Nzema Proverbs and Sayings About Hard-Work, Perseverance and Self-Reliance

Mohammed Yakub, William Appiagyei Osei


In many African socio-cultural setting, people cherish the incorporation of proverbs in discourse; partly because speakers use proverbs as a ‘vehicle’ to conveniently convey their messages to targeted audience. Since proverbs are concealed with a lot of didactics and wisdom, speakers often depend on them to advise people against vices, while most acceptable behaviours are encouraged through proverbs. Among the Nzema, proverbs permeate almost every communicative interaction. This paper presents a qualitative descriptive analysis of Nzema proverbial expressions that advocate the virtue and essence of hard work and perseverance. It aims at examining the role of the Nzema proverb in ‘empowering’ people to work hard and to highlight the implications for ensuring a peaceful society. The paper fetches data from both oral and documented sources, as well as the researchers’ intuitive knowledge as indigenous speakers of Nzema. It found that the Nzema detest people who entertain the spirit of laziness/idleness, since this could result in indigence and could sometimes compel people to indulge in several immoral acts. The Nzema rather believe that hard work and mobility could place people at the pinnacle of the pedestal with regard to achievements in life. The implication, as the discussions showcased, is that industriousness is a necessary tool for ensuring self-sufficiency; thereby promoting a peaceful, cohesive and harmonious traditional society among the Nzema. The paper, thus, calls on all categories of people to be hard-working, so as to live independently to avoid undesirable attitudes like robbery, envy, jealousy, and hatred etc. to ensure the prevalence of peace and societal co-existence at all times.


Nzema proverbs; Hard-work; Self-reliance; Peaceful society

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