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Report of the Meeting of the Kenya Proverbs Committee, Nairobi, Kenya, 22 March 2003


  1. Dr. Gerald Wanjohi
  2. Professor Monica Mweseli
  3. Evans Nyakundi
  4. Joseph Kariuki (Secretary)

The meeting started at 10:26 a.m. Joseph introduced the meeting by giving a highlight of the issues he and Rev. Joe Healey discussed over the telephone regarding the meeting on the 22nd February 2003. Some of the highlights were:

  1. Rev. Joe Healey is not the financial sponsor of the research projects but rather some personal contacts of his and different organizations in the USA.
  2. Evans Nyakundi's new project should be on Gusii stories and not on proverbs as he had already collected proverbs from the Gusii community in the "Endangered Proverbs Series."
  3. Concerning the increase of the grant for a single project, this would affect only subsequent projects but not the ones that had already been discussed, e.g. Jean Nyandwi and Evans Nyakundi.

The following matters arose out of the above issues.

  1. Appreciation of information that Joe himself was not the financial sponsor
  2. Evans said that he did not understand the question of his collection of stories ahead of the finalization of issues of his previous collection of proverbs in Gusii. He said that although Rev. Healey had asked him to work on the second collection of Gusii proverbs, he had not been given funds for the project. The group discussed that they were not aware that he had not been given the funds for the project and suggested that Rev. Healey be asked if Evans could be reimbursed for the cost he incurred when undertaking the project. The group also felt that they could not go ahead and discuss the proverb proposal that he had brought with him. Instead they asked Evan to come up with another proposal on the collection of stories.
  3. On Jean's Proposal, the committee was agreed that it was good particularly on how it was presented. So they went ahead and approved it and asked for that Jean be granted the funds to finish on his project. It was noted that Jean's project was to be worth US $400. However the committee questioned Jean's desire to collect Kinyarwanda proverbs. They urge that Jean justify why he is interested in collecting proverbs in a language that is not his own and which has its own scholars. They argued that if he is still interested, he should write another proposal giving justification for the above issue.
  4. Dr. Mweseli expressed interest to come up a proposal to collect Bukusu stories particularly folk tales and show their religious significance.
  5. She also handed in two written proposals one by Dr. Elizabeth Kuria on her intention to do a collection and study about time use (management) and work ethics. The other was by Benjamin Wainaina expressing a desire to work on proverbs on youth and morality. It was suggested that they would be discussed during our April or May general meeting.
  6. Dr. Wanjohi expressed an interest in collecting stories and proverbs on aesthetics basing on Kikuyu Oral literature and write an article based on them.

It was felt that if these proposals were accepted, different ways to disseminate the finding of these studies and collections should be found. Joseph suggested one means of dissemination be the meetings/workshops and that the final and complete articles be posted on the afriprov website as e-(electronic) proverb articles. He said other people have done such articles such Wolfgang Mieder in Deproverbio, an electronic proverb journal. It was also suggested that such articles or collection of stories must be thematic and analyzed as such.

The committee came up with general guidelines on the structure or format of such articles or collections as follows:

  1. General introduction detailing what the stories are about, the methodology used.
  2. Story in the original language.
  3. Translation of the story.
  4. Briefs comments about the main themes of the story including Biblical parallels.

The committee asked Joseph to communicate with Father Joe Healey and UMSG confirming on an appropriate date for a meeting at the UMSG in either April or May. The agenda of the meeting would be

  1. Presentation of research reports (by Jean and Dr. Kithaka)
  2. Narration and exposition of stories (by Evans Nyakundi and Monica Mweseli) and any other presentations
  3. Further discussion on the various issues raised in the previous meetings
The meeting ended at exactly 12 noon.