Sponsored
Search
Navigation

IGBO/AFRICAN PROVERBS

 
Proverbs
Proverbs are cultural repositories that are particular to every group of people.  The way words, elements and cultural expressions are made and used within the context of any culture says much about the life the people and thier environment.  In relation to Igbo culture, Nwadike (2009:6), quoting Achabe thus, “Proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten”.  This means that proverbs are very vital in speaking the Igbo language, just as blood is very vital for life.  Nwadike agrees with Achabe that proverbs are as good as lubricants that make speeches to bring out the full meaning in every speeches.  Thus Nwadike (1977:6) states that, “Proverbs are a rhetorical device which enhances the ability of the speaker to make a speech in a concise, figurative and enriched manner, far in advance of what plain and ordinary speech can do.”  By expressing that proverbs are rhetorical device, Nwadike shows that proverbs can help one to manipulate the use of language wihtin which he employs the proverbs.  Thus Nwadike’s definition is a welcomed definition in line with what proverbs do in spoken languages As proverbial as Achabe’s definition seems, Obiechina, who agrees with him, gives further explanation of proverbs.  For Obiechina (1975:156):
 
... proverbs are the kernels which contain the wisdom of the traditional people.  They are the philosophical and moral expositions shrunk to a few words, and they form a mnemonic device in societies in which everything worth knowing and relevant to day-to-day life has to be committed to memory.
 
Obiechina’s definiton of proverbs shows that proverbs go beyond Achabes oil with which words are eaten.  His own definition shows that proverbs contain things beyond oil as he expresses that they are kernels which is an element that lies well beyond the level in which oil is extracted.  Further analysis of kernel is that it is a hard substance that contains some useful substance that are of worth and usable.  His explanation of proverbs as containing the wisdom of the traditional people shows that proverbs are very vital and indispensable in the life of any group of people as reasoning beings.  Perhaps, the important aspect of proverbs as a speech device and an indispensable tool is better seen in the definition of Egudu (1977) who defines it it as, “... tool for linguistic expression and compositions for the purpose of rhetorical adornment and persuasion.”  Thus his definition expresses that proverbs have force.  
 
The Igbo Proverbs
Proverbs are repositories of pieces of wise sayings that have being in use for long.  Igbo people as a group of people with their own culture make much use of proverbs.  These proverbs often manifest the rich wisdom of the people, especially the wisdom of those who make much use of them.  Igbo people use proverbs to express their feelings and their cultural activities.  With proverbs, they drive home to their audience whatever information they intend to pass.  So much are the meanings in Igbo proverbs and the wisdom they contain that Achebe (1996:15) expresses that “Proverbs are the oil with which words are eaten”.  To stress further the rich wisdom in proverbs, and to give more insight into Achebe’s observation, with a little piece of history, Yusuf (no date) explains that:
 
Proverbs, as we know, form a vital sector of folklore which has survived centuries of imperial relegation of African cultural Legacies and heritage.  Proverbs are rhetorical device which enhances the ability of the speaker to make a speech in a concise, figurative and enriched manner, far in advance of what plain and ordinary speech can do.
 
Yusuf’s words show that proverbs are speech in special usage, which when used well produces special magnetic effects than speeches made without proverbs.  Again, it is also worthwhile to observe that Yusuf also believes that proverbs are a form of legacy and heritage.  But although he tries to limit the usage to Africa, Wansbrough (1984:965) explains that “The Book of Proverbs has undoubtedly been far transcended by that of Christ, the Wisdom of God; even so, several teachings of the gospel”.  This explanation shows that collection of proverbs, whether as legacies or mere deposit of wise sayings extends beyond the soil of Africa; the word proverbs itself is an English concept.  Naylor (1997:9) observes that “Cultural anthropologists assume that ideas, thoughts, beliefs and values shared among cultural groups relate to behaviours and practices of the people”.  This means that above mentioned concepts are what is always common among every group of people whether the conditions of their existence are the same with another group of people elsewhere or not.  Nigeria which is only a country out of many countries of Africa has many ethnic groups, and Igbo culture, one of the three major ethnic groups has its own cultural peculiarities.  Quoting Naylor, Njoku observes that, “Being born Igbo does give a person the rights of ethnic identity, but to be truly Igbo… the person must learn the language, beliefs, thoughts, and lore (amamihe), which distinguish him or her as Igbo.
 
Reacting to Ohaeto’s The Voice of the Night Masquerade, and in a bid to the importance of proverbs in language aspect of Igbo culture, Onwudiwe and Obiorah (2009:210) agree that Ohaeto “… projects some aspects of notable Igbo people ways of life through their proverbs, idioms and wellisms”.  This means that the way of life of Igbo people are often expressed through some forms of rhetorical expressions and such expressions in the context of Igbo proverbs is always accepted with special admiration by Igbo people in particular, and even to some who are not of Igbo origin.  Okeke (2011) believes that “Ilu ndị Igbo na-enyere ndị ma atụ ya aka ịhazi okwu ha nke ọma” (Igbo proverbs help those who know how to apply them to express themselves better)  This observation attaches more importance to the ability of using the Igbo proverbs contextually and its implication.  Although Okeke’s observation is worthwhile, but the problem is that there are not much people who use Igbo proverbs to express themselves these days.  The efforts to make better use of Igbo proverbs by more Igbo people is continues and sometimes arduous.  In his effort to express this, Amadiume (2000:vi) stresses that:
 
A dedicated effort has been made … to initiate both the young and the old in what is considered as the essentials that make the Igbo proverbs titillate and scintillate.  The wisdom of the wise and the experiences of ages are preserved in Igbo proverbs here provided.
 
