In this book, Anthony Kila uses Yoruba proverbs to give us a flavour of a complex and imposing culture. While he is very committed to African culture and values, he is also keen on demystification. In his view, it is not demystification that kills a tradition but ignorance. When choosing the proverbs presented in the following pages, he was careful to avoid romanticizing the Yoruba people or attributing any bizzare qualities to them.
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Àjèjì o̩ wó̩ kan kò gbé igbá dé orí.
No single hand, regardless of its might, can lift and place a calabash on the head.
Amongst the Yorùbá, it is still a very common practice for people to carry loads on their heads. In the traditional society, the calabash in all its different forms and sizes is one of the most frequently used containers for drinks and the usual vessel in which palm wine is kept, and from which is kept and sold.
The status of the calabash in the society has changed through time. In recent years, the growing trend in rural areas and villages has been to replace it with various types of aluminium, metal and plastic containers. In those areas where it still survives in daily use, the calabash continues to be a simple and practical container.
By contrast, its presence in the cities is slowly but noticeably increasing, here calabashes have become….