|Nduhu wangu wangu. (Sukuma)
Hakuna haraka. (Swahili)
Pas besoin de courir, prens-le modément. (French)
There is no rush. Take it easy. (English)
Sukuma (Tanzania) Saying
Background, Meaning and Everyday Use
The Sukuma Ethnic Group is the largest ethnic group (more than six million people) in Tanzania and live mainly in rural areas in the northwestern part of the country on or near the southern shores of Lake Victoria – mainly in the Mwanza and Shinyanga Regions.
Traditionally an oral culture, the Sukuma people use many types of oral literature such as proverbs, sayings, riddles, stories and songs to communicate values.
There is a Sukuma story called The Head Devil Teaches His Disciples. The original Sukuma is Bulang’wa wa Ng’wa Shetani and can be found on the
Nanetya Foundation: Ethnic Stories in Mother Tongues Website
82 Sukuma stories in the original are presently posted on this website.
This Sukuma story is also posted on the
Sukuma Legacy Project Website
20 revised and updated Sukuma stories are now posted on this website.
The teaching of this Sukuma story is that there are three different ways by which a false teacher can deceive and confuse people regarding the urgency of salvation. The first way is to say that there is no God. The second way is to say that there is no hell. The third way, and most effective, is the advice that includes the saying Nduhu wangu wangu (There is no rush. Take it easy). This is the devil’s way of deceiving us into delaying to make necessary changes in our lives, to put off repentance, not to take care of our spiritual life and to forget about God.
This saying is stated in the negative – an example of the elusiveness and paradox of African proverbs and sayings that often teach through opposites.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6: 33).
“For he says, ‘In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you. Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation’” (2 Corinthians 6: 2).
“But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive” (I Corinthians 15: 20-22).
Contemporary Use and Religious Application
This Sukuma saying has many applications to Christian life and salvation. There is an urgency to know and practice our faith. You can’t put it off. You can’t delay. Now is the acceptable time. Now is the time of our salvation.
SCC members can use this Sukuma saying in discussions and reflections about our Christian life and our responsibility for our salvation.
Rev. Donald Sybertz, MM
Mission St. Teresa’s
P.O. Box 321
Maryknoll, NY 10545-0321
Rev. Ernest Brunelle, MM
Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers
P. O. Box 305
Maryknoll NY 10545-0305
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Department of Fine Arts
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