Sunday, August 09, 2015

Quote of the Day for 2015-08-09

"It takes an entire village to raise a child."

African proverb

It Takes a Village to Raise a Child by George E. Miller depicts an African child raised in the air from the arms of many unseen people. The color of the skin show many hues from pale to dark brown, as is the colorfulness of the clothes. While all the other arms are holding the child up, one hand on the rightmost arm is tickling the child's foot.
by George E. Miller

As to the validity of this quote, Lawrence Mbogoni on H-Net wrote:

Proverb or not, "It takes a whole village to raise a child" reflects a social reality some of us who grew up in rural areas of Africa can easily relate to. As a child, my conduct was a concern of everybody, not just my parents, especially if it involved misconduct. Any adult had the right to rebuke and discipline me and would make my mischief known to my parents who in turn would also mete their own "punishment." The concern of course was the moral wellbeing of the community.

While it is interesting to seek provenance in regard to the proverb, "It takes a village to raise a child," I think it would be misleading to ascribe its origin to a single source. … Let me give a few examples of African societies with proverbs which translate to 'It takes a village...':

In Lunyoro (Banyoro) there is a proverb that says "Omwana takulila nju emoi," whose literal translation is "A child does not grow up only in a single home."

In Kihaya (Bahaya) there is a saying, "Omwana taba womoi," which translates as "A child belongs not to one parent or home."

In Kijita (Wajita) there is a proverb which says "Omwana ni wa bhone," meaning regardless of a child's biological parent(s) its upbringing belongs to the community.

In Kiswahili the proverb "Asiyefunzwa na mamae hufunzwa na ulimwengu" approximates to the same.


DL Kirkwood said...

Have you ever been able to find who is the first to have uttered the African, or English vertion of this proverb?

Father Joe said...

The short answer is, no. Given that it's a proverb, it's exceedingly difficult to determine who said or wrote it first.