The Woyingi Blog

Some Ijaw Proverbs

Posted in Countries: Nigeria, Peoples: The Ijo by the woyingi blogger on June 3, 2009

As my readers may know, my father comes from the Nigerian minority ethnic group the Ijaw, who are concentrated in the Niger Delta.

The following are some proverbs from this community whose wisdom and truth particularly resonate with me. I found them on the website of the Bayelsa State Council for Arts and Culture.

Tell me what you think about them.

A child who hides what he is doing from his father will always go to the old man for help when trouble comes.

He who sees a rough river and tries to cross with a small canoe should not blame God.

It is only when the fishing gear is broken that one hears its wonderful performance. The tongue is only 3 inches, but it can kill a man that is 6ft tall.

A person who has not secured a place on the floor should not look for a mat.

If the singer is a fool, the listener is also a fool.

A man who thinks everything around him is sweet should remember that bitter leaves grow in the bush with oranges.

A man may have unlimited access to his wife and share flesh and blood but her bones belong to her people.

He whose house is on fire does not pursue a rat.

To whom nothing is given, of him nothing can be required.

He who has not sat on the marital stool does not know the problems of marriage.

One does not protect another’s head in such a manner as to allow the hawk to lift one’s own off one’s shoulder.

A wise fish knows that a beautiful worm that looks so easy to swallow has a sharp hook attached to it.

Neither whose reign brings peace and stability nor the one whose reign brings turbulence would be forgotten.

The man who jumps from the ground onto an ant-hill is still on the ground.

The world is like a dancing masquerade. If you want to see it well, you do not stand is one place.

The rat says he has no quarrel with its killer but with the one who informs on its whereabouts.

Happiness in marriage is a matter of chance.

A parent with only one child sleeps with one eye open.

If you wish to read more Ijaw proverbs visit the Bayelsa State Council for Arts and Culture website.

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