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Site Last Update: 09 Dec, 2019

Minutes of the Meeting of the African Proverbs Working Group, Saturday, 23 February, 2013

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Saturday, 23 February, 2013, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Mazzoldi House, Apostles of Jesus
Nairobi, Kenya



1. Opening prayer using an African Proverb on Peace by Fr. Thomas Komakech. Immediately after the opening prayer, members introduced themselves and contributed their proverbs on peace dedicated to the five African countries that are having General Elections this year.


Members present:

1. Allan Babunga (DR Congo)
2. Cephas Agbemenu (Ghana)
3. Joseph Healey (USA)
4. Wamukota Sudi (Kenya)
5. Angelica Chelo (DR Congo)
6. Benon Chelo (DR Congo)
7. Atemu Ishiabwe (DR Congo)
8. Margret Wambere (Kenya)
10. Francis Njuguna (Kenya)
11. Kazadi Muteba (DR Congo)
12. Cyprien Ntambara (Rwanda)
13. Kamau Wango (Kenya)
14. Thomas Komakech (Uganda)
15. Veronica Nduku (Kenya)
16. Tyty Mukendi. (DR Congo)
17. Grace Njau (Kenya)



The following members send their apologies. 

1. Roger Tessier (Canada)
2. Simon Rurinja (Kenya)
3. Evans Nyakundi (Kenya)
4. Elysee Meta (DR Congo)
5. Valentin Sikitoka (DR Congo)
6. Bernard Owino (Kenya)
7. Laurent Magesa (Tanzania)
8. Daughters of St. Paul


2. Report on recent research on African Proverbs on peace.

Komakech: In Acholi a proverb says “Ngat ma bino ki oboke olwedo, kelo kuc” meaning the one who comes with the leaves (branches) of olwedo brings peace. This proverb is used by Acholi community to describe the peace maker and also the peace symbol which is the branch of the tree olwedo.


Gerald: In Gikuyu we say “it’s better to leave each other than to confront each other.


Allan: In Lega it’s said “Mukulu akindwe Maya me bongye” meaning let the elder brother be defeated by the younger one so that the game can continue. When you are competing with a young person and you want the game to continue please let him win. But if you defeat him then he gets bored and will finally quit the game.


Healey: In a poster a Dagoretti North Parliament aspirant said: …”Leo ni leo; kesho ni Mungu” ("Today is today; tomorrow is up to God)."


A candidate for Member of Parliament in the 4 March, 2013 General Election in Kenya has a campaign slogan in Swahili that translates as: "I'll teach the youth to fish, not just give them a fish."


Saying heard today in Nairobi, Kenya: "May peace be the winner in this election."


Nyakundi:  Gusii, Kenya Proverb: "Talk less, measure your words and especially listen more."


Sudi: In Bukusu we say: “Owikana kamanya kova esimbo” meaning he who refuses war/fight uses his club for firewood. Lesson in this proverb is that peace comes when the adversaries use their weapons for a peaceful cause like cooking a meal for each other. Seek peace not war.


Margaret: In Mbeere we say “Mwaki wa ngai uraragua negeto” meaning God’s fire is kept burning overnight with a dry banana leaf. If God wills things will come about which would otherwise have been impossible.


Angelica Chelo: “Umwami udahanungwa arachunuka.” A king who does not hear his people will finish by falling.


Kazadi Muteba: A Songye Proverb says “Kimwanda nkumatshi talala” which means to live peacefully keep your ears quiet to avoid conflicts.

Another one says “Mfumu bantu, bantu mfumu”: no chief without people and no people without a chief.


3. 2014 African Proverbs Calendar suggested theme: 

It has agreed by all members that the 2014 African Proverbs Calendar theme will be on “Hospitality, Welcoming and Visiting.”


