Proverb of the Week

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Agulu pii odiyo otac. (Acholi)

Jungu la maji hukandamiza kata. (Swahili)

The water pot presses upon the small circular pad. (English)


The Acholi “˜s (and Swahili) proverb throws more light on the need for individuals to take good actions for the benefits of themselves and the community as a whole. As the small circular pad used as a stand and also for carrying water pots on the head, the otac is ““ although small ““ immensely important in the lives of the groups. The pad can only be removed when the pot is lifted up ““ not when the pot is resting on it. What does this say about forcing things on individuals by authority or public opinion? The proverb encourages us to refrain from taking certain acts against our will. Are we interested in satisfying the selfish wishes of a few individuals against the wishes and expectation of the whole community?

Looking at the major problems in Africa, selfishness, greed and personal aggrandizement have given rise to tribalism, ethnicity, segregation and other dichotomies, which lead to oppression, violence, wars, economic and political backwardness.

Unless we do what is right“¦. suppress our excessive greed and selfishness and seek rather true reconciliation, which leads to peace and love, we cannot achieve much economic progress in our society. It is not yet too late to act, but it is definitely unforgivable if we fail to act.