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Word to The Wise, “Nyama Samagawana Musanaphe”

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch

Facebook Posting from Chatinkha Chidzanja Nkhoma

Among the Thakwani people, there is a legend of an elephant that went on rampage destroying crops and wounding people. One day, the elders sat down to decide what they would do to save themselves.

During the meeting, it was agreed that they should ask the people of the neighboring villages to come together and set pit-traps (mbuna) around their fields and villages. The agreement was unanimous.

People went to work setting the traps and covering them with foliage at the mouth of the pits. In no time at all, the traps were ready.

One early February morning, drums were heard all around the villages (chiminingo) and suddenly there was commotion as news spread that the elephant had been ensnared. There was excitement everywhere.

The village heads, not to be outdone, called for a meeting at the village square. Well, a whole elephant had been caught and would soon be slaughtered. They wanted to agree on how the villages would share the meat.

The arguments became heated, with the villagers from where the elephant was caught claiming that they alone were the ones to decide how best the meat would be shared because, after all, it was their trap that had finally caught the elephant.

The neighbours reminded them that it was their idea, in the first place, to set the traps around the villages and that if they had not called on their neighbours inviting them into the scheme, the elephant would still be roaming around and plundering. The arguments went on and on.

Meanwhile, the elephant realising that it had been ensnared in a pit trap, it kept struggling, striking the sides of the pit with its tusks. With each strike, clods of earth fail into the pit. The elephant was so persistent in its efforts so that little by little, it realised that it was emerging out of the pit. Quietly, the elephant kept attacking the sides of the pit until, finally, it was to lift itself out of the pit and slowly walked towards Phiri la Azimu.

As the elephant walked away, dogs started barking and the arguing villagers were for a second quiet, distracted by the din caused by the barking dogs.

Then, suddenly, a young boy came running into the village square shouting on top of his voice and out of breath: “Itopita, itopita, itopita!”

When it dawned on the villagers what the young messenger was trying to relay to them, the elephant had disappeared.

Well, this story is kept in a treasure trove for all the Thakwani people who crossed the Sandama river to Phiri la Azimu to light their fires.

Nyama Samagawana Musanaphe

Definition of count one’s chickens (before they hatch)

—usually used in negative statements to mean that someone should not depend on something hoped for until he or she knows for certain that it will happenDon’t count your chickens (before they hatch)—you don’t know yet if she will accept your offer.

Maravi Post Reporter
Maravi Post Reporter
Op-Ed Columnists, Opinion contributors and one submissions are posted under this Author. In our By-lines we still give Credit to the right Author. However we stand by all reports posted by Maravi Post Reporter.
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