4. Future African Proverb of the Month: 

The proverb for March 2013 will come from Sumbwa, Tanzania contributed by Pascal Durand. April. 2013 is allocated to a Nyindu (DRC) Proverb from Atemu. A Longo, Tanzania has been prepared for later in 2013. 

Members who are to present their proverbs of the month should do so as soon as possible in order to give the team working on the website enough time to do the posting.


5. Update reports on present and future booklet of 100 proverbs.

a. Report on grant received


Allan: I am happy to show you a copy of 100 Lingala Proverbs. 

Sudi: “My Bukusu booklet will be done soon and I hope to present it to you at the next two weeks. I am sorry I lost my laptop thus I was forced to start that work a fresh. 

Mr. Gerald Wanjohi will take the responsibility to see and talk to Mr. Joseph Kariuki about the grant he received and booklet not yet submitted. Also he will talk to  Kithaka wa Mberia about his collection of Thaka, Kenya proverbs that has not yet been submitted.

Allan: Elyse and her Group send me a copy of their draft but in French only.

Healey: The last news we got from Wekesa is that is almost done with his work.

But as far as Africans are concerned this is the normal answer.

Allan: No answer from Fidel Kabasele. 


b. Report on applications not yet funded

Atemu: Here is my draft copy of 100 Nyindu Proverbs. But I have not yet received the grant.

 Cephas: “Little need to be done for it to be effective:

-Put map and duration of your research

-Follow our format please.”


Allan: Some members have presented their proposal without following the requirement set by the committee before someone asking for a grant. Please follow our guidelines which are available on our website. 


Healey: “The news from our benefactors is that no more new grants will be given before the previous ones are completed. It’s up to you to push one another so that we continue.”  Friends in USA cannot give financial support for Richard Benon’s application for music equipment, but will give a letter of recommendation.


6. Demonstration on how to benefit from our: African Proverbs, Sayings and Stories Website:  Our Facebook Page now has 24,877 Fans/Friends.


Allan invites members to continue visiting both our website and Facebook Page and vote in the Poll and post messages.


Allan: “We have equipped our website with Google AdSense and BBC RSS feeds. Now you can enjoy some local advertisements from Google and fresh news headlines from all over Africa from BBC. Please visit the web and make sure you vote on the poll and read the headline and also the local ads.


7. Update on treasury

Up to 31 December 2012 our account had only Ksh 8000; this year 2013 we have received Ksh3000 from Allan, Cephas and Joseph in addition to that five other members who gave their annual contribution of 1000 each today. In total we have Ksh16,000. If you did not pay for last year remembers you have two thousand to pay.


8. Book Launch 

Members witnessed the launch of a new book of stories Sagesse Africaine: Histoire Vraies, Mythes et Contes complied by Joseph Healey, MM and published in French by the Daughters of St. Paul in Kinshasa, DRC.  The guest of honor, Dr., Gerald Wanjohi gave a short speech before declaring the book officially launched. People also congratulate Allan for the hard work he did for translating the book from English. Members cheered with their wine glasses to celebrate that big achievement.


9. AOB

Kazadi: as a professor at the university in western Kenya, I will be required to show a certificate of membership before being allowed to travel to Nairobi. In that I ask the committee to deliver a certificate for me.

Members from Kenyatta University will design our new logo and make a certificate to Dr. Kazadi Muteba.

LUNCH: Compliments of the Apostles of Jesus.  Our members enjoyed delicacies of African cuisine. Thank you.

Unless you are informed otherwise, our next meeting will to be held on Saturday 27 April 2013 at the Maryknoll House, Nairobi starting at 10 a.m. 

Dr. Gerald Wanjohi, the guest of honor, and Father Joe Healey, MM, the author and compiler,  show a copy of the new French book “Sagesse Africaine: Histoire Vraies, Mythes et Contes”’ published in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo at the official launch in Nairobi, Kenya.

Margaret Wambere receives books from Allan Babunga at the meeting as she joins the Proverbs Working Group for the first time. Sudi captures the moment for the press.

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