Tuesday, December 9, 2008

More on Proverbs and Materials Science and Engineering

In September I posted some of the results of my efforts to teach materials science and engineering at the University of Ghana using African proverbs as a starting point. In November (2008) in Abuja, Nigeria there was another opportunity, with students from the African University of Science and Technology (AUST). Here are some of the proverbs they shared, though there is not enough space to include the fascinating interpretations and applications to materials science and engineering:

Uwikoreye ibumba ntaterana amabuye "When you carry a clay pot don't fight by throwing stones" (Kinyarwanda, Rwanda)

Nwanya maramma ejihe akpa garri akwara ya akwa "We do not use a garri sack to sew cloth for a beautiful woman"(Igbo, Nigeria)

Ankwerɛ hunu na ɛyɛ dede
"Empty barrels make the most noise" (Twi, Ghana)

Iti ogede ko to nkan a nlo ada ge "No sane person sharpens his/her machete to cut a banana tree" (Yoruba, Nigeria)

Igiti kigororwa kikiri gito "The tree is dressed when it is still young" (Kinyarwanda, Rwanda)

Zewuze torkornu wokpoe le “The bigger of two pots can only be determined at the riverside” (Ewe, Ghana)

Iya ni wura baba ni jigi,ojo iya ba ku ni jigi eni baje, ojo baba ba ku ni jigi eni womi "Mother is like gold and father is like a mirror/glass. The day your mother dies is the day you lose your gold and the day your father dies your mirror is broken." (Yoruba, Nigeria)

Wankin hula ya kai ka dare "If you wash a cap in the evening you don’t have sunlight to dry it" (Hausa, Nigeria)

Nkpume pee elu egwu atuwa ite "When the stone goes up the earthen pot becomes afraid" (Igbo, Nigeria)

Ahweneɛ papa ɛnkasa "Good/excellent beads do not speak." (Twi, Ghana)

Igube ebejiri Orji "The locust has broken the mighty Iroko tree." (Igbo, Nigeria)

Ejihe ihe eji agba ba nti agba na anya "We do not use the same material to clean our ears as well as our eyes." (Igbo, Nigeria)

Vivivi hafi ebge zuna nyinoti "It is through a gradual process that the grass is transformed into cow's milk." (Ewe, Ghana)

Eha ti deka mete kplo anyigba O, ke bon ne wo so gbo hafi "A single broom straw can never be used to sweep. Many must be kept together before sweeping can be done." (Ewe, Ghana)

Nwaanyi muta ite ofe mmiri mmiri, di ya amuta ipi utara aka were suru ofe " If a woman decides to make the soup watery, the husband will learn to dent the foofoo before dipping it into the soup." (Igbo, Nigeria)

E lelia nwa ite, o gbonyua oku "If you neglect the pot, it boils over and extinguishes the fire. (Igbo, Nigeria)

I would like to express my appreciation to my students who contributed the proverbs: Emmanuel Amankwah, Clement Atiso Domefafa, Nelson Yaw Dzade, Emmanuel Femi Olu, Hakeem Bello, Josephine Udeigwe, Kingsley Obodo Onyebuchi, Anthony Ogbuu Okechukwu, and Bizimana Stany Nzabarinda.


abdel Zaher said...

As soon as I mentioned to Osseo that these African Proverbs that you picked up from your Homeland, Ghana, are similar to those in most of the African countries , he suggested that I put this remark on his Blog and invite those Africans who wish to tell us some of their countries proverbs on this Blog. This will unite us, Africans, on common grounds.

Thank you osseo. It is a brillient suggesion.

Abdel Abouzeid

eric said...

This is an innovative way of looking at science in the african setting. For bringing traditional african wisdom and conventional material science together, I say, "mmo ne ade yo". May you be blessed with more of such intuitive methods of knowledge impartation.

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