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Abagusii Wisdom Revisited

Author: Nemwel Atemba
ISBN: 978-1-926906-03-4



Abagusii Wisdom Revisited is a collection of proverbs and metaphors in Ekegusii, one of the forty one languages spoken in Kenya. It includes naming conventions in the calendar, the traditional homestead, cattle (which were a symbol of wealth in traditional Gusii society), currency and traditional brew. The book captures wisdom told over generations and observations intertwined with profound meaning.

In order to avail the work to a wider audience than Ekegusii readers and speakers, the author has attempted to put the necessary context, giving the English equivalent and, in some cases, using story-lines to establish the meaning. Here is an example:

Abanda ‘mbairokaine; Onchong’a agatama ekworo Kimaiga kayebwate:

The rich revere/fear one another as in the case of Onchong’a who fled on noticing Kimaiga’s cloak.

Storyline: Once there were two rich men who unknowingly met at the home of a beautiful girl, whom they both intended to woo. Mr. Onchong’a reported earlier. However, when Mr. Kimaiga also arrived for the same purpose, Mr. Onchonga, who was less wealthy, stealthily walked away without ado.

What others say:

“Renowned novelist Ngugi wa Thiong’o has fought to restore the place of African languages and especially his language, Gikuyu. Time has come for Abagusii to take up this good fight. Mr. Atemba makes an impoortant contribution in this journey.” – Prof. Ochoki Nyamori, Professor of Accounting, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia

“This is a great attempt at documenting what otherwise would have passed down generations as oral tale; wisdom that is threatened with extinction in a rapidly changing world, dispersion of Abagusii beyond their ancestral environment and adoption of dominant languages such as English and Kiswahili among others.” – Anonymous

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