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Unyawu aluna mpumulo - Literally: The foot does not have a nose.
This is said of a smart-aleck type of a guy, who eventually walks into a trap as a well deserved “serve him right” situation.
… because had he known, where his feet were taking him, they would have smelled the trouble and gave him due warning to keep off; as it were feet do not have olfactory faculties and through his own advice he walked into a sticky situation.
So it sometimes reads: The wise guy eventually walks into trouble of his own making.
Submitted by Qhakijane on 30 September 2009 - 1:40pm. categories [ ]
Ukufihla induku emcubeni - Literally: To hide a staff in the cow dung
In Zulu culture the cattle kraal is the main meeting place where ordinary, ceremonial and spiritual matters are discussed and enacted . It’s smells of urine, and cow dung are reassuring to the men folk because they mean life, wealth and continuity of the bloodline. It is alleged the first creatures to emerge with man from the primordial bed of reeds were cattle. Without cattle there can be no African. All important rituals involve the lowly cow.
Submitted by Qhakijane on 30 September 2009 - 1:37pm. categories [ ]
Ukhamba lufuze imbiza - Literally: The calabash resembles the fire pot.
This is said of a child or offspring who takes after the parent. The obvious logic being that the same clay mined at the same mud hole, was used by the potter in making both the fire pot and the calabash. Therefore the contents may differ but the substantial matter of constitution is the same for both the fire pot and the calabash.
So this proverb actually says: Don’t you see, he actually takes after his father anyway!
There is agreement here with other ancient cultures in the Middle East and Egypt who actually saw the Creator as the Great Potter who fashioned men and women with his hands and in a way He sees fit. This metaphor was not lost to Zulus as well.
This proverb is not used for physical resemblance but for conduct, temperament and other behavioural attributes in a negative sense.
Submitted by Qhakijane on 30 September 2009 - 1:33pm. categories [ ]
Umendo awuthunyelwa gundane - Literally: You can’t send a mouse to spy out your intended marriage.
This proverb is directed at a young maiden. The Zulu culture being patriarchal, the young maiden literally married into her husband’s family. There are many distinct cultural events associated with marriage in the Zulu culture.
E.g. Ijadu – is some kind of debut ball in which marriageable maidens were literally paraded and the prospective suitors had a field day preening themselves and trying to make a good impression of themselves.
Ukugcagca – the actual ceremony of marriage accompanied by all kinds of rituals.
Ukwenda – the actual journey and state of having joined a husband in matrimony.
Submitted by storytelling on 30 September 2009 - 1:29pm. categories [ ]