Perspective of Proverbs

The earliest record of human existence dates over 200,000 years ago, followed shortly by recorded civilization being 6,000 years old, and while we live in an exponential world of progress and technology, tradition seems to root itself in humanity. Culture, perception, living: all things that no doubt is influenced by the touch of tradition. In Baho! By Roland Rugero, the passages of wisdom comment on the state of Burundi. 

Inherently, tradition is seen through Burundian sayings as they preface certain concepts the author puts forth.  

“When tragedy assails you, even the plants along the footpath impede your way.” (17) 

The first obstacle of miscommunication is followed quickly by mob justice followed by misunderstanding followed by the impending noose. 

While the people of Kanya feel they haven’t made a return to innocence, these proverbs regardless of the issues or growth of the people, feel rooted in humanity’s predictability. An example of this can be found commonly in American culture with a phrase such as: 

“Two wrongs don’t make a right.” 

A little less poetic, but the point remains. Regardless of uttering this phrase 15, 40, or 70 years ago, the message would not be lost on the people as human nature would suggest a cycle of predictability. While it doesn’t account for all cultures, this form of wisdom has a sense of grounding radiating from it.  

While the wisdom seems prophetic, there are instances where the clash of traditionalistic outlooks versus the reality of the situation doesn’t match up. For example, take the short story within the novel about the beautifully, stunning daughter of the man who always seems to judge the interested men. After so much time has passed and the encounter of the prince, the moral of the story of “You can’t hurry love, no you just have to wait” has a counterpart to Nyamuragi’s awaiting trial. It wasn’t the kindness or self-reflection of the people that saved Nyamuragi, it was the swiftness of his anonymous uncle. The difference being the wisdom of the story of love’s patience isn’t met in the freedom of Nyamurai. What wisdom will come to Nyamuragi’s point of view? That people will continue their mob justice of hangings unless terror comes to them through a gunshot?  

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