Proverb of the week: “Hot water does not burn down the house.” (English)

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Hot water does not burn down the house (English)

Maji ya moto hayachomi nyumba (Swahili / Eastern and Central Africa)

This African proverb is very common amongst the Sukuma and Ngoreme tribes of Tanzania and the Kuria people in Kenya and Tanzania. Primarily, they use the saying to encourage a husband and wife that peaceful co-existence between them is vital to the success of their marriage – irrespective of arguments and challenges they encounter in their relationship. The couple must work through their problems and difficulties together to achieve a successful marriage. 

On the current level, Africa (house) is facing existential threats through corruption, mismanagement, nepotism, tribalism, sexism….and the count goes. The question is, do we allow the hot water (social problems) to burn down the house (Africa)? Despite our apparent differences (culture, language, gender, religion Etc.) in Africa, we are like a married couple; we need each other’s honest cooperation and commitment to make the union work. To build a decent, peaceful and progressive nation, we must throw away our individualism and choose collectivism. 

To the wise, problems encourage deep thoughts and better planning. We must embark on collective nation-building to create a progressive society. In today’s COVID-19 pandemic devasted world, facing many other social challenges, we must make good use of our mental house to avoid explosive conflicts and setbacks. Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo need genuine dialogue and honest commitment of every citizen to forge forward. Failure to take the proper steps will only lead to a situation whereby the “hot water” burns down the entire house. For now, let’s hope that the hot water will not burn down the house.