I HEAR YOU: Proverb of the Week

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Zakoma-zakoma, pusi adagwa (anagwa) chagada (cagada). (Nyanja / Chewa, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa)

Akafupa utemenwe ekakusha imichene (Bemba, Zambia / Congo )

Asiyesikia la mkuu huvunjika guu. (Figurative Swahili)

A child or youth who does not listen to the advice of an elder gets himself or herself in trouble. (English)


It is often said that when an adult is in the house the she-goat is not left to bear its young from the rope. The proverb says a lot about the importance of wisdom. It is therefore not strange, that so much respect is accorded to wisdom in Africa. Nor is it uncommon to encourage the young people to listen to the priceless advice of the older ones. A child who prefers not to listen to the advice of an alder often ends up making mistakes that could dent or even destroy their lives.

In Zambia, as well as in many other (Bantu speaking) parts of Africa, the above proverb is used to discourage youths from taking risky decisions and adventures that could ruin their lives, rather than listening to the advice of the elders, who might know better. In the present age of AIDS, terrorism, drug trafficking, human trafficking, excessive love for materialism and other social ills, the proverb cannot be a more important tool to encourage youths to seek the wise advice of the elders and refrain from irrational acts, which might at first, look very innocent and harmless, but in reality dangerous.

Technology and developments have put a big challenge to this proverb. Even though modernism is a blessing, it has its disadvantages. With the internet, coupled with the latest mobile gadgets available, many young ones have rather neglected to seek wisdom from the elders. A little googling and internet surfing can help offer them any information they look for; hence making them to rather rely on the technology than elders. The question remains as to whether this information from the technology is entirely good for the youths or not.

Like a monkey that is so self-confident on the tree due to its agility, many young ones often believe in their ability to do without a good advice. However, no maker how agile a monkey might be, it does not mean it cannot fall from the tree. Yes, we might assume we know it all, but no wisdom is a waste ““ definitely not a good advice that could change one`s life in a positive direction.


Did I HEAR YOU say: “Zakoma-zakoma, pusi adagwa (anagwa) chagada (cagada)“ or

Akafupa utemenwe ekakusha imichene?“