The effort to make non Igbo speaking group tap from the wisdom that are packed in Igbo proverbs as Amadiume notes, is the effort of this work.  The ability to do this depends on the extent that the work can break through untranslatability at least with the proverbs that will be sampled in the work.
 
 
REFERENCES
Achebe, C. (1996). Things Fall Apart.  Great Britain: The Chaucer press.
 
Amadiume, S. (2000). Ilu Ndi Igbo vol. 3. Enugu: Aritz Communication.
 
Egudu, R.N. (1977), “Nature and Function of Anecdotes”, Journal of the Odinani Museum, Nri.
         Vol. 2, quoted in Nwadike, N. (2009). Igbo Proverbs. Enugu: Paschal
         Communications.
 
Larry Naylor, Ed. (1997:9) Cultural Diversity in United States.  Westport, CT: Bergin &  Garvey.
 
Lifco,     (1997). Select Proverbs and Quotations, Eleventh ed. Madras: The Little Flower  co.          
 
Njọku, J.A.K. (2010). Amamihe Igbo. New Jersey: Goldline & Jacobs Publishing.
 
Nwadike, N. (2009). Igbo Proverbs. Enugu: Paschal Communications
 
Obiechina, E. (1975). Culture, Tradition and Society in the West African Novel: Cambridge University Press.
 
Obingene A. U. and Okeke M.I. (2001). Citizenship Education: Concepts and Application Vol. 2, Enugu: Academic Publishing Company. 
 
Okeke, I (2001). An Observation After A Published Lecture at Otu Sụwakwa Igbo Initiative convention at Abagana, Njikọka L.G.A., Anambra State, on June 22, 2011.
 
Onwudiwe, G. & Obiorah, T. (2009). The Igbo Cultural Affinity of Ezenwa Ohaeto’s  Literary Language in Voice of the Night Masquerade in African Literature and Development in the Twenty-first Century. Joy Eyisi, Ike Odimegwu, Ezenwa
 
Onwudufor, F.O.F. (2008). Mmanụ E ji Eri Okwu Vol. II. Enugu: SNAAP PRESS LTD.
 
Oxford Advance Learner’s Dictionary, (2001) 6th Edition. New York: Oxford University Press.
 
Retrieved on 24/6/2011 from  http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_elements_make_up_a_culture.
 
Retrieved on 12/4/2011 from, http://www.igboniile.com/articles/iluigbo
 
Spears, R. A. Ed. (2005). Viva’s Dictionary of Proverbs and Clichés. New Delhi: Viva Books Private Limited 
 
Wansbrough, H. (1984). The New Jerusalem Bible. London: Darton, Longman & Todd.
 
Yusuf, J. B. Ed. (no date). Nigerian Proverbs and Wise Sayings: A Focus on Children Ilorin: University of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO).

SỤWAKWA IGBO

 
     ASỤSỤ IGBO ENWEELA DESK OFFICER (Ojioche) N’ASỤSỤ IGBO
                                              -Pita Ejiofor 
                                  (R.N. Ekegbo, onye ndezi)
 

IGBO/AFRICAN PROVERBS 2

Otu onye nọrọ naanị ya odudu atagbuo ya: One swallow does not make a summer.
 
A nyụkọọ amịrị ọnụ ọ gbaa ụfụfụ: Many hands make light work.
 
Akanri kwọọ akaekpe akaekpe akwọọ akanri: One good turn deserves another.
 
Ahịa mbe abụọ zụkọrọ uru anaghị adị ya: Two captains do not sail a ship.
Agadi nwanyị daa nda ada abụọ a gụọ ihe o bu n’ụkpa ọnụ: Once beaten, twice shy.

Ndị n’Omenala Igbo II

                                           Ndị n’Omenala Igbo II
 
ABALỊ, UCHICHI

Ndị n’Omenala Igbo II

                                    Ndị n’Omenala Igbo II
 
ABALỊ, UCHICHI
Abalị bụ oge ejizighi ahụ ụzọ.  Ọ dị mkpa na a na-etinyerịrị “oge” n’abalị.  Nke a bụ makana e nwere ọtụtụ elekere dị n’abalị, nke mere ya ka ọ bụrụ “amalị” maọbụ “oge”. 

Our new Site

We will soon launch our new site, igboniile.org

Dosad Blogs

APRASA 2016 Football Competition Set to Kick Off - DOSAD Commends APRASA for the Initiative

Agulu Priests, Religious, Aspirants and Seminarians Association (APRASA) is organizing a football competition for the youths of catholic parishes in Agulu, Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State. It will last from 6th to 13th August 2016.

The letter made available to Fides has it that the venue for all the matches will be in St. Mary’s field at Nwagu Agulu and it is expected that each player has to be a registered member of the parish youth, mercenaries are not allowed. Again, the list of the players must be signed by the Parish Priest or the Parish Youth Chaplain.

Priests Brotherhood Sports and Recreation Club – Achieving Healthy Lifestyle

Tuesday evenings are special at St Anthony Catholic Church Enugwu-ukwu and environs. As from half hour of three in the afternoon, there is a traffic build up. You can see them – young and old, tall and short, fat and thin, huge and pint, all alighting from their cars and lacing their boot and wears, heading to the football field and volleyball court. Among them are lawyers, lecturers, coaches, administrators, musicians, engineers, architects, name them. They are however bonded by two significant binding factors-Catholic Priesthood and Sports.

ShareThis
Newsletters

Select the newsletter(s) to which you want to subscribe or unsubscribe.

Poll
Which should be the National Language for Nigeria?
HAUSA?
0%
IGBO?
100%
YORUBA?
0%
ANY OTHER?
0%
Total votes: 2
Who's online
There are currently 0 users and 2 guests online.
Syndicate
Syndicate content

Copyright © 2010 Igboniile All right reserved.