He sits on the balcony. His worn and withered dark skin soaking up what the sun has to offer. He gaze looks beyond the horizon and into the thoughts that are holding his sight captive.
He is in the city now, there is not much for him to do here. The fences here are larger than the land they surround. He has no car nor does he have employment here. He is here to visit with his son and grandchildren he has not seen them in a number of years. However, they are all out. They are always out. There in the city.
So he sits on the balcony, staring at the skyline that is Kampala wondering when he will return to the hills that he calls home.
Wisdom should be passed down through generations. Should be bring the operative phrase. I’ll apologise in advance because this review might be considered highly subjective.
Dr. Sempebwa’s book reminded me so much of my grandfather’s visits to the city. Reading this book created such a yearning in me for the missed opportunities and squandered time with my grandparents.
The book contains 300 proverbs that are split out into categories such as Adversity, Purpose, Change, Diligence, Authenticity, Cheerleaders, Antagonists, Coaches, and Faith. Each chapter opens with an Africa proverb written in a local dialect and translated to English. Yes, some are funny to read…
Lepotla-potla le ja poli, Lesisithelo le ja khomo
~ Lesotho Proverb
Translated: A hurry hurry person eats goat. The one who takes his time eats beef.
Each category is it’s own chapter, and at the start of each, is a short introduction about the category. There is no clutter or tediously long backstory to each proverb. They, while being simple and straightforward, are also quite powerful.
A good place to look for your destiny is inside your wound
As I read through some of them, I thought about how apt he was in reflecting a lot of the seasons that we go through in life. I have heard that back in the day, fireplaces were a time for gleaning wisdom from elders on how to do life. How not to let life suffocate you or erode those old time fundamental principles on what it means to live and to live well.
In a time where busyness has become the order of the day, and yesterday’s failure quickly overshadowed by today’s sudden fame dubbed trending — perhaps Dr. Sempebwa’s book can prove to be a modern day fireplace.
If you ever find yourself in need of some time tested wisdom, then get yourself a copy of this book. Better yet, if your grandparents are still alive, share some of the proverbs with them and see if they agree.