethnic language. They live in the southeastern part of Kivu province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), occupying two major territories, Fizi and Itombwe off the shores of Lake Tanganyika. They originated from the great Congo rain forest commonly known as Mitumba, so they are good hunters, farmers and fisherfolk. Their main crops include cassava, maize, rice and palm oil.
Most of the Bembe proverbs mention trees, animals, humans beings and other creatures of God. All these things they use in their daily lives as food, materials and for other purposes. These proverbs were created to shape people’s lives, to strengthen their relationships and thus keep them together. The most amazing thing is that a good number of these proverbs match with many advices found in Bible. Despite their meaningful words, Bembe proverbs are still unwritten and more need to be done in order to save them and thus keep the Bembe language alive.
This proverb is always used to encourage Bembe people, especially the youth in the community, that life has its ups and downs; it requires courage to make it successful and meaningful. It also encourages people not to shy away from challenges since they are part of life. It is better to face them and find a way to get out of any discomfort zone.
Numbers 13:20: “How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruits of the land.”
Deuteronomy 31:22:“The LORD gave this command to Joshua son of Nun: ‘Be strong and courageous,’ for you will bring the Israelites into the land I promised them on oath, and I myself will be with you.”
1 Samuel 17:32:“David said to Saul, ‘Let no one lose heart’ on account of this Philistine, your servant will go and fight him.”
Contemporary Use And Religion Application
What strengthened all soldiers we hear about in history to die fighting? What makes some people unafraid of losing thousands of money in investments? How do ethnic groups in Africa training their young men to be brave? It is “courage.”Courage is a sharp poisonous spear to death. It’s like wings that can make you fly above panic. We can’t walk in the thorny road to Canaan without that invisible creature called “Courage.” To move forward in the stiff challenges of life you need courage. It is courage and belief that made David fight with a lion, a bear and finally kill Goliath (1 Samuel 17:36-37). Christians are called to combat the devil and succeed over him. In all temptations you are required to be strong and courageous. (Joshua 1:6-7).
So to be bold, feed upon courage, drink courage and you finally become a superhero who fears God and nothing else. Courage can also help us during our present difficulties such as the Cov-19 pandemic.
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