Baati Linguere

Yours truly in complete Wolof regalia about two years ago

‘Proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten’

(Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe)

The words above are an Igbo proverb (yea, proverb in a proverb), but I dare say it resonates through different cultures, especially in Africa. Proverbs form an indispensable part of traditional African culture, flavoring long speeches and rendering the gift of oration even more royal. Sadly, like many other facets of our culture, they have gradually taken a back seat and have (almost) lost their value in society. This generation seems oblivious to the existence of these words of wisdom and their meanings. Each culture/tribe/language can boast of a million and one proverbs, but the similarity in meaning cannot go unnoticed,

Linguere brings you ‘Baati Linguere’ , which could easily translate as ‘Voice of Linguere’. This section shall be dedicated to a multitude of Wolof Proverbs, common to other ethnic groups. Each Friday, a proverb will be posted in Wolof and translated to English. Linguere will attempt to explain its hidden meaning and, if possible, associate it with a personal experience or current events. I am neither an expert in the Wolof language nor a replica of the great ‘Olof Njie’. All explanations are based on my understanding of the proverbs and occasional thoughts shared by others, who shall be cited.

I hope you have a great time learning the proverbs and their meanings. Linguere urges you to share your own thoughts on the different proverbs posted, especially if they differ from the explanations given :-)

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