Okisa buluale khuliulila bililo. (Bukusu)
Bukusu (Kenya) Proverb
Background, Explanation, History, Meaning and Everyday Use
The Bukusu are one of the 17 Kenyan ethnic groups of the Luhya Bantu people of East Africa. Calling themselves BaBukusu, they are the largest ethnic group of the Luhya nation, making up about 17% of the Luhya population. They speak Bukusu dialect.
The Bukusu myths of origin state that the first man, Mwambu (the” discoverer” or “inventor”), was made from mud by Wele Khakaba at a place called Mumbo (which translates as “West”’). God then created a wife for Mwambu, a woman called Sela. Mwambu and his descendants moved out of Mumbo and settled on the foothills of Mount Elgon, known to them as (Masaba) from where their descendants grew to form the current Bukusu population. Anthropologists believe that the Bukusu did not become a distinct grouping apart from the rest of the Luhya population until, at the very earliest, the late 18th Century. They moved into Central Uganda as part of a much larger group of people, many forming the eastern extension of the great Bantu migration out of central Africa.
The proverb is a warning to those who would want to hide an enemy or evil or a sickness which could eventually cause them greater harm than good. The evil or enemy is likened to an illness that if not dealt with could eventually lead to death.
Job 31:33-34 “If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom: as Adam did I fear a great multitude, or did the contempt of families terrify me, that I kept silence, and went not out of the door?”
Contemporary Use and Religious Application
In this case a sin or a wrongdoing against our God should not be hidden; instead it should be confessed in all sincerity and forgiveness sought since nothing can be hidden by us for God who sees everything that we do. Forgiveness from God brings healing to our soul and right standing with God leads to eternal life with Him. To use an analogy from the animal kingdom the two photographs portray the antelope, who unaware of the danger, is seeking protection from the lioness who could kill and eat it at any time.
Sudi Jeremiah Wamukota
Dept. of Art and Design
Kenyatta University; Nairobi, KENYA,