Tonga ( Malawi ) Proverb
Background, Explanation, Meaning and Everyday Use
Society should take proper care of youth as well as promote the need for young people to work hard in order to acquire the skills and knowledge employed in adult life. The Tonga people in Malawi look at the young cassava seedlings to forecast a bumper yield. The proverb is used metaphorically for today’s youth who are the future nation. This proverb is cited at funerals when a young person has died. The lesson is that through such deaths the society loses future leaders. Sometimes it is used in circumstances where someone is being reproached for mistreating a young person. Also this Tonga proverb is used when reprimanding a young person for his/her lack of knowledge. The implication is that in the socialization of youth they are warned against indulging in habits that can bring them to an early death, e.g., to avoid sex outside of wedlock.
Contemporary Use and Religious Application
Since children and youth are such a large percentage of the African population today this Tonga proverb has special relevance. It can challenge youth to use their talents and energy well to serve family, community, church and nation. It can be a warning against wrong and irresponsible behavior related to sex, drugs, cheating, etc. The proverb can be especially used in AIDS Education.
Rev. David Mphande