The Authors

Nemwel Mogere Atemba (author of Abagusii Wisdom Revisited - available from Nsemia Inc. Publishers in Spring 2010) was born in 1956, to young peasant parents at Boking’oina village in the then larger Kitutu Location, in the then Kisii district. He relocated to Nyansiongo settlement scheme in 1965 and after school in 1977, moved to Nairobi for training and employment, where he has resides to date.

He went to school at Tambacha and Nyansiongo primary schools, Nyanturago Secondary school (where in 1975, he set a record of being the very first student in the school to attain a Division one (1) in the “O” levels). He proceeded to Machakos Boys High School, Eastern province where he passed his “A” levels well in 1977. Thereafter, he taught for two years at Manga Girls High School before joining the Kenya Railways Corporation for training in Management and Administration fields.

Mr. Atemba is currently a practising Human resource consultant. He holds Certified Professional Secretary (Kenya), C.P.S (K), and Management Diplomas qualifications. His early experiences with rural elders and colleagues gave him an urge to learn the art of conversation, of which proverbs form the core determinant in eloquence. Mr. Atemba hopes that this book will be of particular interest to orators, researchers, preachers, politicians and Kisii urbanites both within and those in the Diaspora.


The renowned African writer Chinua Achebe, once wrote that “among the Ibo, the art of conversation is regarded very highly and that proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten”. (Things fall apart). The author of this book has confirmed this statement to be equally true among the Abagusii.
Proverbs and metaphors come handy in all aspects of conversations such as instructing, advising, negotiating, persuading, counseling and indeed defending oneself against acquisitions. Where one wields an appropriate proverb, he leaves a firmer impression than the one who ‘beats about the bush’ trying to explain an idea. Proverbs epitomizes what experience has taught our elders and forefathers, hence a reality in life.

In this book, the author has endeavoured to collect five hundred Kisii proverbs in common use and given each an English interpretation and some exposition on applicability. This work is not exhaustive, but it nevertheless forms a very profitable knowledge and entertainment reservoir.
The author’s main objective is to preserve the positive heritage and wisdom of our forefathers. The greatest worry being that, if this art is not mastered now, there is every likelyhood that our children and future generation shall forget about it completely. This is particularly true to the urbanites; who by virtue of location, do not have regular encounters with sources.

Also his prayers are that many scholars may take interest in researching, studying and recording the various progressive aspects of traditional history, customs and traditions before the sources become extinct. This is especially so considering that African wisdom was passed down generations via oral communications. Recording these experiecnes will assure availability of a rich heritage forfuture generations. His greatest fear however, is that some critics may try to associate this work with hitherto repugnant practices in our community. Rest assured, that the author, is one of the strongest campaigners against surrogate marriages, arranged wife inheritances and FGM hitherto practiced in the Gusii community.

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