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Report of the Meeting of the African Proverbs Working Group, Saturday 14 August 2010
Maryknoll Society House, 144 Manyani Road, Nairobi, Kenya

  1. Fr. Joe Healey (Convener  and co-chair)…057-2522977
  2. Cephas Agbemenu  (Chairing and recording)…0723-307992
  3. Allan Babunga…0721-749795
  4. Francis Kimani…0727-507845
  5. Dr. Calvin Katabarwa…0734-829002
  6. Dr. Gerald Wanjohi…0717-012207
  7. Dr. Tyty Mukendi …0722-885013

  1. Harold Miller
  2. Annetta Miller
  3. Fr. Thomas Komakech (Sick)
  4. Sister Grace Njau
  5. Evans Nyakundi
  6. Sim Kilosho Kabale
  7. Simon Rurinjah
  8. Kamau Wango
  9. Jennifer Wambugu
  10. Francis Njuguna

  1. Arrival of members………………....10.00
  2. Tea…………………………………...10.00 - 10:30
  3. First part of the meeting……………10:30 - 12:30
  4. Lunch………………………………...12:30 - 1.00
  5. Second part of meeting……………1.00 - 2:30

  1. Introduction of new members.
  2. Each participant reports on his or her recent research, writing and publishing.
  3. Matters arising from last meeting of 9 January 2010 --- Finances.
  4. 2011 African Proverbs Calendar on “Climate Change, Ecology and Environment” (including water and land rights).
  5. Future “African Proverbs of the Month” and the booklets of 100 African Proverbs.  Allan Babunga’s request to compile a booklet of 100 Lingala Proverbs from the DRC.
  6. Promoting the African Proverbs, Sayings and Stories Website including the POLL and the Facebook Page.
  7. AOB.

  1. Members introduced themselves.
  2. A gift of books was given to the first time participants, e.g. Tyty Mukendi.
  3. All others including Tyty were given copies of the new book of African stories called The Seven Rules of the Hyena.

  1. There will be a Proverbs Congress in Paris, France in June, 2011. Two members volunteered to participate: Calvin Katabarwa and Cephas Agbemenu.
  2. Prof. Muteba Kazidi of Muliro Masinde University of Kakamega wants to work on 100 Songe (Ba-Songe) Proverbs for the Collections of African Proverbs.  He was expected at the meeting but did not make it.  The three participants from the DRC know him. It was agreed he could be considered for a grant if he presents his proposal officially to our Working Group.


Cephas Agbemenu reported on his ongoing work on “The Analysis and Development of Symbols from Kikuyu Proverbs.”  He also reported on updating his 100 Ewe Proverbs with illustrations with the hope that he will be able to apply illustrations for future booklets of 100 African Proverbs from other communities and languages.


Deliberation on the specific day of the meetings.
Agreed: Maintain Saturdays as it is the most convenient for the meetings.
Deliberation on Finances concerning Food, Tea and Lunches; Transport; and Individual Contributions.
Agreed:  That individuals try to provide for both transport and the meals.  Occasionally ad hoc contributions can be made to cover others who may not be able to cover for themselves. Transport can be shared by those who come from one area.
Observed:  That the illustrations for the August, 2010 “African Proverb of the Month” do not adequately resemble the Sacred Ankole cow with long horns.  The author has provided a picture to the artist from which updated and more accurate illustrations will be done.
Noted:  That the “African Proverbs Calendar” has developed themes for each year since 2008. The proposed theme for 2011 is “CLIMATE CHANGE, ECOLOGY AND ENVIRONMMENT”.  Deliberated on the sub-themes for Nov. and Dec. 2011. Chose November theme on “Overcoming Pollution” and December theme on “Nurturing Trees.”
A question was raised as to the distribution of proverbs across the continent in the 2011 calendar. A quick analysis was made from the proposed calendar with the following results. Kenya; East and Central Africa; Kenya; Kenya; South Africa and Swaziland DRC and Tanzania; Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, Togo; Libya; Kenya; Ghana, Benin, Nigeria, Togo; Zambia and Nigeria. A quick sketch map of Africa with the approximate areas covered was drawn by Cephas. It shows an amazing overall coverage of East, West, North, South and Central Africa.
Suggested:   That future booklets be enhanced by ethnographic maps of Africa, the specific country and demarcation of the individual ethnic group and a portrait picture of the author.  
Proposed: That we keep digital images of all members and authors to be appended to their documents (both hard copies and electronic copies) in a folder.


Future “African Proverbs of the Month” and the booklets of 100 African Proverbs.  Allan Babunga’s request to compile a booklet of 100 Lingala Proverbs from the DRC.
Discussed, voted and agreed that he can be awarded the grant of US $500 dollars or its equivalent Ksh40, 000/= (Kenya shillings) This was immediately given to him by the convener. Recommended by the Working Group that the booklet be submitted by the end of December 2010. That the first draft copy be submitted to the convener by mid December for editing and proof-reading. That four members volunteered to edit various portions simultaneously:  Lingala, French, Kiswahili and English and the general format and typography.
Expressed interest: Dr. Tyty Mukendi expressed interest in compiling 100 Proverbs from the Tshiluba Peoples.  Advised to present a brief proposal to the convener in advance of a live presentation in the next meeting.
It was agreed that a regular member of the Working Group could present a proposal even though he or she is not physically present at the meeting (for some unexpected reason).


Promoting: African Proverbs, Sayings and Stories; including the POLL and the Facebook page.
Reported by Allan Babunga that the “African Proverbs, Stories and Sayings” Website is the second most visited website in a cyber café that he visited in Nairobi, the number one being
Francis Kimani promised to investigate the use of YouTube. To encourage people to use their cell phones to access the site.  Also radio station programs such as KISS FM 101 with Caroline Muthoku.


The Working Group acknowledged the publication of a new book on Gikuyu proverbs by a member of the group, Kamau Wango, called Thimo Cia Agĩkũyũ.  Members were delighted to see this new book and congratulated the author.  However they questioned the veracity of claims made on the back cover, namely this “is the first of its kind on the Gikuyu proverb.”  There is also a lack of acknowledgement of other publications on the same subject – the books of Barra, Njũrũri, Benson, Gathĩgĩra and Wanjohi.
Selling the 2011 Calendar was discussed. Although Dr. Wanjohi offered to market it, technical considerations left the issue undecided or for further discussions.
Members were very grateful for the sumptuous lunch offered to the group. “Asante sana.”


In the meeting of 9 January, 2010, Sim and Wango offered to host the next meeting at Kenyatta University.
The date proposed for the next meeting is Saturday, 30 October 2010 at KU.
Sim and Wango can proceed with the necessary arrangements for that date.
In absence of further matters, the meeting came to an end around 2:30 p.m. with closing prayer offered by Allan Babunga.

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